Thi Fusion

I ventured out last evening in search of some Thai food before going bowling (!!). I was feeling generally lazy in driving too far, and remembered about Thi Fusion in the Kanata centrum. A jaunt and a half later I walked through what I thought was the front door and was greeted by a young gentleman who kindly told me it would be about 5 minutes or I could sit at the bar. Hoorah, I love sitting at the bar. I took a seat with no hesitation.

Looking through the menu it was a tour through Asia. Sushi from Japan, Pho from Vietname, Crispy egg noodle from China. It made it quite confusing to choose which part of Asia I wanted to taste from, and how to combine the dishes in one meal. Through some long moments of struggle, the same young man that showed me to my seat offered to assist me with the menu. I told him I was in the mood for some spicy, curry, stirfry-y kind of thing. His recommendations were the Pad Thai – their signature dish – or the curry. I settled on the BBQ pork Pad thai and started with a course of house-made spring rolls.

While waiting for the food I looked around the restaurant and noticed that each table was surrounded by tall walls to infuse a sense of privacy for each group. The kitchen was snug at the back – quite small from what I could see through the swinging door – and a long bar where I was sitting hid a sushi bar not exposed to the public but where all the sushi was being rolled. Back to the menu, I was curious why the ‘Canadian Eh’ maki roll had nothing exceptionally Canadian in it – Avocado, blue cheese, pear and smoked salmon. Sounds … interesting? The Southwest spring roll I decided against was clearly from Mexico and not Asia at all – black bean, corn, jalapeno, cheese and spicy mayo. So, definitely not southwest Asia.

Nonetheless, my food came out piping hot. The springrolls were very fresh – and as the young man said, worth every penny. My Pad thai was exceptionally yummy. The BBQ has never been an option as meat in Pad Thai and while the flavours jive, the BBQ remains a distinct flavour in the dish. The pad thai sauce was neither tomato-y nor thick; just a perfect coating of flavor over well cooked vegetables and slightly overcooked rice noodles.

The concept of the restaurant was clearly to bring an upscale restaurant to the city of Kanata with a fusion of Asian spices and dishes to the table. Not only is there a fusion of Asian foods, but a marriage with Canadian and Mexican cultures as well. If you are a sucker for Asian food, you will find it strange to be eating what we would consider poor man’s food but paying high end prices. You wont find $8 dishes here.I could have done without the big screen tv airing ‘gluton for punishment’ during my dinner, but overall a great experience. I will need to go back and take a tour of Japan next time.

Thi Fusion on Urbanspoon

Phu Yen

Phu Yen is a tiny little Vietname/Chinese fusion restaurant situated along the tech core on March road. No doubt this restaurant is consistently busy and full of spicy and floral odors. I was taken to Phu Yen once during a lunch time rush and it was a miracle that we found a table, and at the window at that. So we parked ourselves, ordered a beer and perused through the menu.

Since then we have found that Phu Yen is better ordered in. Instead of worrying about getting a table – and I will say they do an exceptional job at turning tables as fast as they can – they offer the full menu for take out. We have ordered from here several times now and I say two thumbs up. Its a shame that we cant experience dining out all the time, but in the profession I am in, its great to have a few reliable places to order in. They do a good pad thai, and a great rice noodle in black bean sauce. The spring rolls are just OK, but since they do cook Chinese food I should really try the egg rolls next time.

Phu Yen on Urbanspoon

Pho Moonlight

It had been almost 2.5 years being in Ottawa before trying Pho Moonlight. It was on good recommendation that we decided to go one afternoon and fulfill our pho craving. Upon entering I noticed the restaurant to be much spacier than most, and very clean. We were seated at a large table in the center of the room and were greeted with a tepid pot of tea – perhaps a red tea was used – and cups of water.

After scanning the menu – similar to any other Vietnamese restaurant – half of us settled on pho and the other half on bun. Our server came by to take our orders and spoke in plain English; definitely never expected in a true Vietnamese restauran, but neither good or bad. Nonetheless when the food came it all tasted very tasty. Portion sizes were good, and the flavors in the food were present.

