Ox Head Restaurant brings good-quality Vietnamese fare to Kanata’s suburban sprawl
Kanata’s restaurant scene still has a long way to go. Strip malls and big box stores tend to attract eateries of the franchised variety. Thankfully there are a number of smaller businesses that have begun to emerge in the area, bringing more variety to the mix. Ox Head Restaurant is just such a place. Situated amidst the sprawling Kanata Centrum, this Vietnamese eatery delivers some of the tastiest vermicelli outside of the downtown core.
The restaurant’s decor is fairly sparse. A red, yellow and white colour scheme acts to stimulate diners’ appetites and brings a cheerful note to the otherwise stark interior. A cluster of unframed inkjet prints of people holding up prized bass was simultaneously endearing and out of place on the wall.
Service here was incredibly fast on the evening I visited, making this place an ideal choice for a pre-movie dinner. With the city’s largest movie theatre just steps away, I suspect a lot of their clients are dining with a deadline in mind.
The meal began with a couple of tasty appetizers. The deep-fried wontons served with Ox Head hot sauce were incredibly crispy and filled with seasoned ground meat. The spring rolls that we ordered were crunchy on the outside and filled with more ground meat as well as slivers of mushrooms.
Drinks at the Ox Head are a must, as both the banana shake and the Vietnamese iced coffee proved to be delicious. The shake was smooth, creamy and fragrant with fresh bananas. The iced drip coffee arrived with two glasses. The first was filled with ice. The second held a layer of sweetened condensed milk below a tiny coffee press that dripped fresh brewed coffee right into the glass.
Our mains were generously sized and arrived very quickly after the appetizers. The vermicelli with grilled pork and shrimp paste on sugarcane was presented with all the usual fixings – matchsticks of raw carrots and cucumber, ribbons of fresh lettuce and a dusting of crushed peanuts, all over a mound of vermicelli noodles. The pork proved to be far better than the shrimp on sugarcane, which was too tough for my tastes. The do-it-yourself wrap platter with grilled pork, beef and shrimp was just right thanks to mounds of fresh veggies and plenty of fresh Thai basil.
Given that I’m a giant cinephile, I have no doubt I’ll be back at Ox Head again soon.
Ox Head Restaurant
790 Kanata Ave.
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