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O-O-O Oh It's Open

Saw the open sign today and we stopped in at O. It's fabulous. The decor is great, the staff is ever so friendly and professional. Didn't eat today but I'm going back tomorrow for lunch. The menu is quite perfect and the prices are excellent.

David Adjey will be there next week-end checking it out. No reservations but you can phone ahead and get your name on a wait list if necessary. Parking underground.

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  1. Sounds interesting Dianne, would you have contact info for O? I can't find anything online. Thanks :)

    5 Replies
    1. re: maplesugar

      Sorry I didn't provide more info - here's a bit from Craigslist:

      O" Restaurant is creating a buzz in Marda Loop! We are a new concept in casual dining and are proud to share a menu specially crafted by chef-genius, David Adjey. Everything in this menu celebrates fresh, quality ingredients and this approach is carried through to our bar, wine and staff. If you have a fresh personality and care about delivering quality experiences to guests, come be a part of our well-paid team as a Food Runner, Host, Hostess or Server.

      I'll get the exact address and phone number tomorrow. They didn't have their business cards yet, and aren't advertising until they're open for a bit to train the staff. I'll let you know.

      1. re: DianneYYC

        Don't apologize, I'm just curious and couldn't find anything online. Thanks Dianne :)

      2. re: maplesugar

        Yellow pages listing - address is correct; I assume the phone number is also.

        O Restaurant
        2018 33 Avenue SW

        1. re: cancowboy

          Yep it is - just found it on Facebook.
          Mon - Sat: 11:00 am - 2:00 am
          Sun: 11:00 am - 12:00 am

          1. re: cancowboy

            Thanks I dunno why I didn't find that myself :)

        2. we went for dinner last night - i'm so happy it's good and not expensive, since i live a block away!! being a designer, the decor is not bad, a lot of elements have been done before, but definitely a comfortable space to be in and a hell of a lot better than oj's!!

          the food is a nice twist on pub and comfort food, lots of sandwiches, pasta, pizza. we had the calamari to start, it was good, the sauce for it has a nice kick, the only think was that it was a bit hard, but that's alright since it tasted good. my other half had the parma pizza, we decided we like it better than pulcinella(sp?) - sorry to all you pizza traditionalists out there...the toppings had lots of flavour and the crust is just the right thickness and a little bit crunchy. i had the chicken milanese sandwhich w/salad - the salad was nice and fresh the the sandwich was tasty, the nice part was the breading on the chicken, it tasted and looked like homemade breading.

          they were giving out free desert tasters, i chose the double chocolate cake - it was cake with some sort of mousse around it - quite tasty. they should actually keep the desert that size, it's just enough.

          my only complaint is the 5oz wine pour!!! why, why, why are so many places doing that now (and not putting on the menu). you think the wine is actually reasonably priced for once and then the glass shows up....having said that though, the wine selection is a nice change and their by the bottle prices don't seem too crazy.

          overall our meal was good value for money - it was $74(incl. tax) for our food and two drinks each - that's a nice change for sure!!

          we will be back many, many times.

          the server told us that sunday brunch is in the works as well - i hope they start that soon, it will be nice to have another brunch place that isn't diner breakfast.

          5 Replies
          1. re: pants

            Thanks for the report pants! Sounds like a really interesting place - It'd be nice to get out for a date night that didn't cost an arm and a leg. Your dessert taster reminds me of Jack Astor's and their "ridiculously small pudding" basically 2 oz chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream. I loved those...always thought they were the perfect size :)

            1. re: pants

              Tastes are different. I went for lunch today to check on that Pizza....good, inexpensive, but me, I still prefer Pulcinella's
              The Crab Bisque however, was very good.
              Desserts are small, a very good in house made Chocolate Mousse was $2.00 , which I find an excellent deal. (Picture attached.)

              This company also owns FATS in Kensington, but O is nothing like that Pub.

              I can see that patio facing 33 Avenue being a huge draw in the summer.

