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 the 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:
- Blue Nile (707 Gladstone St.)
- Chez Lucien (137 Murray St.)
- Kuidaore Izakaya (420 Preston St.)
- The Manx Pub (370 Elgin St.)
Lives in: Centretown West/Little Italy
Day Job: PhD Candidate, Bureaucrat, Arctic enthusiast
With the ramen craze that has reached Ottawa in the last decade, it’s worth checking out the hidden gem that is Kuidaore Izakaya on Preston Street. They have an extensive menu that offers not just ramen, but also sushi, Japanese small-plate tapas, traditional rice dishes like tonkatsu, desserts, and probably the widest selection of Japanese whisky (my favourite!) in this part of the city. My go-to dishes are the karaage fried chicken and the spicy tan tan ramen. There are lots of customizable options, including tofu noodles for those looking for slightly less carb-heavy options, vegetarian options, and an option to custom-build the dream bowl of ramen you happen to be craving in that instant.
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As an eat-in dining place (when we are not in pandemic times), Kuidaore is a whole experience in itself. Izakayas are meant to be a fun place to enjoy food and drink, kind of like a Japanese-style pub, and the décor perfectly sets up this whimsical atmosphere, with its bright Japanese animated graphics on the walls and even a bright cherry blossom tree by the bar. The owner calls everyone “friend” (“how are we doing, friends?”), making us feel like we are all indeed friends here in this cozy little spot. When dining-in options open up again, order a round of sake bomb cocktails for you and your friends, just for the sheer entertainment. This involves shot glasses of sake precariously balanced on spoons over glasses of beer. The owner will carefully bring these out to you, and then have everyone do a cheer that involves raucously banging the table so that the vibrations cause the sake to fall into the beer.
I’m very lucky to have this izakaya as my local, and can’t wait to go back once we’re allowed to dine in again. We’ve been ordering takeout from Kuidaore nearly on a weekly basis, and sometimes the owner sends along a cute handwritten note, thanking us, his friends, for our loyalty.
Lives in: Hintonburg
Day Job: Public Servant (and Apt613 co-founder!)
Vegetarians in the city probably already know what’s up, but Ethiopian food hits the spot every time. While I am not vegetarian, I’ve spent some time in Addis Ababa and love to get some Ethiopian food from time to time. Blue Nile on Gladstone Ave has been our family’s go-to. A veggie combination platter will easily fill you up. The various wots or stews—lentils, chickpeas, green beans—offer different heat levels to mix it up. As a non-vegetarian, I typically like to add to my order the doro wot (chicken that comes with boiled egg) or tibbs, strips of tender beef that are sautéed with homemade awaze sauce, peppers, onions, and herbs. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you might want to try kitffo. Think of freshly minced ground beef with herbed butter and mitmita spice. It’s traditionally served raw, but I’ve always asked for it partially cooked. If you like steak tartare, you might like this too. The dishes will always come with injera—a sourdough-type flat and spongy bread made with teff, an ancient grain. I’d recommend you ask for a little extra from owner Getu just to soak up the various sauces.
Lives in: The Glebe
Day job: Not a cat
Actual day job: Policy analyst
I’ve been focusing my takeout on preserving the places I love. I can’t imagine Ottawa without The Manx. The only thing about Chez Lucien I would change is their jukebox. That might be a controversial opinion, but let me distract you with these four little words: “half fries, half salad.” These Ottawa institutions have to be there when the world starts up again. I may have been uncomfortably full after both of these meals, but I have no regrets.
I’m pretty sure I’ve had dreams about The Manx’s lamb wrap. They make one of their classic dishes as good as always with a great takeout deal – two sandwiches with sides and two tall cans for $40 (!!) The salad is a beauty, with spiralized root veggies and fluffy greens. The fries are chunky – and each order has at least one full potato. The lamb wrap was decent as always, and served with a side of sour cream. You cannot go wrong. My Scottish side has to share that it’s a tiny bit less expensive to get a DIY kit from the Burrow Shop. Though I have to tell you, I think my favourite part was picking up my takeout and stepping inside The Manx. I had flashbacks of Rémi Royale and crowded basements, and the tears seasoned my food perfectly. Oh The Manx, I miss you. We’ll be back.
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Chez Lucien is probably my favourite bar in the ByWard. They offer curbside pickup, which is always a plus! We didn’t even have to leave our vehicle. Their burgers are legendary and they definitely hold up inside your home. I went for the classic Chez Lucien burger. Their salad is really beautiful and tasty – I highly recommend it. I’m not sure how it happened, but I ended up with twice as many of the shoestring fries as my partner. Spoiler alert: I didn’t share. Note to folks ordering together to check that before you start eating. Also note: Chez Lucien is 20% more expensive if you order on Uber Eats, so drive yourself out there if possible and cut out the middle man.