A summary of recent IMAGE restaurant reviews and food features, plus other advice from our contributors about where to find great food in and around Sandy Hill. Please send news of your recent Sandy Hill food discoveries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ariana Kabab House, 426 Rideau St. If you have hungry people to feed and a modest budget to do it with, you may find that the new Afghan grill at the former location of Links fits the bill. Generous platters of perfectly cooked rice and crisp salad are topped with a wide choice of meats and served with a little dish of qorma (a mild curry) and wedges of flatbread on the side. There are a few good vegetarian options as well, including sabzi, a mild but flavourful spinach dish.
Farm Boy, 50 Rideau St. OC Transpo commuters, mall shoppers and Market area dwellers are sure to be tempted by the “grab and go” options from the hot bar, artisan pizza, stir fry and sushi stations at the specialty grocer now located on the ground floor of the Rideau Centre, in the space once occupied by the food court.
Farm Boy is well known for its fresh produce, butcher quality meats and artisan cheese, as well as natural, organic and locally sourced foods. It also features its own line of products and Farm Boy Kitchen meals that are made from scratch without additives or preservatives. The broccoli kale, and split pea and ham soups are both worth trying. A few other recommendations include “Rule the Roost” chicken sausages (1 of 16 varieties available that are all free of fillers and MSG), a pleasantly tart Lemon Garlic salad dressing which doubles nicely as a marinade, and the fresh salsa and blue corn chips.
Food Mood, 178B Rideau St. This whimsical place with a takeout counter and three tiny tables has both traditional Korean dishes such as bulgogi and bibimbap, and original creations such as K-bites, a sort of cabbage roll-sushi hybrid topped with meltingly succulent morsels of pork belly (or smoked tofu for the vegans in the crowd). The service is friendly and the food is fast and delicious.
Ghandhi’s Village, 113 Mann Ave. Sandy Hill’s own source of delicious dosai and other South Indian delicacies has made it through its first winter. Go soon, and celebrate spring with some crispy vada (lentil fritters) or a scrumptious curry. Service can be uneven, so bring a book and prepare to settle in if necessary—the meal will be worth it.
Sugar Marmalade, 180 Rideau St. There’s an astounding variety of desserts at this Hong Kong-style restaurant, many of them laden with mangos and other colourful fruit. Drop by just for the fun of leafing through the many pages of elaborate concoctions and settling on something that may be a totally new experience, like Durian Roll Supreme or Fresh Mango with Black Grass Jelly.
Uji Café, 215 Rideau, This Japanese-style café is a soothing place for a latte and a simple sweet; they offer tarts, cheesecake and rolled and layered cakes, each in a few flavours such as chocolate, mango, matcha (ground green tea) or cream. The matcha latte is a beautiful shade of green with swirls of foamed milk, and is a pleasing match for the striped green upholstery of the cafe’s banquettes. Uji Café also offers meals such as noodle bowls with Japanese curry or tonkatsu, a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet. There are some burger selections which also feature the appealingly crisp cutlets on a bun with shredded cabbage and various sauces.