              1. re: worldwidestuff

                the patio will be great.

                i've had more bad than good experiences at pulcinella's unfortunately, i loved it there the first couple times, but the last couple times are inexcusable so we've had to take them off our list. It's too bad, i really did like it there a lot once....

              2. re: pants

                They must have changed to a 6 oz pour because they were quite liberal last night. The restaurant was full the entire time we were there with a short wait in the line-up at the door and they gave us a complimentary glass of wine while we were waiting to be seated. Nice room, and lighting, great ambience and friendly staff. The waitress was very helpful and perhaps a bit inexperienced, but her friendly enthusiasm more than made up for it. The food menu looks great and we only sampled some of the appies and drinks. Texas Sushi was very good, as were the Lobster Nacho's (interesting taste and the flavors could stand to be slightly more intense). The wine list looks good although a bit limited - we were told that it is growing very soon. Great, fun place - The Grey Cup! appeared during the evening and it was being displayed on the bar while everyone took their pics with it.
                Altogether a good experience and it looks like they've hardly had a chance to open. I look forward to watching them evolve and get their feet under them - we will definitely return. Thumbs up.

                1. re: topdawg

                  First impressions:

                  Went tonight Adjey was there, paying close attention to one particular table to our left, spending the other half his time in the back of the house. There were a few open tables but for a Tuesday night the place was bustling. Very young serving staff (or maybe I'm just getting old?) who are still a bit green (at one point my 1/3 full bottle of San Pelligrino was whisked away then returned with apologies)... something that'll improve once they've got their feet under them. In terms of the atmosphere and the comparisons to Earls... it's definitely not a quiet/intimate space, more gastropub, no linen, black paper napkins(preferable to the cheap nylon ones imho), tv screens above a prominent bar, elevated long thin fireplace on the far wall.

                  The menu is a rather big step up from Earls I think. Lobster nachos were fantastic! Onion ring were also nice but could have spent about 15 seconds longer in the fryer - they were crispy but not quite as crisp as I'd have liked(being a bit nitpicky mind you). Nice thick cut sweet onions though with good bite. Mains took a bit to arrive but the pacing wasn't overly slow. DH had the 8oz flat iron steak, which came with some seasonal vege and smashed potatoes, cooked to med rare just like he requested. 10/10 in this canivore's opinion. I went for the Swordfish with pineapple salsa, and tempura long beans. A little too much sauce for my liking but otherwise the swordfish was perfectly done...I think it could use a bit more pineapple salsa to add more sweet to balance it out. The tempura long beans were beautiful, they were knotted then lightly breaded and fried... sort of reminded me of Divino's hariot verts. Didn't stick around for dessert since DH had to get up early but their dessert "tree" concept looked interesting. We'll definitely be back :)

              3. For what its worth, my GF and I dropped in to O on Saturday for dinner. The decor struck us as clean and modern, if not a a bit homogeneous with the Earl's & Cactus Club crowd.
                The food was exemplary. We started with Calamari - lightly breaded and cooked to, as near as I could tell, perfection. We also tried the Lobster Nachos - 6 homemade tortilla chips topped with a dollop of marinated lobster, fresh mango salso, a serrano chili and some tarragon. I was skeptical at first but was won over by the combination of lobster and mango that was quickly replaced by the bite of the pepper - our favorite dish, hands-down.
                We shared the Chop Steak Sandwich (burger) that was cooked to order (medium to well-done) and were pleased with the fact that you could readily taste the beef and it wasn't overpowered by the toppings (double-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, butter lettuce, tomato, onion & mayo). The accompanying fries were good but not memorable.
                Our other main was the Prime Rib. Our server warned us that it wasn't traditional prime rib - it was pulled apart and basted in a smkoy BBQ sauce and served almost as "beef-on-bun without the bun". Although the meat was quite juicy and flavorful, we both felt that $20 should get you a bit more than a small bowl (3-inch diameter) of beef. The accompanying honey-baked beans were, again, good but not insiring while the medley of market fresh vegetables appreared to be an overcooked afterthought. I think the jalapeno cornbread was a nice touch but my GF quickly declared it her favorite item on the plate and I got little more than a taste.
                Total for 2 appetizers and 2 mains (before tax) was $58.
                Seeing as it was opening week, much of the blunders in service execution were forgiven - the bar was out of some of the required liquer for their drink menu, the cocktail I ordered (strawberry-rhubarb mojito - twice) was prepared quite differently by two different bartenders, the table beside us had to order different appetizers and half of their mains because the kitchen had run out (by 7:00 at night), waitstaff were tripping over each other and surprised when someone else took it upon themselves to refresh our drink or wisk away our credit card and the hostess couldn't explain why several tables were reserved when they have a stated "No Reservations" policy.
                My GF summed it up best stating that O was "essentially Cactus Club with more creative food". I couldn't agree more and will be back to check if they have the kinks worked out of their service.

