A few weekends ago, a friend and I drove to Ottawa for a nice day trip. We headed straight to IKEA for some interior inspiration – for her new apartment, and for our too-small office space. It was wonderful, and I have my eye set on some vika alex desks and grundtal rails. We were starving and ate a quick meal of meatballs at their restaurant before blazing through the store.
Now, as much as i love IKEA swedish meatballs, I must admit that they don’t leave you full for very long. We consulted my trusty urbanspoon app (thank you iPhone!) and settled on Oz Kafe for our dinner plans. We had some time to stroll along Elgin Street (though it was more like puddle jumping…in the rain), have a quick drink at the Lieutenant’s Pump, then hop over to the restaurant for their dinner service that started at 6 pm.
Now let it be known that for the most part, Kelvin and my dining experiences in Ottawa have been hit and miss. Some of the restaurants we’ve tried have been pretty brutal, including this one place in the market. That being said, we have found a few gems (ZaZaZa Pizza in the Glebe and Murray Street Grill and Side Door in Byward Market). Oz Kafe is a place that I will definitely be bringing Kelvin to next time we are in town.
On Sundays, they have only their snacking menu, which is a selection of food from their regular menu, plus a few specials that they add in. My friend and I ordered four dishes to share, and it was an explosion of delicious flavour with some Korean influence. We loved their Oz Poutine, which was a really interesting twist on the regular poutine, using scalloped potatoes and old cheddar (we got it with the duck). We also ordered the Taipei corn (grilled, spiced, with crushed peanuts…delicious) and the Beef Tataki (seared beef with two different dressings, which was still nice, but the least impressionable of the four dishes). The heartiest of all was their “Seoul Food”, which I venture to guess is a staple in their menu. The Korean version of a Mexican taco, this dish utilized (butter?) lettuce leaves as a shell to wrap up juicy sirloin strips, pickled veggies and kimchi. Spicy paste optional.
What makes this place amazing is their value (all this for under $30 including tax and tip) and their ability to serve such delicious food without making you feel like you’ll have a heart attack. It’s clean, refreshing, and definitely a place I will visit again.