David Kawai is a very talented photographer living and working in the capital. If you’re looking for the best pho in Ottawa – he is the guy to ask, and apparently he is a bit of a meat pie expert as well…
The neon sign in the window says, “EAT FOR 1.25.” In truth, as far as I can tell, the cheapest pie on the menu is $1.50, and you’ll probably need at least two for anything more than a snack.
Also be warned, Aladdin Bakery and Convenience accepts only cash.
But, at around $4 for my regular order of one meat pie (with lemon and spice, always) and one spinach with cheese pie, you might not need more than pocket change.
There are two Aladdin Bakery locations: one is at 1020 St. Laurent Boulevard, and the other (my favourite and regular stop-in) is at 1801 Carling Avenue, a block east of Maitland Ave. across from the Pizza Pizza. Even with its obscure location, the lineups in the store and the traffic jams in the tiny parking lot are testament to the popularity, quality and value of the food.
Plus I’m telling you right now, it’s good!
Trust me, those who know about this place—and there are many—come back for more. And those who don’t yet know—there are also many—will thank me to pointing this place out.
If you’re looking for an authentic Lebanese taste, try the Zaatar pie. It’s cheap, simple and has no meat, but don’t judge it poorly by these qualities. There’s a reason the old regulars order this one again and again, and they don’t order it in English either. And a heads up—they pronounce it ‘zah-ter.’ Once you bite into the soft dough, and the blend of herbs, sesame seeds, salt and spices hits your tongue, you might just crave it every day.
Oh, and avoid going during the lunch hours of the adjacent Notre Dame High School unless you want to wait in line, all the while contemplating the mundane gossip teenagers so loudly discuss in public lineups. But personally, I find it quite entertaining.
At the very least, get there before 6:30 p.m. to be sure they are open and still have a good variety of pies available!
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