Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Green Door Restaurant, Ottawa ON

My mom lives in Ottawa, a nice, dull 2 hour drive from Montreal. I don't get out that way to visit often, but when I do, we always try and go to the Green Door restaurant on Main street.

Their premise is simple: a cafeteria-style restaurant that offers a wide variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten/lactose-free items, including desserts. Everything is labeled clearly so even B, who is lactose-intolerant, can confidently load up his plate without having to take any lactaid. The one drawback is that they charge you by weight for each plate, and it's easy to get carried away ;)

Photo credit: The Green Door restaurant

It is not fancy dining by any stretch of the imagination. The dining area is simple but spacious and has a homey feel to it; however be prepared to get jostled a bit if you go when it's busy, as there isn't a lot of room leftover when there is a line-up. The food is likewise simple and homey, and extremely satisfying. They have a soup and quiche of the day always on offer, as well as a variety of stews, stir-fries and noodle dishes such as the veggie lasagna. There is also a cold salad bar with prepared bean and veggie dishes, and of course a staggering dessert bar. I'm a big fan of the tofu stir-fry and my mom always makes a bee line for the potato and kale dish. In fact, it was the potato kale that prompted me to purchase their cookbook on one of our first visits. I've attempted a number of the recipes and all of them came out extremely tasty, though not all have made it into regular rotation at our house. By far my favorite dish of theirs is the raspberry pie I posted about a few weeks back.

I recommend a visit to the Green Door for vegetarians and omnivores alike. The food is tasty and wholesome... and it reminds you that veggie/vegan cooking goes beyond green salad and sprouts. Whether its a humid summer night or a gray, rainy afternoon, I leave there feeling a little bit happier. If you're craving a big steak, this isn't the place to go, naturally, but for those of us stuck in a cooking rut, it's a great place to go for inspiration. We get used to cooking the same thing week after week, and since I can't pop down there for a meal on a whim, I'll often flip through the cookbook for ideas when preparing my grocery list. It's easy to forget how good broccoli is in a stir-fry or how tasty spinach can be when done right.

So if you live in the area or just passing through, I highly recommend a visit. Go with friends or even just a good book, load up a plate (go on, try a little bit of everything) and grab yourself a spot by the window. Relax and allow yourself to simply enjoy a bit of good food. It will lift your spirits, I promise :)

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