There are a few great restaurants in Ottawa that I'd like to tell you about. Unfortunately there are no photos. I didn't have Lucy's camera on me and my cell phone's camera is terrible. I'll share more details about these places once I get some photos.
In any case, the first restaurant I'd like to tell you about is a pho place called the Authentic Vietnamese Pho House. It's located in the Greenbank Hunt Club Center where you can find establishments like Tim Hortons, Subway, Metro, and the M&M Meat Shop. The pho house is two doors beside Tim Hortons.
The couple of times that I visited the small pho house, I noticed that they had a lot of loyal customers that came in to get their "regular" order. That's always a great sign for a business. The pho tasted good to me. The soup was hot and fragrant with spices, the thin rice noodles didn't break up easily, and the herbs and bean sprouts looked fresh. It's now my go-to pho place whenever I feel too lazy to make it at home.
The second restaurant that I've discovered is called Kim's Restaurant. Located on Carling Avenue a couple of blocks away from the Canadian Tire and 1000 Island Sushi, the quiet restaurant sits beside a garage and gas station with a drive-thru Tim Hortons. I read on Urbanspoon that it Kim's Restaurant was actually called KIM Vietnamese Cuisine. The signage and business name had apparently changed since then.
For my first meal in the restaurant, I skimmed through the menu and decided I'd go with a bowl of pho and an order of shrimp balls. The pho was bland and the noodles broke apart really easily. It was very disappointing. However, the shrimp balls were amazing! The bouncy balls of shrimp was a great rendition that rivals some dim sum places in Ottawa. I briefly talked to the owner and left disappointed with my meal.
After my meal, I kept thinking about those shrimp balls and the restaurant. How could those be so tasty and yet the pho tasted so bland? Maybe it's a situation like Koi Asia (where the owners bought out and absorbed Pho Mi 108). Maybe I just have to stick to the Chinese options.
I gave the restaurant a second chance and went back for their rice noodles with chicken. And to be safe, I got another order of the shrimp balls so that I wouldn't starve if the noodles were lackluster. Just covering my bases. Anyway, the roar of the fire/fan from the kitchen bellowed as I was waiting for my food. It was a good sign. Hopefully those were my noodles being cooked on that high heat. A few minutes later, a piping hot plate of rice noodles with chicken was in front of me. The smokey aromas were so enticing. The flavours of the sauce was spot on with a bit of smokiness. Amazing! I finally found a place in Ottawa that made awesome noodles with wok hei. I returned a few times since then to see if the quality was consistent and I'm happy to announce that their noodles are legit.
The third place I'd like to share is a place that Lucy and I have been keeping a secret for over two years now. Cozmos Souvlaki serves generous portions of delicious greek food. Located across the police station and behind the Tim Hortons (Greenbank Hunt Club Center location), the tiny restaurant keeps their customers very happy. Though it's a bit pricey, Cozmos Souvlaki is a gem.
Whether you find yourself near the restaurants or you're looking to try a new place, give those restaurants a try.