Eat the Strip

Sheikh Almandi

3059 Carling Ave, Ottawa, ON K2B 7K4

April 14, 2024 5:11 PM

By: Danielle Jeffery

Not long ago, a long-time reader recommended an Iraqi spot in the west-end.

Eitan Waldman suggested we try the succulent kabab and fragrant rice at Sheikh Amandi, an Iraqi takeout restaurant on Carling Avenue, located near Bayshore.

“The food is delicious and amazing value if you buy platters for feeding a group,” Eitan wrote to us in February. “My favourite meats I've tried are the lamb kabob or the whole chicken. But the real star is the rice.”

Eitan didn’t need to say much more. Mandi, one of the recommended dishes, is a big hit with our family. Plus—rather shamefully, admittedly—we didn’t yet have an Iraqi spot on Eat the Strip. So, on a beautiful spring weekend, we headed over to the restaurant to pick up our order of the one-kilo lamb mandi.

My life has been forever altered, for the better, now that I have tasted the delectable delight that is mandi. Never had I had more tender meats or spiced rice raptures. Little did I know when we started Eat the Strip that different countries even have their own versions of mandi, changing spices, toppings and preparation styles.

A family from Baghdad started Sheikh Almandi around a decade to provide Ottawans with home-cooked Iraqi food
A family from Baghdad started Sheikh Almandi around a decade to provide Ottawans with home-cooked Iraqi food

We ordered the family-sized lamb mandi to share outside with my mother on a beautiful, sunny day. The flavours of the slow cooked meat were matched perfectly with the robust flavouring of the rice. Mandi is fast becoming one of our favourite dishes as it’s inexplicably comforting, yet less spicy than its biryani counterpart, which can really pack a punch.

In their takeout package, Sheikh Almandi provided us with a container of mixed peanuts and raisins, as well as a zesty chutney that we would love to recreate. (It reminded us of pico de gallo and added an additional freshness to the meal).

The one-kilo lamb was perfect for the three of us, and there were still leftovers for almost another two meals—all for the reasonable price of $54.

Sheikh Almandi was very different to the Mandi from Alhalabi Restaurant, a Syrian restaurant featured earlier in our blog. However, I could not pick a favourite between the two because they are both so unique. We highly recommend both.