Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen and Bar

18B York Street, Ottawa, ON

You quite literally have to enter the side door to get into Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen + Bar.  Pretty cheeky. Once inside it’s rather expansive. An open-air patio this way to your left, a groovy bar thataway to your right and a mutli-level restaurant straightaway.Consistently noted as one of Ottawa’s finest eateries, Sidedoor is an Asian-fusion restaurant celebrated for two very distinct dishes that are seldom associated with Asia or with fancy-pants dining: tacos and donuts. Although, as we were about to discover, these two dishes have been cleverly brought to inspired levels.It’s essential to remember that the food at Sidedoor is tapas-style, is meant for sharing and is portioned accordingly. The tacos are quite mini, actually. Two bitefulls and it’s over. But it’s not always about how big things are. In this case, the emphasis is on flavour. We sampled the spicy beef, Korean pulled-pork and the Bajan crispy fish tacos. Arranged on soft corn tortillas, they are at once flavourful, delicious, tender, juicy, messy, sinful, dreamy and triumphant. Our personal favourite was the spicy beef tacos with just enough heat and a rightful amount of cool radish and avocado toppings.

Next up, we went for the Coconut-poached halibut. The buttery and tender fish was topped with mango, Thai basil and fresh chili giving every bite an elegant and complex mix of fresh, spicy and sweet.

Finally dessert time had arrived. I’ve never had donuts at a sit-down restaurant, but I was ready. Bring on the white chocolate mint and the white chocolate with cranberry mini donuts. Served pipping hot, they were light and airy with a sweet thin glaze. Easy to eat and share, they were very much worth the wait. I can see myself becoming obsessionally passionate about these swoon-worthy creations.

One thing I observed as the restaurant passed from buzzy happy hour to more serious dinner service, the space retained an almost serene atmosphere, a calmness that can only be described as a pleasure to the senses. We were able to have a conversation without resorting to hollering at each other. Very refreshing.

As for the food, it belongs in rarefied circles. Sidedoor’s chef Jonathan Korecki has been able to elevate the lowly donut and taco and make them so good that they transcend mere adjectives. Having now dined there, regular appearance on the “best-of-the-best lists” come as no surprise.  Consider this food blogger’s taste buds amazed. My dreams are now occupied with tacos and donuts!

Sidedoor

Korean pulled-pork taco

Korean pulled-pork taco

Spicy beef taco

Spicy beef taco

Spicy prawn taco

Spicy prawn taco

Green papaya salad

Green papaya salad

Crunchy meatball

Crunchy meatball

Duck leg confit w/ red apple curry, crispy shallots and mint

Duck leg confit w/ red apple curry, crispy shallots and mint

Coconut-poached halibut

Coconut-poached halibut

White chocolate mint donuts

White chocolate mint donuts

White chocolate cranberry donut

White chocolate cranberry donut

Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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