Doughnuts at Sidedoor
Tacos at Sidedoor
Ramen  at Sidedoor
Tacos at Sidedoor
Ramen  at Sidedoor
Ramen  at Sidedoor
Foods from Sidedoor

2011 Aug 4
Dinner at Sidedoor tonight was a mixed bag. Service was very friendly and attentive, and when we used a groupon (second groupon meal today LOL)it was accepted gladly. We were seated near the window (which was a bit dirty with gritty sills and cobwebs in the corner, hard to escape noticing them since the sill was at table height) Started things off with a ginger mojito which I l enjoyed with Rum, Shiso leaf, muddled mint and chunks of fresh ginger. This was not a hit with my partner, who pronounced it "gross".

We had been eager to try the fish tacos that everyone raved about and I thought they were only soso. the tortilla was good, fresh avocado and salsa verde were well presented, but the fried fish (salmon) had a very strong and unpleasant taste and the overall experience wasn't good.

Next up was the bbq pork taco. This was a big improvement on the fish version. A hoisin type bbq pork that had a nice balance of flavors with the vegetable garnishes.

Third was the pork belly, which was glazed (again with a hoisin type flavor)and served with a salad of shredded vegetables. It was very nicely cooked, but we were beginning to see a familiar pattern with a garnish of sliced radishes and parsley. Also the portions were too large to eat in one bite and the places everywhere are set with chopsticks, a fork and a spoon, so cutting the pork belly into bite sized pieces without a knife was a challenge. The pork belly was also a winner.

I had a "Son in Law" egg (pictured) that was a perfectly poached egg, tempura fried and served on some jasmine rice with a bit of hot chili sauce on top. It was my favorite dish of the night and I could have eaten another one. Partner did not enjoy this one though and felt the chili was too hot. wimp.

Next up was a dish of fresh sugar snap peas in white miso with parmesan. Peas with miso would have been very tasty, but the addition of parmesan was not a good idea. Neither one of us liked the combination and it would have been better without the parmesan. Also garnished with sliced radishes and parsley. We really did not enjoy this dish and did not finish it.

We ordered an asian style chicken dish and this is where service fell a bit through the cracks. We waited about 40 minutes in total for the chicken. Servers kept coming by telling us it would be only a few minutes more. at about the 25 minute point, they kindly brought us a complimentary order of chicken tacos. slices of chicken on a tortilla, again with avocado and salsa verde. These were unfortunately the weakest of the tacos, very bland and the toppings much the same including the ubiquitous radish slices.

The chicken arrived, and it was lovely. crispy brown skin, moist and flavorful meat, topped with a green onion and chili sauce. One of my favorite dishes of the evening.

The mini donuts served as dessert were quite amazing. "chef's donut of the day" was a mini jelly donut, served warm with a blackberry filling and dusted with sugar. Also had two warm raised donuts drenched in warm Olivia dark chocolate.

Some of the foods are messy and a bit hard to eat without knives. Tacos, chunks of chicken on the bone, pork belly, donuts dripping with blackberries and chocolate: finger bowls, or at least a few extra napkins, would have been a nice touch.

Also there was not any description given of any of the foods on the menu. When you see something like "chicken chow chow taco" on the menu, it would be nice to have some sort of written description as to what exactly that means. We did have to ask about a few items, but with so many things on the menu, we didn't want to ask about every single thing, so were left wondering.

Total bill (without groupon and remembering that the chicken tacos were complimentary) was $94 including tax but not tip. Although some of the dishes were excellent, there were just as many losers tonight. I think I would go back for drinks and a few apps., but might not make a full dinner out of so many small plates.

2011 Jul 1
I took my lovely girlfriend to Sidedoor this afternoon for a beer and a light lunch. I have been wanting to try Sidedoor for a while now. This place is usually only open for dinner but they were offering a special Canada Day menu at lunch time.

Our experience was mixed. We thoroughly enjoyed the patio and for the most part the food was very good. Unfortunately, the service was horrible. Our server - the guy with the shaved head and braces was really intense - unfriendly, pretty much uninterested in our table and there seemed to be communication issues. He didn’t explain the interesting menu, nor was he around for us to inquire. At other times throughout our meal, different servers would check up on us - but we felt that there was a very pretentious attitude to Sidedoor.

