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The Ottawa Topic


CharityCase
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Bumping in the hopes of getting a few more Ottawa East Indian recs, besides Ceylonta and Curry Village (which by the mere mention of "another in Kingston" makes me go  :hmmm: ) I've tried a search, but somebody who is a mod on the India and Indian Cuisine boards keeps posting to the Ottawa threads, and, well, 27 pages!  :laugh:

Good vegetarian options are a must -- this is for my poor husband, who has been suffering nobly through Basic Training and living on overcooked broccoli and grey hardboiled eggs for nearly three months. (Apparently the Canadian Forces, despite lip service, are still weak on vegetarian accommodation.) Our original plans for a Montreal meetup got canned, so now it's Easter in Ottawa.

Or, alternatively, can anybody comment on the following, which I got off the Ottawa Restaurant review site -- each one, however, has a negative review or two thrown in among the positive ones... Light of India on Bank; Pearl of India in Orleans (I'm finding it somewhat difficult to get round the concept of a decent Indian restaurant in Orleans, but am willing to be surprised); Taj Mahal on Bank?

Coconut lagoon I believe is in the East End of Ottawa and it gets pretty good reviews most of the time. I've heard good things about Light of India, but I haven't heard of Pearl of India to be honest with you.

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The best vegetarian in Ottawa that I have had so far has been at Roses Cafe on Dalhousie and at their other location on Gladstone. Haveli's on Robertson Road in Bell's Corners also has a pretty good vegetarian selection.

I have yet to try out Coconut Lagoon, but I have heard great reviews from friends.

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thanks for the review sites! It's been twenty years since I actually lived in Ottawa, so I'm out of the loop... I can suggest Ethiopian (we're very fond of that too) but I was told that East Indian was the Constant Craving as he moped around the mess hall.

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thanks for the review sites! It's been twenty years since I actually lived in Ottawa, so I'm out of the loop... I can suggest Ethiopian (we're very fond of that too) but I was told that East Indian was the Constant Craving as he moped around the mess hall.

Compass,

Light of India = Meh. The flavours are tame even by Western standards, although the Nan is very good

Taj Mahal = Better, more creative and portions would suit a military man for sure. I really enjoyed the flavours and the heat was more reasonable.

I'm not a fan of the Roses Cafe (or the Roses Also) but if vegetarian is a priority then they may be better options for you, since the menu tends more towards South Indian cuisine. Unofrtunately I'll have to reinforce Ceylonta though, as their vegetarian options are plentiful and their food is outstanding...easily my favorite indian restaurant in Ottawa so far.

Next on the list to try would be Coconut Lagoon as it specializes in Keralan cuisine...south indian, very spicy, lots of coconut and predominantly vegetarian cuisine.

I think your trip was going to be over Easter so apologies if these reco's come too late.

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I'm not a fan of the Roses Cafe (or the Roses Also) but if vegetarian is a priority then they may be better options for you, since the menu tends more towards South Indian cuisine. Unofrtunately I'll have to reinforce Ceylonta though, as their vegetarian options are plentiful and their food is outstanding...easily my favorite indian restaurant in Ottawa so far.

Next on the list to try would be Coconut Lagoon as it specializes in Keralan cuisine...south indian, very spicy, lots of coconut and predominantly vegetarian cuisine.

Hm, Coconut Lagoon sounds delightful -- I'll have to try that next time I'm there. After discussion, we actually ended up getting takeout from the Pearl of India in Orleans, since my family wanted some too, and my mother didn't think it would be worth it to get "all dressed up" and make a big trip for Ceylonta :rolleyes: (you'd have to know my mother! :biggrin: ).

It was about what you'd expect from Indian in Orleans -- but not the worst Indian I've had, at any rate. A bit on the oily side. The saag panir was very good, and so was their dal; the samosas and onion bhaji were passable (but I didn't like the weird, yogourty dipping sauce they had at all -- much prefer a nice tamarind chutney); the naan was nice even taken out. Let's see, what else was there? Cauliflower (what's the word for cauliflower) aloo which my husband and I really liked, but my mother thought was "too spicy" (it wasn't); an eggplant bharta which was extremely bland; and my dad and I shared rogan josh and quite liked it (though again, my mother, who "didn't want any meat" when we ordered, tried this, made a big fuss about how overspicy it was, then tried some more so she could complain some more :hmmm: ).

I thought the portions were rather smallish. All of that and a rice pilaf (which I didn't try) was entirely eaten up by five people in one meal -- each of the main dishes was in a little 250g takeout container.

