As a denizen of and worker in Ottawa's downtown core, I have a fairly unique perspective on lunch, specifically finding the jewels in a crowded field (of course, there are probably hundreds of people who work in my area who feel that way). Now, logically, I assume that lunch is the meal most eaten and prepared outside the home. While many folks are assiduous with their use of lunchrooms and thermos bags, the sheer volume of people eating out at lunch, especially in the heart of Canada's public service district, is amazing. There are literally dozens of shops that exist and are open only to correspond with the lunch hour.
The problem is that a LOT of them are either chains like Subway or Tim Horton's or serve somewhat uninspired, albeit somewhat satisfactory, food. If you've ever eaten at the Esplanade Laurier food court, you might get my point (although the Greek place makes a kickass moussaka). So in this post I'm going to share some of my discoveries!
Note: The noontime feeding scenario has changed a bit since the advent of new food trucks and carts, as I've discussed in this post.
Bread and Sons
Yeah, yeah. You'd think that with all the props I give these guys, I'm on the payroll or something, but they really are one of the better purveyors of lunch time fare. Their pizza is very tasty, all vegetarian fare with toppings like fresh mushrooms, roast garlic, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, sliced fresh jalapeno and many, many more, with cheeses ranging from good 'ol mozzarella to ricotta to gouda to feta. They even offer a vegan pizza that uses kale instead of cheese! They do soup, but I've never partaken. They have a pretty taste range of salad as well, but the big selling point for me is the pizza and their sandwiches, specifically their Avocado Sandwich. It got voted best cheap sandwich in the city on one Web site and I'm a big fan. Avocado slices, red onion, cilantro, tomato, lettuce, sunflower seeds and a touch of balsamic vinegar all served on organic sourdough bread. It's about as fulfilling a sandwich as it gets in vegetarian circles.
|The King of veggie sammiches!|
The German Town Deli
|One of GovernmentTown's longest-serving noontime fixtures|
The latest offering for me was a Bavarian meatloaf sandwich "all-dressed" (meaning lettuce, tomato and mayo) for 3 bucks. Not too shabby considering Subway would be at least twice that much. All in all, the value for money is one of the main reasons I love this place.
|Not bad for 3 bucks...|
The Soup Guy at Le Muffin Plus
It's rare to find really amazing food offered in a mall food court, but that is exactly what happens every weekday at the World Exchange Centre at lunchtime. At a little sandwich counter, a gentleman named Claudio, better known as "The Soup Guy" whips up some of the most delicious and interesting soups this city, maybe even this world, has ever seen. Don't believe me? Well, I lay the gauntlet at your feet. In the few times I've been, I've had classics like gumbo and a cream of chicken variation, but it's the Soup Guy's inventiveness that really makes the food special. Just the other day he was serving up a roasted red pepper based soup with papaya, mango and pear. Crazypants!
|A Bowl of "Island Breeze"|
But the REAL masterpiece is his Philly Cheesesteak Soup. It tastes just like the sandwich, but in soup form. If you never believed a bowl of soup could be a meal unto itself, this will likely change your mind. Unfortunately, it's not always in the rotation, but keep an eye out for it!
Well, that's about it for this post on lunch. I'm sure like any good tale, it'll have a sequel.