The capital's coffee scene has become a lively and competitive market in the past decade with at least 6 new cafés opening in recent years. Ottawa's shops are great, but there are some real hidden gems in the suburbs and surrounding areas. These coffee shops outside of Ottawa are 20 to 40 minutes from Parliament hill and make for a great weekend roadie.

Quitters Coffee in Stittsville

29 minutes from Parliament Hill

beer, coffee, wine
Rachel Dickey

Stittsville is a picturesque little town located South-West of Ottawa along the Trans-Canada highway. On the Main Street strip you can find the bumpin' community hub that is Quitters Coffee slinging quality espresso, tasty baked treats, and craft beer and cocktails in the evening.

In 2014 Kathleen Edwards, Ottawa-native and longtime singer-songwriter, left the music industry and opened Quitters to escape the unsettled life that accompanies a high-profile career.  Since opening, business has been booming with many Ottawa natives making the commute for a great cappuccino and a chat with one of their many friendly baristas.

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk, mocha
Rachel Dickey

From board games to trivia nights, Pilot Coffee, and Sloane Fine Tea make "Quittsville" a destination for coffee lovers near and far. The inviting and trendy atmosphere, sunny patio, impressive latte art, and variety of branded retail products make Quitters worth the drive.

CC’s Corner in Richmond 

31 minutes from Parliament Hill

Serving up Bridgehead espresso and phenomenal Suzy Q doughnuts, this place is worth the drive purely to check out the collection of unique items in the café. Vintage PAC MAN, ouija boards, a taxidermy fox, and every hipster flag or sign you could imagine. My personal favourite touch are the 3 vintage barber shop chairs that line the bar — I could have sat there for hours.

beer, coffee, wine
Rachel Dickey

The vibes in this small shop are perfect for a date or a treat-yo-self solo outing for a great cup o' joe. If you're not already convinced that you have to go, CC's is also known for supporting local products and small businesses. 

#SpoonTip: Be sure to check their Facebook page before you hop in the car - I made the trek to Richmond only to have the shop be closed for Al Pacino's birthday...

Equator Coffee Roasters in Almonte

38 minutes from Parliament Hill

Equator was founded in 1998 by couple Craig and Amber Hall who aimed to open a shop with a focus on Fresh Roasting, Fair Trade Purchasing and Organic Certification. Nearly 20 years later, the Equator company is still committed to those three pillars.

In addition to a variety of espresso-based drinks, two drip coffee options, and a plethora of chilled juices and smoothies, Equator is dishing out gluten-free and vegan baked goods to the people of Almonte. Something feels so right about sipping a coffee you know was roasted less than 10 feet down the hall.

#SpoonTip: If you are not willing to make the trek to Almonte Equator has a location in Westboro serving up the same baked goods and coffees with additions such as buchipop kombucha, gourmet sandwiches, and cold pressed juice.

Alice’s Village Café in Carp 

30 minutes from Parliament Hill

Dishing up phenomenal breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Alice's is your one-stop-shop for a road trip break. They are famous for "The Big Nasty" - a honker of a cinnamon bun served with fruit salad. I opted for a slice of delectable chocolate cake that was so rich I had to take half to-go.

chocolate, sweet, cream, cake, coffee, candy, pastry, mousse, chocolate cake
Rachel Dickey

Alice offers three Equator drip coffees, and uses their North Star Espresso blend for all of your latte, americano, and mocha needs. Brewing up the best coffee in town, the picturesque drive to Carp is totally worth your while.

Café Cristal in Barrhaven

24 minutes from Parliament Hill

rose, cake, buttercream
Rachel Dickey

Crepes, waffles, baked goodies, soup, sandwiches, a tea list longer than the dictionary, and quality espresso — Café Cristal is too good to be true. Reminiscent of a Parisian café, Cristal offers two couches and a number of circular meeting tables — perfect for you hole up for the whole day drinking lattes and eating Nutella-filled crepes.

I enjoyed an amazing Americano and a white chocolate lemon square — both were out of this world — while I played cards and basked in the beauty of the crystal fire place next to the bar. The bright windows and open-feel create a great atmosphere for a first date, a get together with the girls, or even a business meeting.

#SpoonTip: If you want a taste of the Café Cristal experience before making the trek to Barrhaven the brand opened a storefront in Carlingwood Shopping Centre in Ottawa's west end in November 2016.

Café British in Aylmer

19 minutes from Parliament Hill

Café British is located in what used to be the Provincial Bank of Canada, founded in 1861. The café has been restored to expose the original brick walls and massive windows. The doors of the bank's safe are in plain view of the main room and speak to the rich history of the café and hotel to which it is attached.

A communal table, loads of benches and chairs, and beautiful decor make this space great for catching up with a friend or taking yourself out for a date. Make sure to check out their Instagram page before you head over the bridge to see what sweet treat they've concocted that day. 

So next time you've got a couple hours to spare and a hankering for a great latte, ditch your go-to Bridgehead and hit the outskirts of town for some of the best coffee shops the Ottawa area has to offer.