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Thanks for the response compass. Indian restaurants can be a real mystery sometimes, as your experience mirrors my own at the East India Company, Ottawa's snootiest Indian restaurant. At times the food can be quite good but at other times it's absolutely terrible. It's also expensive in comparison to others who do their dishes justice. More philosophically I don't believe Indian food should be expensize unless it's fancy nouveau Indian, or the vindaloo is made with prime rib or something.

In other Ottawa news I tried Forno Antico the other night and was let down after having heard so many positive reviews. I am all for authenticity but my asparago (asparagus, roasted red peppers and spinach) was far too sparse on ingredients and sauce. Whatever sauce had been applied was so thin that it baked into the crust, and the "spinach" was quite honestly tiny little flecks that you'd expect to be basil. The texture of the crust was indeed outstanding owing to the wood oven, but you gotta give those pizzas some flavour.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Of Note for Ottawa folks;

1. this morning's bus ride yielded a new Oyster bar on Bank Street just North of Gladstone.

2. A Taste for Life is being held Wednesday, April 27th. Visit any of the Participating Restaurants on that day and 25% of your food bill goes to support Men, Women and Children living with HIV and AIDS.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wonder if I merely enjoy hearing myself talk?

Can someone recommend a latin restaurant in Ottawa for me to try? Failing that please suggest authentic mexican that is NOT feleena's, mexicali rosa's or that place on Elgin St.

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... Indian restaurants can be a real mystery sometimes, as your experience mirrors my own at the East India Company, Ottawa's snootiest Indian restaurant.

This comment puzzles me, Charity Case. We were regulars at the East India Company in Winnipeg while we lived there and were delighted to find out they had also opened a restaurant here in Ottawa. We eat there once in a while and have always found the reception and service to be friendly.

Yes, the food does vary. Some times, especially Friday nights it seems, it can be quite wonderful, and other times perhaps less so.

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... Indian restaurants can be a real mystery sometimes, as your experience mirrors my own at the East India Company, Ottawa's snootiest Indian restaurant.

This comment puzzles me, Charity Case. We were regulars at the East India Company in Winnipeg while we lived there and were delighted to find out they had also opened a restaurant here in Ottawa. We eat there once in a while and have always found the reception and service to be friendly.

Yes, the food does vary. Some times, especially Friday nights it seems, it can be quite wonderful, and other times perhaps less so.

I could potentially give it another try now that they've gone BYOW. My last experience was pretty unpleasant in terms of service, and their food was comparable to cheaper buffet-style restaurants in Ottawa that are not wallet-breakers.

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  • 1 month later...

A couple of interesting tidbits:

1. Wednesday's Ottawa Citizen did a story on Beckta's selection by the Canadian consulate to do a six-course meal showcasing Canda's best food and wine for 50 people:

When the Canadian consulate in New York went looking for Canada's best wine and food to showcase to Americans, they called on Stephen Beckta of Beckta Dining & Wine to do the job right.

Open just two years, his small restaurant in downtown Ottawa has already been showered with praise not just from local food critics, but in the national press as well for its superlative service, food, and Mr. Beckta's ability to pair exactly the right wines with Mr. Vardy's cuisine..

2. The Ottawa Xpress resto reviews, IMHO, have started to improve. Last week's review of Flipper's was helpful, and this week carried a review of Hot Peppers, the new Thai Food/Wine Bar (intriguing, no?) at the corner of Somerset and Lyon:

...Definitely not a night for soup, the apps we ordered to start followed the Thai restaurant tradition: tiny and not very cheap. But the quality was there. Dipping into sweet pepper mango sauce and biting down on some Poa Pia Plu, crispy spring rolls filled with succulent crabmeat, I knew we were onto something special

Strangely, while dining at a place bold and adventurous enough to call themselves a Thai Food and Wine Bar, the reviewer opted out of trying any wines or having the server help with matching and instead ordered a Singha. Not that I don't like Singha but I'm interested in testing the merits of the server matching a crisp riesling with my jungle curry.

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Was in Ottawa this past weekend and had dinner Friday at Bekta. It was excellent, the bison (main course) was perfect. Our host was a friend of Stephen's and we enjoyed talking with him about the consulate dinner. I would definitely return for another meal.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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  • 3 months later...

I know it's self-serving of me to resurrect a thread I created. Get over it.

