Was recommended to visit a newish Mexican place for lunch on Friday. Was told it was just the left of the Metro supermarket in New Edinburgh. With a coworker we set off to find it. To the east of Metro on Beechwood Avenue there was a pet food store. Hmmm... that can't be it. We strolled down Loyer Street that runs down the east side of the Metro store into the residential area. On the corner of Loyer & Barrette Streets is Mitla (62 Barrette Street, Ottawa) a small Mexican restaurant situated in a house that has been converted into a kitchen with a few tables in the front.
We entered and were welcomed by one of three ladies behind the counter. The other two were busy preparing the days meals. The menu changes periodically to reflect what is in season. Weekly specials are found on Mitla's Facebook page.
The lady at the counter went through the menu explaining each option and what makes each menu item interesting.
I settled on one of the lunch specials along with a drink special.
The Order: Quesadillas with Chick Pea Salad and a Cantaloupe Water.
We sat down at one of the tables and waited about five minutes for our orders to be prepared. The food was served to us directly at the table with the lady who originally greeted us ensure we had napkins and cutlery. This was interesting considering optically the layout looked like more of a lunch counter where you serve yourself. Service was definitely not lacking.
Portion wise the food at first blush appeared scant. For thirteen dollars and change including taxes it looked a little lacking in terms of quantity.
Taste wise though, the lack of quantity was not an issue. Fresh ingredients throughout carefully prepared made up for the lack of quantity.
The first of three Quesadillas I enjoyed had black bean sauce. I added some of the chickpea salad. The bean sauce was creamy and complimented the chickpeas I added.
The second and third of the Quesadillas had some kind of cheese inside. What kind? I'm not sure as I forgot to inquire. Be careful of one of these two Quesadillas, buried in one of them was a hot pepper. Good thing I caught this before eating it as it would have knocked my socks off.
The chickpea salad was also delicious. Made with chickpeas, a few diced tomatoes and other vegetables it was quite interesting.
The whole meal was washed down with Cantaloupe Water. The server explained that a lot of Oaxacan cuisine cooking from Mexico is based on what the local farmers bring to market. Thus, recipes change throughout the year as different fruits and vegetables come in and out of season. Cantaloupe was considered in season and thus blended and added to water to present an interesting refreshing drink. Worth a try.
Overall, Mitla is an interesting place to grab a delicious lunch. Don't expect vast quantities of food, but do expect quality food made by local cooks. While we were at their location a couple of people came in to get take out orders. With a revolving menu, patient staff with real interest in their food and cozy spot Mitla is a hidden gem of a lunch spot.
Wes Craven, Dead at 76 (Toronto Mike)
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