An overall good experience, but I felt the comfort and familiarity was missing in this place, contrary to what you would find at Ox head. Try it out. I think for this one it would come down to preference.

Pho Moonlight on Urbanspoon

Ox Head

There is no other place you should be going to other than Oxhead.

I get a craving for pho quite often, especially in the Winter, and no doubt about it I choose Ox Head everytime. The truth of the matter is that while the pho itself is no better or no worse than what you expect time find in China town, the staff and the springrolls do it for me. Specifically, the spring rolls at Oxhead are rolled in an extremely light rice paper and coated in some sort of flower before frying. This makes the casing quite crunchy and tight. Inside is a mixture of meat and seafood (or vegetarian upon request). Believe me when I say you will end up ordering spring rolls each time, or making sure you order the bun with spring rolls.

In addition, and very importantly, the staff makes a point of remembering you and your needs. They strive to find you a table, treat you with utmost courtesy and offer you fast efficient service.

Hands down, my favourite dish is the pork bun (the accent is missing on the u here) with spring rolls. Other very good dishes are the beef satay pho and the tofu pad thai. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Ox Head on Urbanspoon

Mucho Borrito

I was stunned that I hadnt written this review earlier – I swear I had.

There is no other place in Kanata I frequent more, and with such delight. Truthfully I love Mexican food, I love the sloppiness, and I love spicy food. Mucho Borrito is Ottawa’s fast food Mexican joint that allows you to pick and choose your topics much like subway. Between choices of soft tacos, borritos, quesadilla, salads, and kids items, you choose the size of tortilla and whether you want vegetarian, fish (baked tillapia) or beef/pork/chicken/sausage. Along comes the beans, veggies, cheese, sauces, salsas, and guacamole for $1 – so worth the guac!

Panini pressed and wrapped up, this is bar far one of the tastiest and freshest Mexican you can find in this city. According to the cashier, cheapest place in the city for corona’s as well. You must must must try Mucho Borrito next time you are in Kanata. Take it to go, if you need to.

Mucho Burrito on Urbanspoon

Moxie’s Classic Grill Kanata

I have been to Moxie’s before but I wasnt expecting for this…

Upon entering Moxie’s we were asked if we wanted bar side or restaurant side. Bar side, duh, I’m here for some drinks. Wow, you walk in and your eyes are drawn to the lit up bar bordered by ceiling high glass shelves covered in empty liquor bottles (I was sure I could find a pic on the internet but I guess I will have to go in and take some). Imagine, each shelf cases rows of emtpy gin, or empty vodka, or,… you get it, with blue or green or red lights shining through them.

Patrons were ordering all kinds of martinis, along with the famous mini Corona or mini Schmirnoff tipped upside down in a fishbowl of alcoholic slushy. 4 ounces of liquor later and you are feeling pretty good. Admittedly I try to bring people into the grill just to see their expressions. Are we on Miami south beach?

Alright the downside. Although you get to sit snug on black leather seats around the room with some good pals for the night, and the menu does offer some tasty items, every order comes with a side of boobs. Sorry ladies, I know you are just working, … and I hate to criticize on the outfits you had no say in, but maybe my fellow female patrons can try to ignore it for one night. Aside from this, it is hard not to be lured into Moxie’s for a very fun girl’s night. Gentleman, Moxie’s makes a pretty tasty steak… with a side of boobs of course. Hard to go wrong, dont you say?

Here is my note of caution: this is the only Moxie’s I know that has this ambiance, so dont go to other locations expecting the same.

Moxie's Classic Grill on Urbanspoon

Lapointe’s Seafood Grill

I went to Lapointe’s one afternoon for lunch and was curious what all the hype was all about.

What I love about this place is that it is so simple and does well in what it sets out to do. You go to Lapointe’s for seafood, and you get tasty seafood. Done up in several cooking styles, several sauces, and sides to go with, Lapointe’s definitely satiates your seafood craving. I have been to several different seaports along the US and more recently in Europe. The Lapointe’s restaurants very much resemble the cantinas found along the cost offering daily fresh fish with very little preparation that would normally mask the flavours of the fish. I was unable to find where Lapointe’s has their fish shipped in from, but I do know that Lapointe’s fish market in Byward is used widely amoung restaurants due to their quality. Lapointe’s in Kanata utilizes the same fresh fish to offer dishes to patrons who would like to sit down and enjoy a good meal.

