Ottawa: Art-is-In Bakery

I have been eating bread from Art-Is-In Bakery for as long as I’ve been frequenting farmers’ markets in Ottawa. The thought of a fresh loaf of Dynamite Dill was one of the reasons I was able to get up at 7 AM on a Saturday and bike a few kilometers in the cold to the middle of nowhere (yes, living the Canadian lifestyle to the max).

When I heard that they had decided to open a restaurant out of their bakery warehouse, I could only imagine how popular it would become. In fact, it is now the most talked about restaurant in Ottawa. 

It’s quite a testament to the incredible quality of their bread and pastries that they are able to draw a such a crowd to what is essentially an industrial hole at the bottom of a bridge. If you didn’t know about the restaurant before, you would surely have thought that your Google Maps app was acting up (or that your friends were playing a lame practical joke on you).

However, any doubt you may have will be immediately quashed upon walking into the warm and friendly space, with the pleasant smell of leavening dough, butter and sugar wafting past your face like a warm hug on a cold day.

They may be in an obscure location, but they are both high tech and organized. After taking your order on an iPad, you can continue on in the lineup, inevitably succumbing to one (or five) of the many delicious pastries that tease you from behind the glass display area. I imagine I had the same thought pattern as most other people in line:  “Ohh, I want an almond croissant! No wait, a buttermilk potato doughnut! Wait, what’s a Kouign-Amann?” The choices were torture. 

I ended up choosing a seasonal pumpkin cronut (a “croissant-doughnut”, a.k.a. the most ridiculously fattening food trend of 2013).
But more than just dough, they have a mouth-watering menu of breakfast and brunch options that will rock your world. Today, Tessa and I couldn’t resist the beautiful eggs that we were seeing around us and ordered the Pulled Pork Biscuit ($14) and Croque Madame ($15), respectively. Tessa was pleasantly surprised with the vegetables in particular: zucchini and purple cauliflower are wonderful additions to an already near-perfect spread.
As for my little French slice of heaven, it was fantastic. The béchamel sauce is so indulgent, but it’s a classic that will never go out of style. I loved the pairing with a green salad, even though I don’t think that the celery and sesame was the best combination. Additionally, the bread was a little hard to cut through, but I didn’t really care enough to stop eating!
While it may be difficult for you to give up your seat to the next group of hungry patrons, it might help ease the transition out the door if you pick up a baguette or two to enjoy with your evening meal. 
Tessa also loves the pecan granola and grabbed a bag for the road.

Final Notes: What a great place to spend a weekend morning with your friends and family. However, make sure to come as early as you can to avoid a long wait!

Location: 250 City Centre Ave. Unit 112, Ottawa, ON K1R 1C7 (Wellington West)

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