District Eatery is reinventing bar food with healthy and even vegan options so that you can spend your calories on drinking. It doesn’t get more locally owned than this, owned by Jesse Warfield (who lives upstairs) and his family.
He says he was often frustrated by the lack of an adult drinking atmosphere at healthy or vegan restaurant options like Freshii, and conversely, the lack of healthy food choices at bars. He brought in Chef Scott Porter of Ottawa’s Green Door to create a menu that would be balanced, varied, and wholesome.
The space inside was decorated by Warfield himself, some items even nabbed from his own apartment like an art piece in the corner that reads “Raise your glass, lower your standards.”
The main attraction of this space is a ton of outdoor seating, from a sidewalk patio to a rooftop patio strung with lights where regular DJ nights are hosted.
Kale and yam ($12.50) functions as a tasty gluten-free crostini, grilled yam medallions topped with whipped feta, kale that’s been massaged down with oil and red wine vinegar to be less bitter, beetroot, carrot, almond and a balsamic glaze.
Naan bread nachos ($12.50) exemplify this place’s balanced concept, consisting of soft naan cut into rectangles below a melty layer of cheddar, mozzarella, and makhani (a.k.a. butter chicken) sauce, topped with a spicy date tamarind reduction, coriander pesto, cilantro crema, green onion, diced peppers, diced avocado, and crunchy pea tendrils.
Seasonal fruit toasts ($12.75) could start or end a meal, or just serve as a light snack. Fresh Ontario peaches with honey and thyme, cooling cucumber with zesty za’atar, and sweet and savoury strawberries with bright basil and a balsamic reduction all rest atop rye multigrain toast with whipped feta.
The Bowl of Zen ($14.75) piles sustainable ahi tuna, avocado, cucumber, spicy Thai chili, carrot, radish, green onion, sesame and nori flakes on top of warm ancient grains and a crunchy kale blend.
Gluten-free and vegan District Bowl ($14.75) loads a quinoa base with grilled tempeh, roasted yam and cauliflower, red cabbage, heirloom tomato and beetroot, and crunchy pomegranate, sunflower and sesame seeds.
Beet Glory ($12) mixes vodka with house orange, lime, cranberry and beet juice that really delivers on beet flavour and not just colour.
The King St. Sling ($12) is also vodka-based with muddled cucumber, strawberry, mint, pineapple, and a bit of grenadine for colour.
District Eatery replaced more formal dining spot Hush. With a live plant wall and big screen TVs, vegan options and a rooftop nightlife hotspot, this place is all about balancing itself out and adds an extra element of choice to the King bar scene.