Ever studied at a downtown Ottawa café to try to re-inspire you student life productivity only to end up getting hungry after 23 minutes and wishing you didn't have to survive on caffeine?

Amanda Jeysing

If this scenario sounds all too familiar to you, check out this downtown Ottawa café run by a Carleton University student and her sister.

The Café

Business partners and sisters, Coco and Marlo De Leo, dreamed up their ideal homemade pasta bar concept based on their Italian roots. And so they created DreamLand Café together.

Amanda Jeysing

The Italian family-inspired downtown café opened its doors in May, where the pasta recipes feature the De Leos' grandmother's sauces.

They also take the freshness of their food seriously here, and are all locally sourced from Ottawa including the pasta itself. Ingredients like herbs and tomatoes are even grown themselves.

At DreamLand Café, you can build your own pasta by choosing your pasta, sauce, protein, and add-ons like garlic bread and Caesar salad. 

Want to go with the existing menu? No problem. They also have a list of signature dishes on the menu, including this mouth-watering chicken Alfredo, shrimp lemon garlic, pancetta pesto, creamy pesto, and mac & cheese.

The menu items are all speciality dishes that are made in-house, as well as baked goods that Marlo herself whips up. Scones, muffins, and cookies are a perfect café treat to have with your coffee at DreamLand Café.

We recommend their lemon white-chocolate and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, you won't regret it.

And, of course, they also have options for dietary restrictions so whether you're gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan, there is something for you at DreamLand Café.

Definitely look out for the Rose All Day and Vegan Dream for these options, you'll thank us later. 

This is made easier with their made-to-order menu, so you can go wild with these options and personalize it.

The Student Owner, Marlo

Marlo is a Carleton student in her second year of the Women's and Gender Studies program. While we're all out here struggling to manage our readings and assignment deadlines, she's already started a business that she co-owns.

On running a business while being an undergraduate student, Marlo has learned a lot from being hands on with the café. 

As a Gender Studies major, Marlo values her education because she enjoys her program in terms of being more knowledgeable about intersectional and world issues

As a business owner/operator, she does not see her undergraduate degree as a back up plan, but a good way to build character and discipline. She also finds it useful to expand her mind in different environments.

Amanda Jeysing

Although DreamLand Café is a small venue, it definitely is a cozy spot to huddle in and get some work done while having the options of ordering some great pasta and caffeine while you're at it. 

So if you're going to try this cafe to support a local student, try some great homemade pasta, tick it off your checklist of Ottawa cafes to try, or just because you're a sucker for good puns, what are you waiting for?