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.
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Food Frenz, 275 Laurier Ave. East.
The convenience store in the new student residence on Laurier has more than cereal and soft drinks to offer. Shiny new ovens at the back of the store are turning out delicious manakeesh (Lebanese flatbreads) with cheese, za’atar vegetable and meat toppings. Some of them are folded over and sprinkled with sesame seeds for a compact snack. At $2.50-$3.99 each, they make a delicious and inexpensive lunch. Food Frenz also stocks a tempting array of prepared foods from local producers Rinag (Indian entrees, naan, and samosas) and Njaim (hummus, falafel and other Lebanese offerings), and home baking from the proprietor’s mother. Keep them in mind when you’re in a hurry for dinner!
Mergi Shop, 358 Rideau St.
Beyond the cosmetics and gifts section at the front of this little store, with its Golden Caviar vitalizing face masks and its cute cell phone cases, there is an interesting aisle of packaged food. If you’re fresh home from teaching ESL in Korea or Japan and are missing a favourite treat, soft drink, or instant ramen soup, it would be worth checking out the offerings here. And if Asian snacks are unexplored territory for you, drop in to have a look around—from mango shortcake to yam chips, you’ll probably find something that piques your curiosity.
RamaKrishna, 417 Rideau St.
Indian food fans rejoice! The Sitar may be gone, but there are still plenty of fabulous flavours to be had at its old premises. With a buffet lunch every day and a dinner buffet on Sunday, it’s an easy place to enjoy a hearty meal. The regular menu is also varied and interesting, service is friendly and enthusiastic, and there are lots of great choices for vegetarians.
Safi Fine Foods, 322 Somerset St. East.
Word has it that the building at Somerset and Blackburn which once housed Ayoub’s has been sold, and that sometime in the new year the new proprietors will be opening a Chinese restaurant in place of the current convenience store. February will be your last month to drop in to buy some spices, visit with Mohamed and snack on his tasty samosas and date-filled cookies.
Working Title Kitchen and Café, 10 Blackburn Ave. (enter through the red doors on Laurier near Chapel)
Working Title’s patio is closed for the winter after a splendid first season, but the hours that were put in place over the summer will carry on. The café is open from 8-4 every day for hearty sandwiches, soup and salad and those fabulous cookies. From 4-10 p.m. on weekdays, look for cocktails, small plates and a dinner menu. And on Sundays, brunch is served from 10-3.