                1. looks like adjey was hired as a consultant to design the menu, which shows a lack of creativity on the part of the owners and/or 'cook.' http://davidadjeycuisine.com/menu_mak...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: nonlinear

                    that website is disappointing - too packaged up.

                    1. re: pants

                      i agree, and can't say i'll go out of my way to try this place.

                  2. David Adjey is cooking at O restaurant in Calgary, Jan 19,20&21.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DianneYYC

                      i suspect that adjey will be working out the menu kinks as his name on the line with this. think they are planning on playing around with some of the interior and putting more mojo into it...as new building etc.. will try again soon. i love the lively atmosphere though and food made from scratch.

                    2. went back for lunch yesterday - it was quiet but the service was friendly and the food was good - fresh, flavourful, not greasy, hot. we were just enjoying the fact that we didn't have to sit in OJ's (especially if you check out the recent health inspection reports...) and that it wasn't a chain. going back with friends saturday night so we'll see what it's like in their busy hours. i saw wine go to another table, definitely a 5oz pour but at least they offer a 1/2 litre as an option to their wines by the glass.

                      1. I was there on Friday with 4 other people.. I was very disappointed.

                        The decor is oh-hum.

                        Our service was poor to average.( using Calgary average here - ie poor elsewhere)

                        But the food was a major disappointment - the first thing they stress is made of scratch ( down to the mustard and ketchup) and freshness.
                        Obviously when making things from scratch they leave out flavour - bland, bland bland.
                        It may be fresh but it doesn't make up for the lack of quality.
                        Presentation................ zero.

                        Drink pour is very stingy.

                        Do yourself a favour and go a block west to Rasoi - it may be a bit more expensive but
                        quality wins my dollar everytime.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: garry m

                          I too was excited by a new place in the hood. I am however very disappointed with the restaurant being built without allowing access for people in wheelchairs. It is the 21st century, but Calgary and Alberta keep up the reputation of being years behind.

                          1. re: nands

                            I was at O tonight and remembered your comment so I did some checking... They are accessible,but unfortunately not from the front door. There is a ramp at the back parking lot entrance and there's an elevator from the underground parking lot which also allows access to the washrooms on the 2nd floor.

                            1. re: nands

                              Try finding an accessible resto in Toronto. This is not about Calgary or Alberta.

                            2. re: garry m

                              i guess for an inexpensive, casual, neighbourhood restaurant it's a huge step above anything else around - Rasoi is double the price for entrees and I wouldn't say a fair comparison, it's not in the same category.

                              If I didn't live around the corner, I wouldn't be as happy about it. It's not a place i would go out of my way for.

                              1. re: pants

                                I had lunch there twice now and both time I did get out of my way (far NW).

                                It's a big step up from their other pub FATS, the food is actually really good and the value is good. I am still not over my $2.00 Chocolate Mousse from my first lunch.