For those of you who have seen "Date Night" with Steve Carrel and Tina Fay, we almost felt that Sidedoor was reminiscent of "Claw"

In all fairness though, our water was always full, and our meals came out within a reasonable time, at reasonable intervals, so in terms of demonstrable service - we did indeed receive service. We were just wondering how such a non-personable, unfriendly guy could get a job at such a trendy restaurant.

The food was quite good. I consider Sidedoor to be a restaurant that is aiming to blend tapas and dimsum together. We started off with the peppered calamari. We really enjoyed the fact that the calamari was not cut in rings and the head/tentacles were left in tact. The ‘flesh’ was tender and moist while the fried breading was crispy and flavorful.

2011 Jul 1
Our next plate was the ‘fries with a tasty sauce’. In retrospect, this was a naive order. Who do they think they are to charge 7 dollars for some normal french fries? Well, there are people like me who are willing to pay I suppose, lol. They were good fries which were accompanied by a seasoned mayo. I noticed the price when I was pa-rousing the menu, but I thought that there must be something special about them. Just a note, I don’t recommend getting these, try some other fun stuff off the menu.

2011 Jul 1
Our third dish was prawn dumplings. These were really nice and light. They were swimming in a sweet, Asian inspired sauce which was flavoured with some kind of spice I have never tasted before. Our server wasn’t around to enlighten us about the spice. Note: they give you an odd number of dumplings.

2011 Jul 1
After a rather long wait in between dish 3 and 4, our final snack came out. We ordered the Bajan fish tacos. These were the star of the afternoon! In fact, I would describe this ‘taco’ as the tastiest, most amazing ‘taco’ I have ever eaten. These mini soft tacos were made with an amazing homemade tortilla. The tacos were topped with a kind of savory, lime mayo, some kind of pickle, a slice of avocado, a slice of radish and some red cabbage. The tacos were accompanied by a very tasty lime-cilantro coleslaw. Very Tasty!

4 dishes, 2 beers (Creemore and Chambley) was $70 before tip. The food was really good, however it wasn’t good enough to make up for what I thought was poor service by everyone I encountered at the restaurant. I thought the tacos were phenomenal and I would easily come back to Sidedoor for the fish taco alone. Although the other dishes were nice, they were simply not worth the price (especially the 7 dollar fries).

Good albeit, expensive food...with plenty of room for improvement in terms of service.

2011 Jun 23
Visited Sidedoor recently twice. Once, during an event called Dishcrawl and based on that, decided to come back. Both times it was during the week at dinner time.

During Dishcrawl, we were offered the choice of a taco and they were absolutely wonderful. If, however you are not partial to spicy I would recommend mentioning this to the server as they have a great tomatillo chili with jalapenos as a topper on their tacos. I'm a huge fan of tomatillo! The tacos may appear small, but they are pretty filling.

The presentation of the food I ordered that Serpentine ordered as well (see below) looked much better than what he posted.

We ordered:

white tuna sashimi
green papaya salad
lamb taco
soy ginger shrimp taco
scallop sashimi
pork belly in master stock

It seems they did attempt to go from lightest to heaviest here (see post below). However, that would mean that they should have brought the tacos right before the pork. I for one, am glad they did not as the tacos are a star feature on their menu and in my opinion rightfully so.

We had a great waiter who convinced me to order the drink, Yuzu champagne, I wanted and I really liked it. It went well with everything we ordered. I could have had something stronger for the pork belly, but I was doing okay. I appreciated the fact that the waiter spoke up and gave us his input and talked about the food.

My companion has had pork belly before and was not really interested. However, once she tried it, she enjoyed it!

The only critique my companion mentioned was that after the first dish, everything seemed to come out too fast. However, I wondered whether it was intentional. Some dishes did get cold, but I kinda liked having everything there and being able to go back and forth, so that didn`t bother me as much.

I think I prefer tapas style to come out like that as opposed to a tasting menu where it comes out one at a time. To each their own of course.

What was really great was as we kept adding dishes to our plate, once we got near the end of each portion, the different flavors would merge and everything tasted great together. I know some folks don`t like mixing their food like that, but I love it!

We were definitely full with what we ordered!

I also really like the ambience. We sat in the front under the sky windows and were able to watch the rain fall on the windows. Good view above and around of the courtyard.

