Foods from Veranda D'or Restaurant

2009 Jul 3
I can't believe that this place has received so little attention here on OttawaFoodies. Last night was my second night visiting with a friend, and it was just as exquisite as our first meal at Veranda D'Or.

We specifically chose this place initially, despite it being a little out of the way, because we both have severe chronic health conditions that are triggered by MSG; hence, we had both consigned ourselves to the fact that Chinese food was something that we were only likely to be able to enjoy were we to cook it ourselves. Thus, I was very excited when, on a whim, I called Veranda D'Or and found out that they're MSG free.

The interior of the restaurant is decent: not particularly fancy in any sense (tablecloths with clear plastic on top and paper place mats), but nice and soothingly lit and decorated.

Both times we went, we were the only diners eating in, and I must say that the service was superb. Last night, for example, our waitress patiently explained all the non-English-named items on the menu to us, and then when we expressed some dismay at the fact that the take-out menu only lists about half the items of the eat-in menu (we like to collect menus of places we visit and track what we eat so that we try new things each time we find a gem of a restaurant), the waitress surprised us by cheerfully presenting us with a hand-written copy of a list of the dishes not included on the take-out menu! I couldn't believe how incredibly sweet and thoughtful that was.

As for the food? I'm not an expert when it comes to Chinese, but everything was utterly superb - the type of meal that you spend the rest of the night talking about because it leaves you feeling so intensely satisfied that it's difficult to think of much else. I suspect there's quite a bit of authenticity in many of the offerings, too.

We began with the pot stickers, which were delicately seasoned and served with a deliciously spicy sauce.

For our entrees, we ordered spicy beef with pancakes, which was beyond divine: perfectly crispy strips of beef served in a hot sauce with shreds of vegetable. The flavours were exquisite, and this was easily my favourite dish I've had there so far. A word of warning: the waitress had mentioned to us that this dish is typically served on its own after appetizers and before entrees. We decided to throw caution to the wind and just get it along with our other entree. We should have listened to her: as the dish sat out, the beef progressed from crispy to crunchy. Still delicious, but not quite as texturally pleasing.

Our second main consisted of generous chunks of chicken breast meat in a soy-based sauce with shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots. It was mild, but most flavourful, and a delightful contrast from the heat of the other two dishes. Fantastic... I would definitely order this again in a heartbeat.

For dessert, we split two items. First, we had a thin, deep-fried pastry filled with red bean paste. Most of the time I find that Asian restaurants tend to be shy in their use of sugar in many desserts. Not so here: the red bean paste was perfectly sweetened without being cloying. The whole thing together was a perfect marriage of contrasting textures between the delightful crispness of the pastry and the soft richness of the adzuki beans.

Our second dessert consisted of candied banana fritters. While still tasty, this was probably the low point of our meal. I enjoyed them, but after the perfection of the first dessert, they were a bit of a disappointment. I would probably avoid them on my next visit and try something else instead.

Even though it's been less than 24 hours since we were there, I'm already craving my next visit! I really hope that perhaps I can convince some of you to try this out-of-the-way gem: their delicious food coupled with the lack of patrons on both our visits has me quite fearful as to the fate of this Ottawa restaurant-scene treasure.

Next time I'll be sure to take pictures.


2010 Jul 31
Veranda D'or is a hidden gem. In this small mall off Conroy Road this place really does an excellent lunch buffet. The price is really reasonable and the food quality is excellent. Though not quite as spicy as the menu items, I've enjoyed lunch there many times with the help of a little bit of hot sauce. Food is fresh and you've got about a dozen choices from the buffet.

-Ravi Shanghavi, Ottawa