Eat Out: Art Is In

by jc

The day after Winterbrewed some friends and I headed to Art Is In for lunch.  I’m quite a big fan of this place and was eager to indulge in some quality treats on a Sunday afternoon.

This bakery, slash restaurant, is quickly becoming the biggest thing on the Ottawa restaurant scene since Elgin Street Diner’s poutine launch almost 20 years ago.  While the poutine thing may be made up (by yours truly), Art Is In is definitely no joke.

art is in 1

I like to refer to Art Is In as Andy Warhol’s Bakery because of all the hip 20/30 something’s frantically running around in cool cat clothing, with coloured streaks in their hair.  The fact that The Bakery is located in a large warehouse is additional evidence that AW must have somehow had a hand in this place.  At first blush the location seems more appropriate for shipping and receiving transactions as opposed to being where one enjoys the best raspberry scone of their lives.

View of the open concept kitchen

View of the open concept kitchen

How does one decide on just one?

How do I chooooooose?

One needs to be warned before heading to Art Is In on a weekend – it’s going to be packed.  Even compared to about a year ago this place is significantly busier every time I go.  There’s no surprise here though as it was recently named #1 on Ottawa Magazine’s Best Restaurants of 2012 list.

Unfortunately for us, they were already sold out of a lot of the sandwiches on the menu that day (at only 12:30 pm!).

I chose to go with the always-popular buttermilk brined chicken Caesar with bacon.  It was absolutely delicious but I was actually a bit disappointed with the quality of the bread (shocking for Art Is In – I know!) on this one particular sandwich.  The cheese topping was so burnt and crusty that I was left with a cut-up inside of my mouth that I used to only get from the OLD [shittier] Tim Horton’s baguette bread.  It was a little disappointing but I’m willing to forgive Art this one time.

Chicken + bacon + harvarti + tomato + arugula + house-made Caesar dressing on [overly crusty] cheddar jalapeno bread

Chicken + bacon + harvarti + tomato + arugula + house-made Caesar dressing on [overly crusty] cheddar jalapeno bread

Gooey chewy chocolate walnut cookie... sorry I mangled it before the picture!

Gooey chewy chocolate walnut cookie… sorry I mangled it before the picture!

Overall I would give Art Is In an 8.5/10.  The bread, cookies, and pastries are consistently to die for but quite honestly my sandwich this time around was a bit sloppy (too much dressing) and sub-Art Is In-quality bread.  The seating system, or lack thereof, is an issue that needs to be addressed if this establishment is going to continue to see the vast increase in popularity that it has experienced over the past year.