Ottawa Resturants -- Guest Review by Owen
On a recent trip to Ottawa, I had the oppourtunity to eat at a variety of establishments, here are a couple of my favourites.
The Ale House:
What a promising name for a place that is advertising breakfast for $2.29, and is open at six in the morning. The decor was a cross between greasy spoon, coffeehouse, and pretentious yuppie bar. I have the feeling that at different times of day, its role changes between all these options. At any rate, I arrived in the morning, which means that I would have to try it at "diner" setting, and skip the broad selection of single malts. For $5.27 including tax, my companion and I each had bacon, two eggs, two large slices of toast, a mess of home fries, and all the coffee we could drink. Hell, I can't get _ONE_ biggie sized fast-food meal for that price, so value-wise, I'm all in favour. The service was fast and not hostile, the location was funky-trendy in Ottawa's Market district, and the food was good enough that the only thing that gave me any pause at all were the eggs.
If it were in Calgary, it would have gotten three and a half pints, but because I was on vacation, I'm giving this place the benefit of the doubt, and four pints of Stella Artois, which was the trendy beer in Ontario this season.
Dunn's Resturant and Deli:
At 11:55 PM the same day, and after having not really eaten anything since breakfast, and not having slept since 9:00 AM Calgary time the day before, I stumbled with a bunch of friends into Dunn's on Ottawa's also trendy Eglin Avenue. (Or street or whatever) I was about to go the extra half block to MacDonalds, figuring that I wouldn't really notice the food, but needed something greasy to take the edge off, but happily I ran completely out of steam in front of this deli. We were served immediately after sitting down, in this 24 hour resturant, which was not yet overrun with the Goth crowd that would be showing up in a few hours, and had emptied of trendy young people fueling up for a Friday night of debauchery. We had a nice big table in the non-smoking section, and sat down to dedicate ourselves to the kind of midnight scoff that only travellers, drunks, and all night Karaoke singers really engage in. Heather's hot chocolate was served almost cold, but they got it right on the second try, making no fuss about it. I didn't ever get the coke that was supposed to come with my meal, but I didn't really want it, and had actually said, "No, just water for me, I really don't need any caffine" So I will mark that down to good service and remembering what I had asked for previously. My meal was a very meaty very nice smoked meat sandwitch, a fantastic pickle, a bunch of lightly battered fries, terrible cole slaw, and normally a soda, but in my case water. All for $8.95, and I don't usually eat the cole slaw anyway, so that wasn't a black mark against them. I was almost ready to buy a jar of pickles from this place, but I wasn't about to take them on the plane, but if I lived within driving distance, you know I would have. Flipping great pickles. Tom tried the Latkes, but couldn't manage the whole half dozen that came for $6.95. I can't blame him, but I was kind of surprised that he couldn't take the grease, seeing as how he had just come back from two years living in the UK. I finished them for him, enjoying the contrast of two different deep-fried potatoes at the same meal. The Latkes were actually too greasy for me, but I ate them anyway, I was really hungry. The fries were lightly battered, which I like. Putting batter on fries is a great way to say, "I don't care if my whole cardiovascular system congeals at this very moment if my fries are tasty." Topping off the envening was the Beatles soundtrack as background music, a nice change from top 40.
Someone's sharp eyes spotted the included gratuity, which is probably really a good idea for the staff in a resturant that deals with drunks, late night goths, and tourists who don't normally tip, but comes as a shock to good Canadian folks like myself who would tip anyway.
Overall, Dunn's gets four and a half pints, they are pints of roadhouse coffee of the kind served to goths at three in the morning after the clubs close. I can't wait for my trip to Montreal in January, to get some real delli action.