Eating & Drinking

Ottawa’s 5 best bowls

Bowls are increasingly being seen as convenient, beautiful ways to eat healthy. And so for the third iteration of 101 Tastes, we scoured the city for the 5 best bowls.

1. Sardegna Superfood

The highlands of Sardegna (or Sardinia) are home to some of the longest-living men. One reason — besides their Cannonau wine — is a lean diet of whole wheat bread, beans, and vegetables. Meat is saved for Sundays and special occasions. And so Lollo Salads & Coffee named this nutrient-packed salad Sardegna Superfood. A tahini dressing gives it such luxury. But then Lollo’s thoughtful chef, Alejandra Rutherford, tucks whole leaves of mint and parsley into frilly-edged baby kale for hits of fresh flavour. Apples add brightness. Lollo’s salad is bursting with colour too: green (avocado), orange (sweet potatoes), and red (beets). Here’s to a long life! $14. Lollo Salads & Coffee60 George St.  CD

2. The Heat Wave

Poké is the new meal in a bowl — call it Hawaiian sushi deconstructed. Actually, the Japanese had their version all along: chirashizushi — rice with various ingredients scattered over top. The Heat Wave from Paradise Poké is made with raw Atlantic salmon mixed with sushi rice, brown rice, or zucchini noodles; cucumber; sesame seeds; and spicy mayo. Now add your toppings, a choice ranging from mangoes to radishes to pickled daikon. Splurge on avocado, seaweed salad, or tobiko (flying fish roe). Crunch can come from either crispy shallots or wasabi peas sprinkled on top. Fresh! Delish. $14.95. Paradise Poké134 Bank St.  CD

3. Little Nepal

After a stretch of eating rich foods, one craves a simple dahl chawal (lentils and rice). A good dahl actually revives the spirits. And don’t think of it as soup  — that’s a Western adaptation. Ever since Perfection-Satisfaction-Promise opened in 1996, chef/owner Prapti Jensen has kept this staple on the menu. Red lentils with mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and curry powder cooked with sautéed onions are nicely balanced and not spicy at all. Fresh spinach and coriander leaf brighten up the dish. Order with either basmati rice (gold-coloured with turmeric) or the nutty brown-red Bhutanese mix. $8.75. Perfection-Satisfaction-Promise167 Laurier Ave. E.  CD

4. Buddha Bowl

At Choux-Choux, diners can build their own bowl, choosing from a base of different greens (arugula or kale) and/or grains (barley or farro) and a rainbow of freshly chopped veggies and fruits (everything from tomatoes to grapes to pickles). Protein options include tempeh, tofu, eggs, or meat. Finally, top it off with a variety of crunchy bits (such as pepitas or hemp hearts) and one of their homemade vinaigrettes (try the lemon and fresh basil). Owner Gabbie Sexton says they don’t charge by weight but simply fill up your bowl; portions are generous. $9–$10.50 98, Choux-Choux, rue l’Hotel de Ville, Gatineau.  KS

5. Kyoto Bowl

First came the invasion of the bowl as a meal concept. It was quickly followed by the recognition that to differentiate itself, a bowl restaurateur better have a unique business proposition. At Oat Couture, that angle is oatmeal — and the decision to hire a well-respected chef to develop the menu. The hand of Ben Baird is recognizable in many of the sweet and savoury bowls on the menu, particularly the Kyoto Bowl, a riot of flavours and textures that has sticky-sweet beef brisket paired with spring onion, sweet cubes of pineapple, shiitake mushrooms, and crunchy peanuts and sesame seeds. Its oatmeal base makes for a nice break from the usual rice. $7 (small), $11 (medium), $14 (large). Oat Couture1154 Bank St. SB