Jane Porter on going veg in Ottawa

The Green Door's hot buffet

Jane Porter is a local sustainability practitioner. After a three year stint in Finland studying and working with sustainable startups, she’s jumped into the Ottawa scene face first to see what’s shaking, vibrant and green. You can find her at www.janeporter.ca.

If you’re on a low-to no meat diet, or just want to try something fabulously different from the carnivorous norm, Ottawa has some great options. This is certainly not a full list – just a few of my favourites.

Let’s start with The Green Door Restaurant in Old Ottawa East. (198 Main St.)

The Green Door is Ottawa’s oldest (and some would say best) vegetarian restaurant. All food is locally produced and whole – no preservatives, nothing processed, just delicious goodness. Although I’ve heard much about it, I went here for the first time a couple weeks ago with a friend from the Natural Step (a sustainability based non-profit in Ottawa).

Located in Old Ottawa East, between the Canal and the Rideau River, it is a little out of the way of my main walking areas in Ottawa. All the more reason to go and explore! St. Paul’s University is right across the street and I couldn’t get over how pretty the scene was.

The food is setup like a buffet and you pay by the weight. For under $10, I had a fantastic mix of hot and cold dishes, including goat cheese lasagna, baked squash, beans, tofu, guacamole, bok choy, eggplant salad, brussel sprouts, kale, etc.

Yeah, I’m not so good at coordinating food at a buffet – I’m one of those people who likes to try almost everything in very small amounts. But reader beware: $10 is on the low-end – if you eat a lot, pile high with the light greens my friend!

Next Stop: The Wild Oat (Glebe)

The Wild Oat is a bakery/meals-on-the-go/sit down restaurant. You’ll notice by the amazing smell as soon as you walk in the door. It’s quite the hangout for moms during the day. Tons of kids and babies running around. Maybe not for everyone, but I enjoyed the cozy casual atmosphere.

Although the sandwiches looked amazing, I went for the bowl of buffet style hot food for $6. Kinda weird that I added some lasagna to my soup but again, I like to try everything! I’ve heard that it’s sort of expensive but I have to disagree. I was full of hearty goodness for six bucks. Loved it.

Continuing West to The Table (West Wellington)

Considering I’ve only been back in Ottawa for a couple months or so, I’ve hit up these restaurants pretty quickly. I went to the The Table in West Wellington with another friend just last week after the Social Media Breakfast at GCTC (as a side, see Joe’s writeup on the social media scene in LTOttawa here in Ottawa).

Not as busy at the Green Door or the Wild Oat (or was that because I went at 2:30 p.m.?), but same style as the Green Door. A full hot and cold buffet of healthy, fresh, vegetarian options. Again, my meal was under 10 bucks and I had interesting dishes I had never heard of before.

At both the Table and the Green Door I got into wonderfully deep philosophical discussions about the fate of our world and what we can do about it.  Now, I don’t want to go as far as say that these   places stimulate this sort of debate, but it sure feels good to know that just by eating at these sort of places, I am doing my part in a way to make this a more sustainable Ottawa.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, these restaurants have great food at okay prices. Go out and explore Ottawa’s vegetarian restaurants!

Bon appetit!

The Green Door's cold buffet

Which vegetarian restaurants do you frequent?  Please share!

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