Sidedoor has a great happy hour and I`m quite anxious to go back and have a few drinks and order some tacos :)

The only confusing thing is that their website mentions the happy hour being 5-7 and we read somewhere else that it started at 4:30. Would be nice to have clarification on that.

2011 Jun 7
Visited Sidedoor with a couple of friends a few weeks back.

We had an overly talkative but attentive. He was clearly interested in the place doing well.

The menu has smallish size plates and we were encouraged to order tapas style. The food came out quickly, however all at once and in my opinion, in the wrong order. We had ordered three choices from the tacos selections, Chinese BBQ pork, lamb and spicy beef. These little tacos were creative, nicely presented and really tasty. They are about two-bites each and each order comes with two tacos. A nice little appetizer. Two taco plates came out and then our mains came out a few minutes later. We ordered sockeye salmon ceviche, scallops, Panang braised beef, sugar snap peas and jasmine rice.

At this point we were left wondering if our third taco order had been forgotten but we dug into the beef Panang nonetheless. This dish was not Panang, as the name suggests. The beef was nicely braised, soft and falling apart, however, the sauce had just a touch of Panang flavour and a spice level of nothing. I actually felt compelled to mention this to the server and he responded by saying that they would like to educate their customers about Panang and spice levels before going all out. I am not a huge spice seeker, but when I order Panang, I know exactly what I'm in for and love that flavour. The comment irked me... Give people the benefit of the doubt about knowing food and serve the dishes as they are meant to be.

Everyone had one small plate to place their food on and the plates were not changed out. This proved to be a bit problematic because we had the curry before the delicate ceviche and scallops (this is what I am referring to as the wrong order of presentation). This bothered everyone at the table.

The ceviche was very good, served with julienned apples which were very complementary, and ginger. The scallops were decent, but not my favourite. They were small, bay scallops.

We did end up getting our last order of tacos and they were like the first two - quite tasty.

Everyone split a very nice bottle of white wine, following the server's reccommendation. Unfortunately, the name of it escapes me but I will try to update this post with it. It was a perfect summery white.

We skipped dessert and went off to Pure Gelato :)

All in all, a good but not great experience. The service needs a bit more tweaking on the timing and attention to plate order. A constant flow of the small plates in a lightest to heaviest order would be ideal and the swapping out of used plates would also be nice.

Bills were about $100 for a couple.

I rate the visit a 7/10. The sort of place I would not seek to return to but wouldn't object if others wanted to try Sidedoor.

2011 Jun 4
Had a nice meal at Sidedoor last night. Mainly small plates, which I like. Eclectic, Pan-asian menu. The BBQ pork tacos and funky lamb chili tacos were both excellent--nice balance and contrast of flavours and textures. Seared scallops with XO sauce and lime leaf were excellent, though served at room temperature. Beef in lettuce was a self-wrap thing with a number of house-pickled vegetables and two great sauces. Really liked the baby bok choy with fried garlic--buttery, garlicky, brothy...

They feature donuts for dessert--very good. I found them just a wee tough, but still extremely tasty.

Wine list is modest (maybe 25 choices?), but nicely selected and offering some interesting bottles. No wines are under $45 though.

Service was a bit haphazard, but not unpleasant.

2011 Feb 28
FEEL MY SERPENTINE is a long time contributor to this site and has reviewed a number of restos on OF complete with food porn-;) (Click on his profile to see links to reviews and photos.)

A google search tells me that the Side Door resto is a new venture between Matt Carmichael and Jonathan Korechi of Eighteen and is now located where Foundation used to be. There was a soft opening last week. (Perhaps FEEL MY SERPENTINE's reviews and photos were taken then?) See the review in Ottawa Magazine:

2011 Feb 28
This thread has now entered...


*cue soundtrack*

Newer · Older


2019 Oct 31
Soft cinnamon sugar doughnuts.

Tacos 4


2019 Oct 31
The beef tacos are really good.

2014 Feb 28
I agree Camino does tacos better overall, and just marginally larger, but for the price at Happy Hour i have to say Side Door for tacos and
beverages is my go to. They always have 4 or 5 kinds going, running from at least good to outright great. Drink prices at either place are comparable.

