Stella - Ottawa (Byward Market)
My man and I went to Stella last night for dinner - we were wandering around on a Sunday night in the capital, not knowing where we would end up - and decided to go in to Stella simply because there were people, and the decor was to our liking!
Not the best way to pick a restaurant surely, but it turned out to be a wonderful evening.
We started off with the risotto fritters ("a duo of wild and tame mushroom risotto fritters, crispy proscuitto and arrabiata sauce"), followed those by the caesar salad (usually a disappointment in most places, but at Stella the crispy pancetta and the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano added the required kick to make it stellar), and for our mains my hubby had the
tagliatelli gamberi ("tiger shrimp, braised leeks, roasted peppers, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosé sauce") and I had the yellowfin tuna ("grilled peppercorn crusted tuna steak with portobellini mushrooms, baked polenta, rapini and veal jus reduction"), which was cooked rare, just as requested! The veal jus almost made me not order it, as I cannot bring myself to eat veal...so I just pretended it was made with something other than veal. Thank god it work, because it was absolutely amazing! Pair this dreamy food with a lovely Cali sauvignon blanc from the Santa Barbara Winery & we have all the ingredients needed for a perfect meal!
I am so glad that I hadn't read the comments from other posters on this site about Stella or else I would never have gone in. It's not cheap to eat here, but the food is outstanding and the portion sizes are very fair for their price. We really wanted to have dessert, but we didn't have any more room! We'll save that for the next time we're in Ottawa.
That's too bad! As I said, we were very, very happy with our meal. Our server seemed a bit new, but she was polite and friendly and that's all I really ask for. We didn't have any questions re: the menu, so I don't know what her knowledge was.
She did an okay job of opening the wine...that's all I know.
Personally, for us, we had a great time. And we dine out at least three times a week (and we have done for longer than I care to admit!), so we've seen it all. I was so impressed with my meal there that I wrote the manager and told him so.
Sorry it wasn't the same for you.
I had the exact opposite experience at Stella. The risotto fritters were tasteless and the pizza I had for at main (sounded good: topped with tiger shrimp and figs) was not worth the money spent. I have had better pizza and better service from ordering in. The service provided to our party of 6 that night cannot be described as anything less than a fiasco. I am certainly not returning to Stella for fear of a repeat performance.