Ox Head

Posted on 2007-03-02 14:16

700 Kanata Avenue, Unit M1, Box 18, Kanata

This place is tucked away in a pedestrian-only shopping complex and the address and map link above does not really help you find it if you’re not familiar with the area. So here are some directions. On the 417 highway near the Terry Fox exit, you can see an AMC movie theatre building. If you go to the theatre building entrance and face outward, you can see the Ox Head a little to your left.

The place has been open for a couple of years and describes itself as serving “Vietnamese Authentic Food.” They’ve recently put out a new menu with a new numbering system but dishes look similar if not the same as before.

The menu is fairly large and contains the usual pho dishes, bun, spring rolls, bubble teas. There are also some of what they describe as more traditional Vietnamese dishes, including hot pots and rice wraps. There is a small selection of vegetarian dishes for more discriminating diners.

Pho soups come in the usual small, medium and large sizes and are priced $6, $7 and $8. Spring rolls will set you back $3.50 for two rolls and $6.25 for four rolls.

Their usual hours are 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM and a little later some evenings.


Anyone try the new menu?

The last time I was at Ox Head the owner was telling us about a new menu they were putting in place. I'm curious if anyone has been there recently and tried any of the new items? He mentioned that they wre adding over 40 items to the menu, including thai dishes.

Today was my first visit to

Today was my first visit to this place in more than a year. I had thought that the quality had dropped off so was not included in our usual restaurant rotation.

Today, though, marked a turn-around, IMO. The service was fast. We arrived at 11:45, placed our order a short time later and the food arrived before 12:00. This was on a Friday and the place was half-full when we arrived. Impressive.

The soup was very good. I had my typical soup of beef broth, rice noodles with tofu and vegetables (sort of vegetarian, if you don't count the beef broth) and it was pretty good.

One thing that struck me was how much of everything there was. Lots of veggies (broccoli and pea pods), lots of tofu, but mostly, lots of rice noodles The only thing sparse was the broth.

All in all, a return to goodness for this place. Not as good as some of the downtown restaurants, but still good. Woth another visit if you've been avoiding it lately.


Pho restaurants are really

Pho restaurants are really spreading around town. And the fair at Ox Head is comparable to any of those found in downtown chinatown.

I started with shrimp and pork rice wraps. The wrap was quite dry for my taste and the peanut sauce was kind of bland as well. I didn't particularly enjoy it and probably wouldn't order the it again.

I had seafood sate with egg noodles. The sate broth was tasty but quite spicy and overpowering even. I was impressed that the seafood included mussels (with the shell). No other Pho restaurant in town that I've been to provides mussels in their seafood bowls. The bowl was a large portion for the medium sized bowl that I ordered.

Overall, a good experience; slightly more expensive than than the Pho in chinatown. But, it is the best Pho in the west-end.

Rating: 7


My usual dish at this place

My usual dish at this place is now called RN12 (RN stands for rice noodles) which contains rather a variety -- sate, rare beef, beef flank, beef tendon and beef tripe. Since the menu redesign, the sate stands out more to me, ie, it's spicier than before. It's all quite delicious.

Even with the variety of my usual, there's one on the menu that catches my eye. SP1, called Special Ox Head Sate Soup in a Hot Pot, contains jumbo shrimp, shrimp, squid, fish ball, minced crab, mussels, beef, tripe, vermicelli, and seasonal vegetables. All that, served in your choice of spicy or not spicy varieties. It says it will serve 2 or 3 people for an eye-popping $34.50. Sounds like an adventure.

But back to more typical fare. The spring rolls were fresh, hot from the fryer, crispy and tasty. Everything I could ask for.

The soup, mine was a large size, contained lots of ingredients. It was filling even though the bowl was not as large of a large as I've seen elsewhere. My MSG-o-meter did not register at all this visit, although I'm sure it has in the past. Never more than a small amount, IMO.

This is the best pho place in Kanata, though competition is scarce. I know of two or three others. It's not quite as good as the better ones downtown like Thu Do and the New Pho Bo Ga LA, but if you are already in Kanata then you won't have to go downtown for good soup.

In previous visits I've had non-pho dishes, like bun, spicy soup and others that I can't remember. I've never been disappointed.

Overall, a fine place to eat.

Rating: 7.5