I wanted to put in a good word for the 222 Lyon Tapas bar, and for Suisha Gardens. Both have a few years under their belt (Suisha I imagine moreso) and both did not disappoint. If you haven't been to either before or in a long time, do yourself a favourl

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Anf if you keep digging you'll find yet more Ottawa threads (I know because I'd post in them) but they keep getting buried - not enough Ottawans to sustain interest I suppose. :rolleyes:

Last time I was home was in July and we had a very nice lunch at Le Metropolitain. If we're in Ottawa for Thanksgiving weekend, we'll probably do lunch there again at some point... or at least have a glass or two and some light fare at the bar. We've decided it's our new "drinks hangout" (our old one was Patty Boland's)

Cheese: milk’s leap toward immortality – C.Fadiman

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I know it's self-serving of me to resurrect a thread I created. Get over it.

I wanted to put in a good word for the 222 Lyon Tapas bar, and for Suisha Gardens. Both have a few years under their belt (Suisha I imagine moreso) and both did not disappoint. If you haven't been to either before or in a long time, do yourself a favourl

Keep trying CharityCase!

Part of the problem is that the Ottawa scene isn't very dynamic, so reporting on the newest place is pretty slow which keeps discussion down. Also we seem to be fairly forgiving to mediocre places, and far to concerned with portion size as the biggest factor in recommending a place.

I've had a couple of dinners at Metropolitan, the food has been very good both times, but getting into our seats has been a problem. (Having to move tables or standing in the middle of the dining room as they decide where to put us despite having reservations)

I also think that the Black Cat has stepped up it's food, Somethings are a little different and have met with varying levels of success.

Whalesbone on Bank has become a place we head to for a quick drink and some oysters semi-regularly.

My wife treated me to Dinner at Beckta for my birthday.... Probably the best meal we've had there. Is there better in Ottawa?

Has anyone tried Foundation yet?

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  • 2 months later...

Well, not much new to report from my area of town. I've enjoyed the Whalesbone, and the Manx remains a trusty standby even though we lost Tanya Skeates earlier in the year. Of course since it's UrBock season, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the Manx and the Corner Bar &Grill (formerly Globe) on Bank in the glebe are selling this fantastic beer on tap.

It looks as if the Poor Elgin St. Freehouse has started to dip into true Ottawa/Royal Oak fashion with a menu board that decrees "Lamb Shank! Appy Platter! Duck Confit Poutine!" and makes me wonder "Why is everyone yelling at me! Exclamation point not required!" Another look at their menu and a trip inside was still decent, but not at that price. Before too long I'm afriad it will become Royal Oak #677 or maybe the Hound & Roach or the Earwig & Dust Mite. This has already happened with Globe and probably many other places that started with nobler and more inspiring visions.

Has anything new or exciting happened in O-Town worth mentioning?

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Of course since it's UrBock season, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the Manx and the Corner Bar &Grill (formerly Globe) on Bank in the glebe are selling this fantastic beer on tap.

Has anything new or exciting happened in O-Town worth mentioning?

I'll add that Black Tomato had Creemore UrBock on tap on Friday. Though I don't think they've changed their menu in 3-4 years, might be time for a few new ideas (wine list too).

Metropolitain is too big to sustain a high level of food, burgers are on the menu and they're going after the same market as Milestone's now.

Did the kitchen change at Whalesbone? Last dinner there was with new cooks and dinner seemed a little more "upscale" don't know if it's an improvement yet. Still great oysters.

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Here i go with my huge list :

in Hull : St-Estephe, Le Sans-Pareil, Le tartuffe, Henry Burger, L'espresso (same owner as St-estephe), Le bacara (casino more expensive).

In the outaouais a must is L'Oree du bois! i can't emphasise it more, it is the best place to eat, good price really good table d'hotes nice location in Old Chelsea.

In ottawa : Eighteen, Luxe Bistro (if you can have a reservation), Vineyards (if you want ok food but wonderfull wine), UrbanPear, Perspectives restaurant (brookstreet hotel, where i curently work).

there is more, but i can't think of them all...

...snow is pretty

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  • 3 weeks later...
I wonder if I merely enjoy hearing myself talk?

Can someone recommend a latin restaurant in Ottawa for me to try? Failing that please suggest authentic mexican that is NOT feleena's, mexicali rosa's or that place on Elgin St.

Not a restaurant exactly........but if you go to the Mercado Latino on Montreal road there is a small kitchen in the back. Weekend mornings they have tacos and tamales I think. GO EARLY. Last time I stopped in at about 10:30 am and they had stopped serving food in the back already. I'm not sure who is doing the cooking now, they used to have an older lady who kicked ass!

The few times I've eaten the food there, it was homestyle cooking, not restaurant food.

Edited by Teri Everitt (log)

If only I'd worn looser pants....

