Ron & Melvin have sent in more than just their favourites, they’ve given us a great round-up on the Ottawa’s ethnic restaurant “foodprint” for 2008.
(1) There has been a surge in Korean restaurants in Ottawa recently, especially near/in Chinatown on Somerset. Over the course of about a year and a half, three new Korean restaurants cropped up in this area: Koreana, Bulgogi Garden, and SooRa. In addition, we also noticed a new Kimchi store on Percy (just off Somerset). There are also at least six other Korean restaurants in the city, including Kwon's BBQ Chicken, Korea Garden, Alirang, Miga, Arum, and Joy. We're sure there are others, especially those offering Korean & Japanese food. Unfortunately, we haven't been to most of these restaurants yet, but my own pleasant discovery of Baramibunei in Hamilton gives me a strong desire to give them a go. Rest assured, we'll be busy checking out these restaurants in the new year.
(2) An Ethiopian friend of ours recently brought us to the Blue Nile restaurant - an Ethiopian restaurant that opened about a year ago. We've had Ethiopian food before (from Horn of Africa and East African Palace), but we both feel that this restaurant's food is definitely better, and our friend assured us it's more authentic. The dishes make great use of traditional spices, making the meat especially tasty. One exciting thing about this place is that they have Taej, a very tasty and sweet honey wine. Definitely worth going back for!
(3) Ottawa must have finally had enough demand for cheap and affordable sushi. There's been a recent surge in the number of restaurants offering sushi - from quick take-out to all-you-can-eat. For years we've had to go to Toronto or Montreal to get a Sushi fix at a reasonable price, but now we can get our sushi fix as often as we'd like. Totoya, 1000 Sushi Island, Sushi Kan, Green Tea Sushi, and Sushi 88 to name just a few.
(4) It looks like Tim Hortons is being squeezed out of Ottawa. For years, Sharwarma joints in Ottawa were as ubiquitous as Tim Hortons. Things are changing. Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and other ethnic restaurants are expanding their "foodprints" in this city, occupying more and more space throughout Ottawa. There's even a Tex-Mex-Salvadorian restaurant. I am so glad to see that Ottawa is finally waking up to the scents of other ethnic food. Okay, maybe Timmy's will still hang around, but at least those of us who want something different can find it more readily in the nation's capital.
Restaurants included in Ron & Melvin’s favourites list:
- Koreana, 711 Somerset St W, 613.230.7111
- Bulgogi Garden, 702 Somerset St. W, 613.236.0001
- SooRa Korean Table BBQ & Bar, 610 Somerset St W, 613.321.3911
- Kwon's BBQ Chicken, 332 Wilbrod St, 613.236.8371, CheapEats Ottawa pg. 60
- Korea Garden, 470 Rideau St, 613.789.5496
- Alirang, 134 Nelson St, 613.789.2223
- Miga, 399 Bank St, 613.230.0084
- Arum, 512 Bank Street, 613.230.8488
- Joy, 315 Somerset St W, 613.231.6333
- Baramibunei, [HAMILTON] 16 Jarvis St, 905.577.4652
- Blue Nile restaurant, 577 Gladstone Ave., 613.321.0774
- Horn of Africa, 364 Rideau St, 613.789.0025
- East African Palace, 376 Rideau St., 613.789.7397
- Totoya, 297 Dalhousie St, 613.241.2224
- 1000 Sushi Island, 1696 Carling Ave, 613.722.3803
- Sushi Kan, 1280 Baseline Road, 613.221.9545
- Green Tea Sushi, 5A-280 Elgin St, 613.233.2888
- Sushi 88, 690B Somerset St. W, 613.233.3288
The CheapEats dynamic duo of Ron & Melvin are always on the job, keeping themselves at the ready to pounce on any new restaurant recommendation, research flavours and cuisines, and keeping their eyes peeled for new developments in the Ottawa food scene. Their most frequently asked question: “So where are we eating tonight?”