Sunday, September 19, 2010


When I saw this new restaurant on Elgin Street, I wasn't sure what to expect. Then my husband told me about a few people we knew who had gone and absolutely loved it. So I decided I'd better check it out. Score one for me on that decision!

We had the table right in the front with a great view of passers-by from one angle, and the hustle-bustle of the jam-packed restaurant on the other. This place has not stopped hopping since the day it opened it's doors. And for very good reason. The outstanding service, mouthwatering food and unique music collection are equally amazing. The playlist is actually put together by music aficionado Stephen Flood, owner of The Black Tomato.

The menu has a selection of small plates that can also be served as an app to one of the 3 main courses up for grabs. Simple dishes but made with so much care, leaving you in awe.

After my glass of Prosecco, our food began to arrive. A delicious bottle of Primitivo kept us hydrated through each course – Criteria, Schola Sarmenti, Puglia, Italy, 2007.

First a selection of olives decorated with crisp slivers of pickled fennel and scattered segments of orange.

Then one of my favourite – tuna crudo, velvety smooth and topped with rich truffle oil and lemon. Delicate strips of shaved coppa were draped neatly over each slice, and a sprinkling of mint and chives crowned the top.

Our golden crumbed cod fritters bathed in a seductively smokey pork ragu, while a tangy lemon mayo cascaded the tops.

Our server said the meatballs were a must and he was right. Every perfectly round ball stuffed generously with ricotta and sitting neatly on heavenly soft polenta and then smothered in fresh san marzano sauce and sprinkled with parm.

The lamb ragu was the perfect comfort food for a cool fall evening. Large pappardelle noodles interleaved with meaty lamb, corn, yellow foot chantrelle and grated pecorino romano.

We relish in my friend Dino's ricotta gnudi, soft as pillows and better than anything any of us had had in the past. I swear he was having minor heart palpitations after his first bite.

We had some wine left in our glasses so a chocolate dessert was a must. Blissfully silky chocolate budino with whipped cream and granola made with dried cranberries, chocolate covered espresso beans and walnuts.

This is the kind of place you want to make a regular. And the prices make it easy to do so – small plates range from $5 to $15 and mains $20 to $25. It's so nice to have such a great spot on Elgin.

296 Elgin St
Ottawa, ON

Town on Urbanspoon



We went to Town a couple of weeks ago. We loved it too!

One of Ottawa's Real Foodies said...

The pappardelle noodles and lamb ragu was my favourite. I couldn't get over how much lamb they put in my dish. And it was the lunch menu. So good.

Anonymous said...

While I just left you a comment about your "Grand" restaurant post, which was great, I am extremely disappointed at this post, and more so at the comments.

When I first read about it in the Ottawa Citizen last Fall, I told my husband: "We MUST" try this place, everyone is raving about it.

I cannot tell you how disappointed, and disgusted we were with the food.

We ordered the liver pate crustini. When we want liver pate, we don't want a "coulisse" of pate topped with rhubarb. My husband took one bite and pushed it aside.

Then... the ricotta meatballs. Yes, the plate had a beautiful presentation, but the taste???? Again, hubby took one bite and pushed it aside.

Then came the gnudis... again, a few bites where had.

I felt so bad leaving all this food aside, I forces myself to eat much of it, but trust me, not a delight.

All in all, it was a terrible experience "for us". And I must tell you, my husband is Italian, which I've been married into the family for 25 years. Sorry, this place does not cut it for us.

And to all readers, only know, there is no such thing as "nouveau" Italian food. Italian food is the best and easiest food anyone can cook and eat.

If you want great Italian food, go on Preston St., or lean it and make it at home.

Very very disappointed with this post.

Aline... one who know about and how to cook real Italian food.

Rachelle said...

That's really too bad that you had such an awful experience. I honestly can't say the same about mine. Maybe I should go again soon and see if things have changed.

M-H said...

Hi! We're visiting friends in the city this weekend and I am wondering if there are a few vegetarian options on the menu, as this restaurant is very appealing. Thank you!

Rachelle said...

Yes, they have a few small plate options. However, on the menu there's nothing under the large plates. They do have an entrée special though that is vegetarian, it's just not on the menu.