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Ottawa... eclectic, ethnic?

c
chef_hef Sep 18, 2009 06:35 PM

My daughter has just moved to Ottawa from Toronto for university. She has grown up with a taste for good food, but hasn't the budget for it as a student. In Toronto, she could eat well, cheap... from Bacchus Roti to Pho Hung to Sushi Time on Queen. Can anyone recommend good, cheap eats in Ottawa? Also, I want to take her out for her birthday and I am stumped. DOmus looks great, but too pricey, same with Black Cat Cafe... we love to eat, and I'd love to treat her, but I'd prefer to take her somewhere that she could conceivably return to with friends for a celebratory meal..

  1. s
    Siglinde99 Oct 21, 2009 01:09 PM

    I like El Meson on Beechwood Avenue. It serves Spanish/Portuguese and is mid-priced (entrees around $16-20 the last time I was there) and the service is good. In the summer, they have a tapas bar on the balcony upstairs.

    Dinner at Frasers Cafe on Springfield Avenue is pricey for a student but the lunch menu would be good for a student celebration (entrees were about $15-18). The food is fresh, local , delicious and nicely presented. They just moved to the Springfield location as they outgrew the old place mere months after opening.

    1. l
      lagatta Oct 12, 2009 04:08 PM

      Find it strange that in Ottawa nobody has recommended Lebanese or other Middle-Eastern places, though I don't have any up-to-date recommendations. Ottawa has a huge Middle Eastern community.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lagatta
        p
        piccola Oct 14, 2009 06:22 AM

        There are few sit-down Middle-Eastern places, and even fewer (if any) that qualify as a celebratory meal. But for takeout, I'm a fan of Ashtar, on Sparks, and Middle-East Bakery, on Somerset. We've been buying pita and hummus from the latter for more than 20 years - I grew up with that stuff.

      2. l
        lightning Oct 3, 2009 02:11 PM

        Also a student... Have no idea for a 'celebratory meal' but these are some of my favourites...
        Pho Ba Ga (i think that's what it's called) on Somerset W
        Ahora, IMO, still very good, very fresh. it's all personal taste though. And anyways I wouldn't recommend it for a celebration.
        There's a tiny restaurant right next to The Royal Oak ... Perfection Satisfaction Promise, whic piccola mentioned... mm. Good.
        I would recommend you avoid The Highlander and the pub right beside it in the Market... aren't very good.
        And throwing out my own plea... anyone know some really good, cheap-ish italian, preferably in the uOttawa area/Byward? I'm seriously craving it... mmm pasta.

        2 Replies
        1. re: lightning
          p
          piccola Oct 3, 2009 03:43 PM

          The Italian places in the market are way overpriced. And to be honest, most of the good Italian places in Ottawa are on the expensive side. I can think of a few that do good pizza, but cheap, good pasta? That's different.

          1. re: piccola
            vorpal Oct 3, 2009 08:20 PM

            I agree with this assessment: unless you are willing to spend, there is no point in going out for Italian food in Ottawa.

        2. f
          FRODO Sep 23, 2009 09:14 AM

          The Manx has decent food (pub food with a twist...for example they have crab cakes on the menu and good salads). Very reasonable prices but small and always quite busy.

          1. vorpal Sep 20, 2009 04:32 AM

            Ceylonta (two locations, main one on Somerset just west of Bank) is extremely cheap and incredibly delicious Sri Lankan food... better than anything I've ever had in Toronto. This place is a true gem and given the low prices and great tastes, students go crazy for it! All the graduate students I know frequent it often.

            http://www.ceylonta.com

            1. p
              piccola Sep 19, 2009 06:28 PM

              Which university is she attending? Ottawa or Carleton? Ottawa U is near the market, which is full of cheap eats; Carleton is close to the Glebe and Ottawa South.

              Near Ottawa U:
              Khao Thai (Thai, duh)
              Ahora (Mexican)
              Sweet Art (Vietnamese)
              Wasabi (sushi)
              Kasbah Village (Moroccan)

              Near(ish) Carleton:
              Sacred Garden (veggie Thai)
              Light of India or Taj Mahal
              Savana Café
              Wild Oat (vegetarian)
              Vietnamese Kitchen

              2 Replies
              1. re: piccola
                m
                MiriamOttawa Sep 19, 2009 11:24 PM

                I have eaten at Ahora a couple times and find it just ok, kind of "average" mexican food and not too interesting. Affordable though.
                I hear Agave grill in westboro is very good though.

                Haveli lunch buffet, it is still $10 all you can eat,but they only have a buffet at lunch.
                Dinner is pretty expensive when ordering single dishes.

                Lone star cafe in the byward market is good.
                But only go for the specials or else it is not that worth it.

                Suisha gardens on Slater st has some very interesting appetizers and prices are ok, similar to Wasabi.
                Actually Suisha gardens also does take out and they have quite a few small dishes for under $5.
                The chilled tofu w sauce and fish flakes and shallots is $3- a nice healthy snack.
                Sushi orders start at $3 for vegetable sushi.
                They also sell their own home made salad dressing in 500ml container for $7, and it is very good!

                Basmati indian at Bank/somerset.
                Tandoori chicken wrap sandwiches for around $7.50 extremely filling and huge sandwiches.
                Also lunch plate specials and resonable meals.

                1. re: MiriamOttawa
                  p
                  piccola Sep 20, 2009 04:59 PM

                  I haven't been to Ahora in about a year, so my memory might not reflect the current situation.

                  Le Boulanger français is both in the market and the Glebe.

                  Across the street from Ottawa U: Perfection Satisfaction Promise, a hippy-ish place that specialises in baked potatoes.

              2. Splendid Wine Snob Sep 18, 2009 08:48 PM

                Wellington Gastropub. The mains are all under $30 and absolutely delicious. I haven't had better ice cream anywhere in Canada-its house made. And I would have loved to hang out in this kinda place during my university days-lowkey, relaxed and friendly service. In fact-I'm heading back out there sometime in October-can't wait!

                http://www.thewellingtongastropub.com...

                SWS

                Oh just to clarify-this suggestion falls under the "celebratory/birthday" category-I wouldn't expect a student to be able to afford those prices on a regular basis.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                  f
                  FRODO Sep 23, 2009 09:11 AM

                  technically the ice cream was not "house made". it's made by a woman who has some kind of arrangement with the WGP.

                  1. re: FRODO
                    Splendid Wine Snob Sep 23, 2009 10:48 AM

                    Thanks for the correction FRODO.

                    I couldn't remember whether it was one of the female BOH staff that made it onsite or if she makes it offsite then sells it to WGP. Either way, its delicious.

                2. b
                  bigfellow Sep 18, 2009 07:33 PM

                  The Elgin Street diner is always very nice. But Fils on Wellington is very nice and CHEAP for a student.

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