                            3. O-O-O Oh It's not so good. We live in the neighbourhood and have been several times and really struggle with the food. We would love these people to thrive and be great. I understand there has been some turnover in the Kitchen already. I was excited to hear about the Lobster Nachos everyone else liked, but mine came out with a hard gob of lobster on each of 6 nacho chips...nothing else. The fish sandwich 's breading was wet right thru. Its suppose to be Vodka batter but I didn't taste any vodka. I though vodka didn't have a taste. So whats the point? The Margarita pizza was tasteless. The Jerk wings were inedible. The pasta's are incredibly tiny and not really that good. I know they spent a lot of money to have a Celebrity Chef design the menu but it doesn't work at all. I'll be back because I'm hoping they will turn it around, but they have a lot of work to do.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Busted Flat in Marda Loop

                                I have been there twice and have been dissapointed both times. Its too bad since I really wanted it to be a great place. The room sends too many messages, way too busy decor and the paper roll ups were not a hit. Its the food that should really sell the place, it wasn't that bad but it was far from making me want to go back again. I hope it gets better though.

                                1. re: Busted Flat in Marda Loop

                                  I couldn't agree more. We tried it last night and were very disappointed. We always hope that a GREAT restaurant will crop up in Marda Loop. We're still waiting. I absolutely love the decor. The food is ho-hum and the service is just terrible! And what is with taking an elevator to the washrooms???
                                  We'll try it again but maybe just for drinks.
                                  I wrote a letter to them. We'll see if I get a reply.

                                2. I'm surprised at the mixed reviews. We went on Sunday Feb 8 for lunch and really enjoyed it. I found it a little like going to Earl's or Cactus Club, except everything seemed to be freshly made. We started with the Jerk wings and soup of the day, which was curry chicken. Both were tasty, but a little under-seasoned. I had the Big O Chop Steak Sandwich, otherwise known as a burger, and found it to be juicy and tasty. My companion had the club sandwich, which was a triple-decker on white, and also really good. The standout was the fries - fresh cut for sure, not frozen, and much better than any fries I've had in any comparable place in Calgary.

                                  We spoke to the waitress who told us they were still doing a soft opening, working out the kinks. I'd like to go back and try some other items. The rest of the menu looks pretty good, and the prices seem comparable to if not cheaper than the standard Earls-Joey's-Cactus-Moxies.

                                  1. It will probably be closing within one year...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Korsten

                                      what makes you say that? they seem to be busy regularly.

                                    2. gilchrist rating: 5/10


                                      (and you know rare it is for gilchrist to actually point out something negative


                                      when I first heard they had consulted tv celeb adjey, I had a feeling things would turn out this way

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: nonlinear

                                        Yeah, I'm sure it's rare for him not to get recognized and fawned over.

                                        Reading the info here I was expecting more of a restaurant, but it's actually more like a pub. Pretty good food and quite cheap, so-so service. Lots of TVs and a long hightop communal table (we didn't sit there) parallel to the bar. I'm not sure about this trend toward big communal tables, only time I sat at one was Mercado just because nothing else was available. I don't like them much but they sure seem to be popular (at least to put in, not so much to sit at from what I can tell, every place I've been to the regular tables fill up first).

                                        I didn't try the wine but the draft beer was 20oz and $6-6.50 even for imports like Heineken and Stella. Cheap, and lots of choices.

                                        Decent food, I wouldn't drive across town to come here but it's close so I'll be back.

                                        1. re: hsk

                                          we were there again for a bite and a drink on friday - it filled up very quickly but food was decent, service was decent. my only complaint of the evening was the noise level, it was very loud.

                                          1. re: pants

                                            I have to concur with the negative reviewers: we thought we'd try it and went for lunch today. My chicken club was so dry I asked for extra mayo, which helped make it moister but no more flavorful--the mayo had remarkably little taste. My lunch companion ordered the pulled beef, which was tender enough but also very bland. And his "jalapeno cornbread" had no jalapeno to speak of (and if there's even a litle spice he'd notice). And the desserts, which are now $3 apiece, were lackluster: a dry little forest cake and an orange creme cake. Not even close to worth it in our opinions, and we won't be back.