Also, as much as i love Camino, you have a way better chance of getting a seat at Sidedoor, and they take reservations. If i can afford to risk an hour wait or arrive at 515 to secure a table, off to Camino i go, but otherwise Sidedoor gets my dollars.

But on topic, both are doing great tacos.

2014 Feb 26
If you're here for a meal then by all means get a pair of tacos as an appetizer. They're really quite good. But if you want excellent tacos, you should go to El Camino where the tacos are tastier, more generously garnished, individually orderable, and fifty cents cheaper. You're welcome. :-)

2014 Apr 12
I was hoping that the ramen here would be good but it's strictly average. I ordered the BBQ pork ramen.

The BBQ pork is truly the best part of the ramen. It's very fatty and flavourful. I savoured each bite of the pork. Unfortunately, the pork's flavour doesn't carry over to the bland broth. I had to add a lot of chili oil to add flavour to the broth. As for the shitake mushrooms, bok choy and poached egg, I didn't feel that they added anything to the ramen. In fact, I was very disappointed with the egg as it wasn't the soft boiled egg that is typically served with ramen. As for the noodles, it was nice that it was made in-house but nothing truly special jumped out about them.

A good ramen should have a good balance between the broth, noodles, and toppings. In this bowl, only the BBQ pork stood out. I might be back for the beef ramen but it'll be last on the list and only because not that many places in Ottawa currently serve ramen.

2014 Feb 26
I've been wanting to try the lunchtime ramen at Sidedoor for a long time, so a day off work to skate on the Rideau Canal with wifey was a perfect opportunity!

We enjoyed it but I think our expectations were maybe too high. This broth is not flavourful the way Hủ Tiếu is (nor does it claim to be--the comparison is mine only).

The fresh housemade noodles are delightfully toothsome and I fully endorse supporting restaurants that make this extra effort!

The rare beef with chili (left pic) was lean and enjoyable, especially after adding more chili oil from the ceramic jar conveniently placed on each table. The BBQ pork (right pic) was the star for me, with its crisp-fatty sticks of deliciousness, yet it was too rich for my wife's taste.

The poached egg was verry soft, meaning the yolk ran out and mixed homogeneously with the broth after poking it. This emphasized the broth's blandness and made us a little bit sad. Apparently (, ramen eggs are optimally soft-boiled and then marinated in soy sauce, leaving their yolks moist and jelly-like, definitely not runny.

Generous thin-sliced bok choy, green onions, and shiitake completed the bowl. The veggie content and presentation was excellent.

Definitely worth a lunch visit if you're a soup enthusiast. Just keep your broth expectations in check and focus on the meat and veg.

2013 Apr 30
Aisu: I wasn't saying that the instant stuff is any better or worse. It seems to be the go-to for broth even though a home-made one (dashi/chicken/pork) would be just as easy for some of these places.

2013 Apr 29
HonestTooth: There is nothing wrong with instant dashi, I use at home all the time.
But for the professional cooking, it is good to understand what is dashi. Dashi means stock. Use bonito flakes (katsuo bushi)or dried infant sardines (niboshi) all depends on what you cook. Dashi can be vegan (shojin) too, mede from Kombu kelp,shitake for example.

Sidedoor's ramen has good potential, but it was too salty. BBQ pork was good.
I personally love ramen soup made from torigara (chicken) stock and dried scallops. Lots umami comes out from dried scallops!!!

2013 Apr 28
Aisu: I find a lot of the finer places like Domus, Sidedoor, and the like all seem to use the (powdered?) dashi for broth in any Asian noodle dish. Interesting considering they have no problem making there own chicken/pork/beef/fish stocks and broths for everything else.

2013 Apr 19
I have never tried ramen in Ottawa, so I decided to try BBQ pork ramen at Sidedoor.

I asked what kind of soup stock they use. Chicken(torigara) or Pork(tonkotsu) stock are the most common for ramen, Sidedoor use dashi for their ramen.

Ramen looked nice. Looked like ramen, but didn't taste like ramen I had before.

Lots BBQ pork in ramen and they were tasty.

Noodle was okay, I prefer slightly chewy noodle for ramen.

Soup was way too salty.
Too much soy sauce.
I couldn't taste anything but salty soy sauce in the soup. No flavour, body or umami in the soup. It was just too salty.