I visited the Byward location once, not too long ago, for some sushi. Alright, so I am kind of a whimp still when it comes to raw fish but I assure you that the company I was with knows good sushi and he just adores Lapointe’s.

Both locations are definitely worth trying out.

Lapointe's Seafood Grill on Urbanspoon

Lapointe Seafood Grill on Urbanspoon

Hockey Sushi

Hands down the best all you can eat sushi in the West end of Ottawa!

I work with a group of folks who are fanatical about all you can eat sushi, and quite picky at that. Since I have worked in Kanata we have continued to go to Hockey Sushi. The prices are equivalent to any other all you can eat sushi restaurant, the sushi flavours and combinations may actually be my favourite in the city, and the service is quick. It is important to us that the options on the menu are suitable for those who are keen on loads of raw (good quality) fish, those who like the exotic combinations, and the occasional vegetarian. Hockey sushi has never let us down.

In fact a colleague of mine and I went to Hockey sushi last year to conquer our sushi craving. We happened to walk in during a busy spell, so asked the couple behind us – complete strangers – if they would like to join a table with us and take the next table of four available. It could have been awkward but we were all thankful to have gotten a table and to be eating. Unless some big fish comes to Ottawa and shows them up, there is no way I will stop going to Hockey Sushi.

I urge any Sushi glutton to consider the other reviews out there about Hockey sushi and remember that when you seat yourself down amoung a crowded room of starving patrons, demand ‘all you can eat” and complain about the slow service you have to remind yourselves how much running around the servers must do. You order 20-30 items at once, require water or tea upon sit down, and gawk at food passing by. If the food happens to come 10 minutes after ordering (which to that end I have never had to wait more than 10 minutes) it isnt much to ask of you to be patient. Last but not least, we live in land. Food may be frozen from time to time, but all you have to do is tell someone and I am sure that at Hockey sushi they would replace it emmediately.

Hockey Sushi on Urbanspoon

The Cheshire Cat Pub

I went to the cheshire pub one afternoon with work – one of our co-workers was moving on to medschool so we all got together to send her farewell. I was new to Kanata so as we were driving it felt like we were visiting highway exits way past my comfort zone, but sure enough it was closer to work than I expected.

It was in the middle of the winter so parking was a little cluttered, to the side of the building. As we walked in there was an antique phone booth perched in the main entrance – a preview of an old traditional pub. We made our way upstairs within this quaint little pub and were treated to a “private” area just for us. The actuality is that we filled the entire second floor so no other patrons could fit up there. But all the better for us.

The menu is full of traditional english pub goodies such as the ploughman’s lunch, welsh rarebit, and bangers and mash; and I do believe they are all done right. No worries, if these are unfamiliar to you, there are tons of other items on the menu. Portions are good and items quite tasty. What you’ll feel here is a low key, back-to-basics pub that is great for an evening beer, a quiet lunch, or a summer time patio. It has been a while since I have been back, but yes, I am definitely looking forward to revisiting. Especially since the website is advertising renovations. Hopefully it still has the pub-next-door feel to it.

The Cheshire Cat Pub on Urbanspoon

Tomaso

I was blown away by this place. The restaurant is very small but so delicious. They have a unique setup where one cook/server/cashier takes the order once you get in, and you dont have to pay until after you have eaten. But the neat part is that the different pizzas are listen on a chalkboard along the bulkhead above. They serve pizzas and a few pastas – each one so fresh and flavourful.

The pizzas are square thin crust made to order; either individual or large pizzas; eat in or take out. The interior is not fancy but the food sells itself. Each combination is unique and bursting with flavour. Once I ordered the chicken curry penne…oh man I crave this so often now. I havent had a chance to go back yet after my second visit but I am looking for any excuse at this point. Prices are very reasonable (approx $9 for a personal pizza) and very quick.

Tomaso on Urbanspoon