It’s been just over a year since I returned to Ottawa from living in Toronto. I grew up in Kanata, and coming home after a six year journey in the big city has been quite an experience. Ottawa has grown so much since I left that I hardly recognize it. Where there were open fields there are now communities, facilities and shops. New homes have popped up around the borders of the city, and my home town of Kanata has expanded beyond what I’d ever imagined when growing up here.
Living in Toronto was exciting and I won’t deny that I miss the hustle and bustle, the independent shops and the sheer variety of cultures. I’m a foodie and a bargain hunter and I have struggled in Ottawa to find some of the things I fell in love with in Toronto; the $4 gyros stuffed with fries and garlicky chicken from Pape street in Greektown, the $5 breakfast special at my local diner, with eggs and bacon piled high and unlimited coffee refills, the $6 pho on the corner of Spadina and Queen, the Bavarian bakery with $3/dozen pastries, just to name a few.
I want to know where the best bargains and delicacies in Ottawa can be found. Who has the best shawarma, the best dumplings, the best vegetarian food, and for the best price? Where can I find a good greasy all day breakfast for under $10? Where is your favourite Sushi spot or Ethiopian eatery? And most of all, where are the best independent establishments? I can’t live with myself if I end up getting my Greek fix at the food court. So far I’ve found Jadeland on Somerset has the most fantastic Lemon Chicken I’ve ever had, and the pizza in Ottawa is still my all-time favourite (I still love Gabriel’s and Milanos). I’m a huge fan of Vietnamese noodle soup, but haven’t yet decided which spot in Ottawa is the best. And where can I find affordable healthy choices, like a raw restaurant, or amazing salad spot?
Now that the sun is shining and spring has sprung with vigour, I’ll be out exploring this beautiful city that I am happy to once again call home. As I live life like a tourist in my home town, I hope you join me on my adventures in rediscovering Ottawa.