Must-try dumplings at this hidden gem

A hidden gem of a dumpling spot.

  • Name + address: Momo Bistro, 103-1445 Merivale Rd.

  • Type of food: Indian-Tibetan

  • Appetizers: $6-$10

  • Mains: $12-$15

  • Diet: Meat, vegetarian

  • Wheelchair accessibility: Yes

  • LCBO Licensed: No

  • Website:

If you’re somebody who listens to their gut instincts, you’ll know that you’re often right. Then, once in a while, you might second guess yourself and take a “wait and see” stance. This is what happened at Momo Bistro, where I’m glad I withheld my initial judgment.

This is a restaurant located on the backside of a building housing a pot shop and an animal hospital among other businesses and has no signage visible from Merivale.

A few years ago Momo was a bubble tea shop and from the interior it appears that nothing much has changed. They still have the suspended acrylic bubble chairs that look as if they’re straight out of a 70s sci-fi movie like Logan’s Run. It’s an odd space that looks either as if it’s part way to completion or close to deconstruction.

My concerns began early when I realized that there was only one woman doing it all. There was a guest ahead of me and delivery orders coming in, but she was valiant in keeping the balls in the air. I just wasn’t certain that I’d get my food in the next half hour. The first impressions were concerning.

Steamed momo manchurian momo

Steamed momo. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

I had ordered both steamed chicken momos and fried Manchurian momos and was surprised by what followed. All my reservations about the understaffing and the space itself disappeared in a flash when I took my first bites.

The steamed momos were supple and fresh and perfectly steamed to allow the chicken inside to release its aromas and delicate seasoning. That was just the opening act for the Manchurian momos to come.

The Manchurian version arrived deep fried under a sauce of endless complexity. It had a mild spice but was primarily about layers of flavour that revealed themselves bite for bite. In the end I finished the sauce with a spoon as if it were a favourite soup or dessert.

There were other sauces that accompanied the steamed dumplings and what I took away was that there was somebody in this family run business that had a great palate and truly knew how to create sauces that were all distinctly different and delicious.

Momo Bistro is next on my list for a repeat visit. Their food is really very good and a sharp contrast to that of the room itself. I recommend it as a take-away destination and I wouldn’t hesitate taking a broader tour of the menu.

One final thing and I’ll telegraph this ahead, don’t be surprised if you see the Manchurian momos on my list of top tastes when that comes out at the end of September.