                                      2. I went to O for a corporate function and was very underwhelmed. Wouldn't even consider going there for a meal. It felt more like a slick pick-up joint.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: sarah galvin

                                          I disagree entirely and have grown to love that place. I was just there last night and the food and service have been consistently better each time I return. I love the room and atmosphere (Oops was that you that I hit on? - Sorry). O is local (so is the food) a great addition to our neighborhood and they seem to be responsive to their clients - I notice the changes they are making. Would you prefer a national franchise come into the hood with the slick formula that works day one? Not me, I give them an 8.5/10

                                          1. re: topdawg

                                            wow, i think this is the first positive comment i've heard from anyone about this place - on chowhound and in various other media.

                                            and yes, based on the reviews, i probably would prefer a national franchise.

                                            1. re: nonlinear

                                              I actually went during the very first week they opened and did not mind the place. Granted, I have not been back since, but the Crab Bisque and Chocolate Mousse I had back then, were very good. The Pizza, well it was not so hot.

                                              Having read all the not so good reviews (incl. some in newspapers) I started to question my taste buds. But I would go again.

                                              Can't think of any national franchise I really like, taking the Cara owned places as an example.
                                              Individual owners, or smaller restaurant chains are just more responsive to patrons in my opinion.

                                              1. re: worldwidestuff

                                                We gave it another try the other night. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. We have been seven times. We have tried everything on the menu. Can't recommed a single thing. We really wanted it to work because we live so close. In the future we will go there for drinks and then Original Joes for food. Its that bad.

                                                1. re: Busted Flat in Marda Loop

                                                  Yep. Me too. I stuck a fork in it the other night, and it's done.

                                                  Just went in for a burger at the bar. The place was very quiet and when I asked if a hockey game could be put on one of the tv's (what else would they be for?) there was some audible grumbling about not wanting to from a bartender. Guess they prefer the slides of famous world cities on all five screens. They are pretty nice photos.

                                                  The burger was fine. Condiments had to be asked for. Cutlery and a napkin had to be asked for (why roll-ups in such a nice place?) The two barely 18 bartenders were far more concerned about discussing who deserved to go home first.

                                                  No management floor-presence or otherwise visible leadership. I'm pretty low-key and un-demanding, but my very basic, bottom-line criteria of an establishment is this ..... It has to matter to them that I'm there.

                                                  It didn't.

                                                  1. re: girlwithafork

                                                    I'm sure they have their reasons for not doing so, but O could really make a killing serving brunch on weekends. I had a look in there a few weeks ago, at about 10:30 on a Saturday, when Nellie's and the Belmont had lineups out the door. The place was empty. I asked the hostess if they served brunch, and she told me with a laugh that if I want breakfast I should just go next door.

                                                    1. re: 23skidoo

                                                      yes they could - i'd love to have another option to the other two - Nellies doesn't cook their potatoes enough, i hate that. they've been taking their time on their patio too, i know it hasn't been the greatest spring, but it would have been full every nice day we've had so far...

                                                  2. re: Busted Flat in Marda Loop

                                                    I have been going to O since it opened and love it. The burger is a chop steak that my daughter cant get enough of. She told me that she has friends that travel from far away just to have it. I think its one of the best burgers that I have had except for Buchanan's. (if one is comparing it to Original Joes than all i can say is u must like frozen burgers not made in house or not use to fresh food) My favorite appy is definitely the calamari YUM YUM YUM. I also cant wait to sit on the Patio and have a Strawberry Rhubarb Mojito!!!! (the patio looks awesome) Nachos?

                                                    1. re: spiderman

                                                      You are right I am not used to eating lousy fresh food. At least at Original Joes I know what I am getting. The Kitchen at O can not execute the menu. I understand they are in the midst of a menu overhaul. The owners are doing it on there own without their Celebrity chef's help which I think is a great idea. Next time I'm on my way to Globefish I'll give yo a wave as you are sitting on the patio in the midst of traffic picking the seeds of the strawberry and string of the rhubarb from your teeth. MMMM Fresh!!

