"Lesser Cuisine" (Ottawa)
- James Moser
There are so many recommendations for (in my opinion) absolutely FAB locations like Sweetgrass and Beckta in Ottawa. So many Market locations (like the Black Tomato) are also amazing and make for a delightful evening out. Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Middle eastern restaurants abound with plentiful portions, exotic specialties, and wonderful service.... But a true testament to the quality of the epicureal fabric of a city is it's "lesser cuisine". I love heading to large US cities, like NYC, and finding those hidden places, where a diner can stand against a well worn counter, in comfortable blue jeans and relish in the simple tastes of a homemade slice of pizza. I find this type of experience hard to come by in Ottawa (or surrounding area), so I throw down the gauntlet, where can you find the best of the following (under $10pp):
Pizza (by the slice!!)
Chili Dog (bonus points for Coney Island Style)
Burrito (in the wrapper?!?)
Slider (greasy burger... maybe fried)
Pickle (yes, pickle, dill pickle, ... tough one)
I can answer a couple of those, and a few more, I think.
Pizza slice: 1-for-1 pizza on Bank. Yes, the name is ridiculous (it's actually 2-for-1), but the slices are great.
Falafel/Kebab/etc: TIE. Ashtar, on Sparks. You should see the civil servants line up at lunch. And Middle East Bakery on Somerset. My family's been going there for over 20 y.
Poutine/fries: The Blooming Onion chipwagon, somewhere along Dalhousie. But the opening hours are weird.
Popcorn: The ByTowne theatre on Rideau. Real butter, baby - and as much as you want. I hear Adrienne Clarkson takes three ladles, one for each third of the bag.
Pretzel: The huge soft ones at Kettleman Bagel on Bank.
Can't help you with the meat products, tho - I'm veg.
There is a new Mexican food place "coming soon" in the area of the market. Its in the less trendy and slightly more sketchy area (not that any area really is that bad in Ottawa) . I passed by it a few days back and need to try and remember its exactly location. I think it was by a carribean place and not far from the funky looking Russian place that I still have yet to make it to. I will try and get more details as soon as I can.
Interesting and fun question!
Hmmm. I like Olga's Deli on Bank Street in the north Glebe. Great sandwiches and homemade soup. They have pizza by the slice that looks good but I haven't had any.
I like Nate's Deli for just about anything. Good comfort food. Fabulous latkes too. And pickles! Some swear by them but I find them too vinegary.
My kid swears by the chip wagon near Arlington the poutine.
There's a burger place waaaaay out near Greely, across from Burger King. They have great burgers and I ADORE their hot dogs. It's a Chinese family that owns it -- their egg rolls are pretty good too.
I haven't had a good burrito in years.
I think Harvey's makes the best fast food burgers.
Yes I know about Ahora and no I am not looking for a $$$ trendy place I've been looking for a down home Taquetaria or a family hole in the wall place where the food is not necessacarily pretty, theres no freaking 'gringo kitch' just good food cheap. (One of the few things I miss about going stateside but they also had in Toronto but I have yet to find in Ottawa.)
I stumbled across this and I craving burritos etc. and have been for ages. I have no clue if its good or not but I want to try it out. If you've eaten there please share your experience. I take transit places and my not get to it for a bit so if your craving is strong pleaset try it out and let us know.
Reporting back: re: houseofpizza's burrito. It was a pain in the ass to get to... waited quite a while for them to make the food, its delivery and a take out counter with no place to sit to eat or to sit to wait. The container was big and the portion the same but the burrito itself aboslutely SUCKED! I wanted to cry. IMHO it wasn't a burrito at all. Green peppers in a burrito?!?! No bean. No rice nothing traditionally actually in a burrito. Taste=Italian (yes, I know the name looks Italian and but there were many mexican dishes on the menu, so I thought It might be OK. I was wrong.)
After remarking on and admiring their very retro sign for ages, I have finally eaten at my local greasy spoon diner, "Mellos" on Dalhousie by the market. Its been there forever everything is worn and what you'd expect to see in a ma and pa greasy spoon, joint. The staff are friendly and seem to remeber you after a few visits. There is a huge specials board on the back wall. Nothig trendy or fancy, just good honest food.
Oh, and I think they may have Coney's - just ask.
The kitchen is open, you can watch them prepping your food and its homey, down to earth and comfort food seems to be the thing. The clientel and cooks from night and day are quite different - its quite entertaining.