Think Global, Eat Local: Where to get the best rice dishes from around the world.
At Giovanni’s, risotto is no starchy backdrop; it’s the main show. Grains of rice are cooked slowly in broth, one ladleful at a time. Onions, parmesan, and the imagination of the chef provide the rest of the flavouring. On our most recent visit, some three kinds of risottos graced the menu: seafood, mushroom, and vegetable. $28-$35. 362 Preston St., 613-234-3156, www.giovannis-restaurant.com. – AC
Such civilized morsels — A’Roma Meze makes a version served hot. Grape leaves are packed with halal beef and a bit of rice, Greek-style. The little darlings are then napped with pale avoglemono (lemon cream). The taste of dill emerges. $9. A’Roma Meze, 239 Nepean St., 613-232-1377; 1335 Wellington St. W., 613-722-4508. www.aromameze.com. – CD
Dosa is India’s version of the crepe — made with fermented rice flour and urad dahl. Typically, Coconut Lagoon fills their dosa with a mound of gently curried potatoes, then folds them into one huge triangle. Add coconut chutney, tamarind-chili sauce, and spicy lentil soup (sambar) to bring on the liveliness. $12.95. Coconut Lagoon, 853 St. Laurent Blvd., 613-742-4444, www.coconutlagoon.ca. – CD
Popular in Latin America, Spain, and parts of California, horchata (or orxata) is a cold milky drink made from grains such as rice and barley, with variations including sesame seeds or almonds. Ahora’s version is made in-house from basic ingredients: milk, rice, ground cinnamon, and tons of sugar. Served over ice for there or to go. $2.25. Ahora, 307 Dalhousie St., 613-562-2081, www.ahora.ca. – RS
Sliced Fish Congee
Congee, a thick rice soup, must be China’s ultimate comfort food. Must be the long process of simmering the chicken stock that makes it. Jo Moon Ting’s congee with sole is a white on white triumph. $5.99/small; $11.99/large. 832 Somerset St. W., 613-237-8887. – CD
This classic Spanish dish, named after the shallow round pan it is cooked in, has the rice flavoured with a heady mix of tomato, peppers, garlic, onion, saffron, olive oil, and broth — often seafood-based. El Meson offers a mixed paella and tops the rice with mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, chicken, and chorizo. For $38, you get paella, appetizer, dessert, and coffee. 94 Beechwood Ave., 613-744-8484, www.elmeson.ca. – AC