The Best Restaurants in Downtown Ottawa to Warm Your Date’s Heart
So you’ve got a date—congrats! But with the snow and cold of winter finally settling into the area, you might want to be sure that if you brave the elements in search of restaurants in downtown Ottawa, the meal will not only be warm, but hearty and perhaps even a little on the spicy side. An Indian restaurant is the perfect place to go to keep the cold at bay. While you heat things up on the dinner table, the cold outside will seem to melt away as though belonging to some far-off place.
But once you arrive, what should you order? Here are some ideas:
A dish from the Kashmir region of India, rogan josh is sometimes translated to mean “red passion”—if that’s not a good sign, I don’t know what is! It’s a curried lamb dish with a deep red shade and an intricate blend of aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and Kashmiri chilies. The result is a dish with a distinctively playful flavour that balances sweet aromas with spicy heat.
In Indian restaurants around the world, jhalfrezi is one of the most popular dishes to ever come out of the diverse and rich culture of the Indian subcontinent. While its history is somewhat elusive (it dates back to the British Raj, that much is certain) its flavour is anything but. Unlike the sweet spice of rogan josh, jhalfrezi derives its flavour from green chilies, making it incredibly spicy—perfect for that date who loves a spicy dish (for additional points, impress them by trying a bite without crying!).
Here’s a situation many people have found themselves in—you have a date with someone who follows a very different diet than you do. You don’t quite yet trust yourself enough to make a delicious vegetarian or vegan dish on your own, and it’s hard to know which vegetarian restaurants in downtown Ottawa are the best. Fortunately, Indian cuisine has plenty of delicious vegetarian options that are as delicious as they are healthy. From chickpea and eggplant tamarind curry to mushroom bhaji, vegetable samber, dhansak, and the ever-popular vegetable samosa, the whole range of Indian flavour is available—meat-free!
What is a successful date without a dessert—especially one to share between you? At most restaurants in downtown Ottawa this means ice cream, cheesecake, apple pie, or any of a number of classic western desserts. But India has its own delicious treats, such as ras malai. This dish is considered similar to cheesecake, made of a creamy blend of cheese and spiced with nutmeg and cardamom, then garnished with pistachio. Gulab jamun is another sweet after-dinner treat made of fried buttermilk dough with a sweet blend of cardamom, saffron, and kewra, traditionally eaten at Eid or Diwali celebrations.
When you take your date to an Indian restaurant this winter—or at any time of year—they’ll definitely come back for seconds!