Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Grand

Excellent, another market restaurant with good-looking, inexperienced staff. Unfortunately there are only a handful of restaurants in the market that don't fit that criteria. Why bother if the location alone will bring you business? All sarcasm aside, and the fact that I had higher hopes service-wise when I walked into The Grand (probably due to the great revue I read on the Omnivore's Ottawa blog), I did actually enjoy the food. The atmosphere is very fun, casual and inviting – perfect if you're starting the evening out with a group of friends. They can accommodate large groups quite easily. My favourite part of the meal was the appetizers. We ordered some fantastic dishes from the Antipasti selection – Olive and Pepper misti, a selection of black olives, kalamata olives and pepperonci marinated in olive oil and balsamic. The best one, and still making my mouth water at the thought of it, the Mushroom Assoluti, oyster mushrooms baked in a parmesan crust. And a third, also equally delicious and surprisingly light, the Meatballs ‘al forno’. I've never been a big pizza person. But if i'm going to eat pizza, I do prefer the thin crust and with very little to no cheese. I hate when a pizza has an inch thick slab of cheese over it, with an equal thickness of grease sitting on top. This was obviously not the case here. At first I found the prices to be a bit high for what you were getting, but the fact they go the extra mile to make authentic Neapolitan pizza brings it all into perspective. The pizza must have certain specific characteristics to be a true Napoletana pizza, including the dough being pressed with Italian flour and a precise amount of water, tomatoes Italian, bufala mozzarella, and cooked at a specified temperature in a wood burning oven. Additionally, they do not cut your pizza unless requested, another authentic tradition. I ordered the Sicilia, sicilian anchovies, capers, olives and mozzarella. Obviously flavourful from the saltiness of the ingredients, but definitely not too salty. It was really good. I split my pizza with a friend of mine to try the Grand – proscuitto di parma, fresh basil, scarmorza and mozzarella. I also tried a slice off my husband's, the Margherita, tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella and fresh basil. I'd probably go for that one next time. So simple and so yummy. I enjoyed my apps more than my pizza, but given that they've been open less than a week, i'm sure they will perfect their pizzas with time (Pizzeria Libretto in Toronto has mastered it according to my husband). I'm hoping the service will also follow suit with a bit of time. It was surprising that with the number of staff they had, getting our beer filled was lengthy and although each of us reiterated exactly what we ordered to the server (still not sure why she didn't know), they still screwed up the bills. Fortunately not bad enough to become a tip jar submission, but could definitely use some improving, which is why I've given them 1 star instead of the 3 they would have gotten for the food and ambiance. Apps range from $4 to $12 and mains from $15 to $18.

The Grand on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

hmmm... not sure why you say "It was really good" etc, and go on about how it's perfect for a night out etc, and then rate it a one star?? Like you said, it was in it's FIRST WEEK when you were there, so glitches in service are to be expected. I've been there several times since and it's one of my favorite places in the market.

Rachelle said...

Great to know the service has improved.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachelle,

Just discovered your blog... I love it :)))

We also love good food, but especially good pizza. We love ours thin, and especially the margarita.

About The Grand on the market... we discovered it last summer. We had the funghi with truffle oil. OMG... what an experience. Was the BEST pizza we ever had.

We went back a second time two weeks later and had the same pizza, but this time, with calamari as an appetizer. Again, melt in your mouth experience.

The third time, we decided to try a different topping for the pizza. We were not as impressed with the flavours.

So now we know, for us, at the Grand: calamari, and funghi with truffle oil.

Thank you for your great posts.


PS1. My husband is Italian, and I've been married to the family for 25 years :))

PS2: In case you're interested, I have my own little personal Website with many of my mother-in-law's Italian recipes and many from my side of the family being French Canadian. They can be found at:

Hope you enjoy :)