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Hi all,

I've been looking in the Ottawa thread and couldn't find what I'm looking for; we're searching for a nice place to stay for a night this summer. We have a wedding there and we would like to find a nice B&B or hotel in Ottawa that wouldn't be too expensive. The bride "arranged" us to the McGee Inn, but we don't have a good feeling about this place (and it was kind of costly). Do you have any recommendation? Thanks,

Salomon

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a short note from a Westerner who had the pleasure of dining at Beckta last Friday evening. Our party of 5 was escorted to a small private room, and proceeded to have a magical taste of the menu throughout the evening. The food was nothing short of spectacular - with each course - as the 5 of us assured that we ordered different dishes for each course. The wines were excellent - service very good (not sure if it is just me, but in most fine dining spots in Western Canada, when you are bringing dishes for 5, or clearing dishes for 5 you would have adequate staff to do it all at the same time - at Beckta, courses came out in 2-3 at a time with the server running back to the kitchen to get the rest - a minor flaw, but very surprising to me as they did have adequate staff available to ensure that all 5 plates arrived/departed at the same time). All in all a very good experience, and would highly recommend for anyone looking for a fabulous experience.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi, just dropping in from my usual hideyhole on the Japan Board to ask for recommendations for casual business lunches and semi-formal business dinners. Most likely just 2-3 people, probably not more than half a dozen.

I've looked through the thread and checked some addresses, but its very hard for a furriner to work out where the street addresses are in Ottawa, if you don't already know the suburbs. :shock:

My husband will be making a very quick trip in early March, and will be staying and seeing clients in the Nepean/Kanata area in the west.

He particularly wants to find a place for dinner that the guy from the US branch of their company will enjoy, as he has been very helpful with arrangements. A soothing and relaxing atmosphere would be nice too!

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A brief run down of a few restaurants in Ottawa:

I have enjoyed a lovely meal at the Urban Pear (at Bank and Second) - the service was friendly, yet professional, the atmosphere was warm, and the food was good - with the exception of the chocolate tart, which was a disappointment. The vanilla creme brullee on the other hand, was wonderfully creamy. It was supposed to come with an orange flavoured ice cream, but I asked them to substitue a pear sorbet, which was fantastic. My dining companion enjoyed a steak, and I had perch, and my memory is failing me, so I can't tell you much more than that I enjoyed it. We had a lovely meal there, and I would definitely go back.

I have also quite enjoyed a trip to allium, which is in the West end (Holland and Wellington), and which I haven't seen mentioned in the discussion here. The menu changes frequently, and again there is friendly service and a warm atmosphere. I remember having a goat cheese and beet bruschetta starter there a while ago, which I quite enjoyed, and I also had a vegetarian entree on a different occasion - I think it was a mushroom pie on a chickpea stew (it's been a while, so I might be a little off on the details) - either way, I thought it was a fantastic vegetarian entree - flavourful and satisfying.

From outside, I think that the locations of both the Urban Pear and Allium look rather unpromising, both are cases of "don't judge a book by its cover".

I was rather disappointed in eighteen, which I had heard good things about. I had a mixed green salad, which was alright. There were orange slices in the salad, and I felt as if the dressing needed a stronger hit of vinegar to spike the sweetness of the oranges. It did come with a goat cheese crostini, so the cheese provided a sharpness, but while it was nice, it did not quite come together for me. I enjoyed my main course, which was trout, but my dining companion had salmon, and it was overcooked. The service was very good - our server brought out a new piece of salmon, which was cooked well, and which my dining companion did enjoy. One of our party had the gnocchi, which she definitely did not enjoy, I can't really comment. As for the dessert, it sounded promising - a chocolate cake with espresso gelato and port-soaked fruit. The cake resembled nothing so much as lumpy playdough. I cannot recall ever not finishing a dessert, including the somewhat disappointing chocolate tart at the Urban Pear, mentioned above, which was not even my dessert, but I left behind most of this chocolate cake.

In Gatineau I had a very nice meal at Les Fougeres. I had penne with a gorgonzola cream sauce and pistachios. For dessert I had another creme brullee, which came with a trio of little cookies, I remember that one was a ginger cookie, and one was chocolate chip, which I think had pistachios in it, which I found surprsing, but was delicious. The whole dessert was delightful, I absolutely did not need it after the pasta dish, but I couldn't bear to leave any behind. There is a gorgeous gift shop in the same building as the restaurant, which is definitely worth checking out. I would say the restaurant is about a half hour drive from downtown Ottawa.

Obviously these restaurants would not all satisfy the requirements set out in the post above, but some of them might meet your needs, and I just decided to comment on all of them because I have relied on the comments of other people in this thread when choosing restaurants.

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