Comfort food: Mom’s Lentil Soup
There are a lot of Lebanese restaurants in Ottawa, but Naji’s is a cut above the rest. Nestled into a charming spot in the Glebe (made temporarily less charming by the construction), this restaurant has delicious food and a bistro setting worthy of your next dinner date.
Exposed brick and a lofty tin ceiling give Naji’s a classy feel. The servers here are both attentive and pleasant, while the menu features all the Lebanese food you’ve come to know and love, along with a few dishes you may not have had the chance to try before.
I began my meal with a simple bowl of soup, which was described on the menu as “Mom’s lentil soup.” It was a comforting bowl of tender, creamy lentils that was served with a dish of crispy pita chips and a lemon wedge. This soup lived up to its menu description with a wonderful homemade taste reminiscent of something you would expect a loving Mom to make.
The baba ghanoush appetizer was also terrific. The eggplant dip had a silky texture and a good depth of flavour. It arrived with a small stack of fresh pita triangles for dipping and was garnished with pickled turnip and black olives.
For the main, my date enjoyed the baked kibbeh, which was a kind of Lebanese meatloaf made of ground beef and bulgur that is stuffed with onions and toasted pine nuts. The kibbeh was moist and flavourful, and accompanied by a delicious yogurt sauce and a simple tomato and lettuce salad dressed with a sharp vinaigrette. The maanik sausage wrap platter I’d ordered arrived with a heaping pile of fries and a shredded cabbage slaw with diced red pepper. The wrap was tasty enough with its Lebanese sausage, tomato, lettuce and shredded turnip filling. I washed it all down with some iced tea, a welcome relief on a hot summer day.
Though the construction out in front of the restaurant might keep you away, I urge you to give this place a try. Without the usual foot traffic, new businesses like this one need the community’s support. I’d highly recommend dining in or taking out a meal of meze to enjoy al fresco in a nearby park.
Naji’s Lebanese Restaurant and Takeout
753 Bank Street
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