In this weekly feature, Apt613 asks blog contributors and local figures about their takeout habits and highlights—to help you find new tasty treats to discover or revisit when you’re just OVER IT with making dinner. We want to hear about takeout you loved! Leave comments below and if you’d like to contribute to a future edition of Takeout Talk, email <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Editor’s note: Under the Ontario stay-at-home order, restaurants offering takeout and delivery are permitted to operate; please follow all recommended public health and safety protocols when picking up food or accepting delivery—and tip generously if you can. Check the hours of the restaurant prior to ordering as those offering alcohol must close by 8pm.
Highlights this week
- Bibi’s Middle Eastern Kitchen (143 Putman Ave)
- Lexington Smokehouse (344 Richmond Rd.)
- Mexigo Cabana food truck (corner of Bank and Walkley)
- Mr. B’s Osteria (2446 Bank St.)
- Toasty Arepas (51 Marier Ave)
Lives in: Vanier
Day job: Communications and Marketing Professional
The opening of Toasty Arepas coincided with the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, but that didn’t stop the small family-run business from establishing themselves as a go-to takeout favourite in the Vanier-Beechwood area.
If you’re like me and tend to crave comfort food, but prefer to try cuisines outside the typical North American staples, Toasty Arepas should be next on your takeout list. Their menu offers a variety of traditional Colombian dishes and specializes in arepas, a cornmeal patty served on its own, topped with cheese, or filled with meats such as slow-cooked pulled pork, chicken, or shredded beef. Because they use corn to prepare both their arepas and empanadas, Toasty Arepas offers an entirely gluten-free menu. I ordered from their vegetarian offerings: the cheese arepa, the choclo arepa—a sweet, denser version of the arepa stuffed with a bit of cheese (and also my favourite item on their menu), one cheese empanada and one veggie empanada, and sides of black beans and yuca fries with coriander sauce.
I ended up with leftovers and enjoyed a second serving for dinner. At $21 before taxes, this is an affordable takeout option, particularly since it fed me twice. While you can have it delivered through Uber Eats, I recommend you pick up your order if you’re able to. They stock a serious selection of delicious drinks, candy, and other goodies from Colombia and South America that you will definitely want to try. To top it all off, their takeout packaging is recyclable and well-organized. Nothing shifted during my 10-minute walk back home and, despite it being -23 with the wind chill, my order retained its warmth.
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We all know that Ottawa is the uncontested shawarma capital of Canada, and possibly even the world, but if you live in New Edinburgh, Vanier, Overbrook, or Manor Park, you know that your shawarma needs are underserved. So when I crave shawarma, but don’t necessarily want to head to Rideau Street, I order from Bibi’s Middle Eastern Kitchen at the corner of Beechwood and Putman. Their menu is modest but carefully curated. Instead of pita bread, their wraps are made with Saj, a thin, traditional flatbread with a very nice texture. A must-try are the Za’atar fries, and I oblige every time I go to Bibi’s.
This time, I also ordered the falafel bowl. It was light and fresh, and the falafels were perfectly cooked: crispy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside. At $16 before taxes for the falafel bowl and small fry (the small is easily large enough to feed two), Bibi’s doesn’t punch as much bang for your buck as a shawarma platter with all the fixings, but it offers a finer take-out experience while still being affordable. I also feel good about ordering from Bibi’s because of their compostable take-out packaging and because they support and buy from other small businesses. Plus I can take home a jar of Za’atar spice and other locally made goodies from their pantry shelf!
Lives in: Hintonburg
Day job: Freelance Digital Marketing Consultant
For my birthday last week, we wanted to indulge in some elevated takeout. One of my all-time favourite restaurants is Lexington Smokehouse so we decided to order from there. After browsing their mouth-watering menu and definitely not getting into any fights about what to order, I settled on the Fork and Knife Chicken ($20). The food arrived quickly, beautifully packaged and hot. My order had three (!) huge signature fried chicken pieces on top of a delicious biscuit with a mountain of creamy coleslaw. I got mac and cheese as my side, which complemented the sweetness in the fried chicken beautifully. It was truly decadent and luxurious fried chicken experience, plus the comfort of my couch made it even better. Highly recommend.
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Lives in: South Keys
Day job: Non-profit communications
A few great ones recently that aren’t downtown:
Mexigo Cabana food truck at Bank and Walkley — There’s a reason he makes guacamole for the Mexican Embassy (or at least he did before COVID-times). Everything is delicious, but if you’re feeling too cold for tacos or enchiladas, his chili is comforting and flavourful! But if tacos are your first love, they’re doing Taco Tuesdays and Thursdays until at least April 1.
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Mr. B’s Osteria is a fantastic Italian restaurant at Bank and Hunt Club and has been around for decades. They have an excellent system for online/phone ordering and touchless pickup at their back door. But the best thing is obviously their comforting and delicious food. My fave is the butternut squash ravioli! They also have market groceries and wine and beer for purchase.
Everyone at Apartment613 is perusing the comments for new suggestions! Leave us a comment with takeout picks from your hood, or share with friends using the #TakeoutTalk613 hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.