What's good to eat in Ottawa?
I've just moved to Ottawa, but my furniture and all my kitchen stuff is stuck in tranist somewhere, so, I've been eating out alot. I live in Sandy Hill, so I've been walking over to Byward most days, and the food has been hit-and-miss. I like hole-in-the-wall type places that are inexpensive, perhaps ethnic, and tasty! I've been reading previous posts and I'll think I might try Ahora tonight. What about places that deliver? Any good Chinese food in the area?
I like Sweet Art on Dalhousie for Vietnamese.
Ahora's a safe bet for cheap tastiness.
Other options: East African Palace (is that the right name?) across from the ByTowne theatre; Greek On Wheels; Ashtar on Sparks; and Perfection Satisfaction Promise for veg food close to Ottawa U. http://www.perfectionsatisfactionprom...
Casa do Churrasco on Dalhousie is good, cheap Portuguese food. Love Ahora. Mekong is the best Chinese/Vietnamese in my opinion, on Somerset West in Chinatown. Wasabi is the best sushi...on Murray I believe (not necessarily cheap). You should also try lunch/sandwiches at Bottega Nicastro right in the market on the same side of the street as the Bay and Chapters (back entrance).
Byward is definitely hit and miss, and probably one of the worst areas of Ottawa for food (with a few gems). Venture a little further out and I think you'll find some nice surprises.
Here are some recommendations:
Sweet Basil on Bank at Heron: Easily the best Thai restaurant I've ever eaten at, and I've eaten at many. It's quite far out of your way, so if you're not willing to make the trip, consider visiting Green Papaya on Kent instead. It used to be a sister restaurant to Sweet Basil until it was sold and it still has many of the same dishes done almost as well.
Royal Thai on Dalhousie at Murray: This is decent Thai fare. It's not quite as authentic as Sweet Basil, but the portions are larger and heartier for what you pay, and they've never disappointed me. Best spring rolls I've ever had, in my opinion, and their panaeng and pad ki mow are also very, very good.
For Thai delivery, try Tuk Tuk Thai Express. They're close to the Market (I can't remember the street names well as it's been years since I've lived in Ottawa) and they will definitely do your area. You could probably even walk over to get pickup and save a few bucks if you're looking for a cheap meal. Not the best Thai, but very edible and they seem to really care about their food. At least when I used to live in Sandy Hill, it was infinitely amusing to go there and eat at their huge indoor picnic tables: you place your order and then would watch, in the open kitchen, a tiny five foot Thai woman frantically stir fry your order in a gargantuan wok that she could have curled up in.
Nagina on Rideau just east of the Rideau Centre is considered one of Ottawa's better Indian buffets; very good prices and the owner is passionate about his restaurant. He'll gladly come over, give you coupons, and talk your ear off if you let him :D.
Ceylonta on Somerset just west of Bank is a Sri Lankan place that is also very, very good, and astoundingly cheap. They have a great lunch buffet of a high quality, which will allow you to check out many of their dishes if you can go. Otherwise, their dinners are generally quite good and if you're not accustomed to this kind of food, the owner will be happy to make recommendations that will suit your palate.
Taj Mahal on Bank (can't recall exactly where, but it's close to Carleton) is also generally viewed as some of Ottawa's better Indian food. I personally slightly prefer New Nupur, which is a bit further north on Bank, but both are excellent.
Any of the Pho Bo Gas, of which there are many as they've had to expand rapidly to keep up with business, are purportedly great Vietnamese fare for their incredibly low price point, although as an MSG intolerant person, I haven't tried them.
That's a start... if you try any of them, please let me know. I'd love to hear your thoughts! How I miss living in Sandy Hill...
A great Ottawa food resource is http://www.ottawafoodies.com - it receives a lot more Ottawa traffic than this place, and the people there are very warm, friendly, and ready to help anyone with a love of food. There's a lot of great personal reviews there, as well as photos and other general food tips. The focus there tends to be on a lot of ethnic, hole-in-the-wall treasures instead of haute cuisine and trendiness (although that also receives some attention, but much less than this place), so it would probably suit you perfectly.
Hope this helps!