                                          2. So after our very disappointing visit to O, I decided to write a letter. I was not rude but stated how we had felt virtually ignored and that the food was just OK. I left my name, number, and email. I didn't want any freebies I just wanted feedback - I received none. This is just bad management and bad business. Not very wise. I really wanted to give them another chance. But now I don't see how I can.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Joanne D

                                              I've never understood this writing a letter stuff - "I didn't want any freebies I just wanted feedback" - what kind of feedback? Groveling that you had to take an elevator to the washrooms? I've been to LOTS of places where you actually had to walk down (or up) a flight of stairs to the washrooms.

                                              I've also been to lots of places where the food was meh (and one just yesterday where it was so bad we left two half rolls without finishing and I LOVE sushi). But I'm not sure what writing a letter to say their food is disappointing will do. Obviously if the service was bad and and you can back it up it's probably useful but what kind of response do you want - we fired that server?

                                              Personally, if I don't like a place I don't go back, I don't write a letter and I don't post about it on sites like this either.

                                              1. re: hsk

                                                Voting with your feet is the biggest message you can send at the end of the day.

                                                However, some people do make an attempt to pass along feedback about their experiences, perhaps hoping to hear from a responsive management about their efforts to improve things. Like after a bad stay in a hotel for example...

                                                It's not always about not going back. I think that after dropping bucks somewhere and having a bad time, it's fair to say so, if you have that kind of initiative.

                                                I count myself as generally being kind of typically Canadian... "Don't complain... Don't be rude... Etc. Eventually though, I think that politely making one's voice heard is good.

                                                If management never hears complaints they can't fix things.

                                                For sure, don't tell most restaurant folks here in Calgary that they're not doing anything but a great job. Mostly, from server on up, they're just in it for the money here. And hey, to be fair, who ain't into whatever they do, for the money just a little bit?

                                                As for your dining experience, it's mostly just a means to an end.

                                                Finally, a lot of people don't realize just how shady and cynical the biz can be.

                                                Is "O" an legit attempt to make bucks via good food and sevice? Or is it just some rich dude's playtoy? If I were David Adjey, I'd be running like hell, based on the threads on this board! (I make no comment on "O's" food or service, as I haven't been. Sounds like it sucks, though.) Regardless, I don't imagine Adjey has thrown the whites on for real in a loooong time anyways.

                                                Here in Calgary a lot of people have crazy dough, both legit and shifty in origin, and a few hundred grand for a place to hang out in and meet "servers" is nothing to them. They maybe even want it to lose money! Food and service? Who gives a shit?

                                                1. re: seemac70

                                                  The place does not suck. It is NOT downtown quality, but it's passable for what it is.

                                                  Feedback, both positive and negative, is important to ANY establishment, not just the food industry. In which form that opinion gets related, is up to the customer.

                                                  I for one usually try to address issues at that moment they happen. My english vocabulary is not good enough to write letters, but I do admire those who can can express themselves in a written manner.

                                            2. went back the other night...it is now off my list - we hadn't been in quite a while and even though we hadn't had a terrible experience, so many others had and we felt like we were tempting fate by going back.

                                              new menu this time, more expensive and fewer casual less expensive options like sandwiches and stuff they had before. we had a lot of time to review this new menu, it took a very long time for anyone to come to the table, the host saw me looking around for someone too (many times) and she just looked at me blankly....anyway, we finally ordered, i had the prima diva salad with chicken (the chicken pushed it to about $18 - what is with the $20 salad everywhere these days? it's just salad) my SO had the chicken entree, sorry i forget what they call it but it has indian spices. the food arrived, it was quite a large portion of salad but a very small portion of chicken, the SO's plate looked grim, the chicken looked pretty sad and the veggies looked like the steamed stuff in senior's homes, he said it tasted alright but it was $24 - that seem pretty steep compared to before...at least though, my glass of wine was a bit fuller than the last time i was there.

                                              overall, a very underwhelming experience, it's too bad, we had such high hopes! back to the Garrison it is!! great pub food and one of the best side salads around - the freshest salad i've ever seen in a pub, that is for sure!