Ottawa Dining Experience
Clock tower Brewpub (Byward Market)
We came here for dinner after carefully researching pubs in the area.
Decent atmosphere but the food was below average at best.
To start, we had the nachos with grilled chicken. The chicken was diced very small and, overcooked and tasteless, it resembled tiny bits of charred gristle. The chips were the best ingredient. Not greasy or overly salty but – to be honest --tasted old. There were hardly any other toppings, an occasional jalapeño slice (which was shocking zestless) and a sparse cheese dropping here and there. We ordered a chicken salad and the half-roasted chicken for our mains. While the salad was fresh enough, the chicken was very salty, rubbery and dry (not too mention bitter, as we were after this meal). The menu stated it would be kettle chip coated. Translation: crumbled chips sprinkled on top of a dwarfish, overcooked chicken breast. The roast chicken smelled and tasted rotten; it looked wrinkled up and withered. Its decrepit appearance was confirmed by its dry, stringy meat. Almost like an overdue day old super store rotisserie that had been frozen and microwaved for us. Gnarly! I told my DH to stop eating it after I had a bite. It literally reeked of rotten food. The mashed potatoes were cold and glueish in texture and taste. The boiled broccoli was the highlight of this dish, actually, of the whole meal. So if you enjoy dropping $60 on a crappy meal that leaves you hungry and with a bad taste in your mouth than you may enjoy wasting your time dining at the Clock tower.
Mezzanote Italian Bistro
Again, after hours of researching restaurant reviews., this place looked like a winner. Truth is, we are losers after we spend $135 there. It wasn’t worth half the amount.
Before we rate the food (which is why people like us even read these reviews) we really need to comment on the décor and overall atmosphere. Think funeral parlour with white chairs and dental chair music. We started off with the Caesar salad and the Italian sausage; they were both mediocre. Our mains included the pollo mezzanote and a pasta with grilled chicken, portabella mushrooms and a sun dried tomato pesto sauce (BTW the tapenade they serve with the bread was excellent). The chicken and the pasta were both overcooked. The garlic was too heavy and tasted not so fresh. The chicken mazzanote was not as advertised. This dish was a disaster to the palate. It was at once, bitter, saccharine and dry. The sauce was gooey and contained no Marsala as advertised.
The server was officious and pretentious. Even spinning the pepper mill like a police baton. And I’m a Chicago cop so I know all about spinning batons and eating GOOD (and may I add – cheap and honest!) Italian food. Unfortunately for Mezzanote, it’s a big joke, the food the service the place itself. Imagine how sad we were after trying to find a decent place to eat in such a city as Ottawa. And yes, folks, we have been to Little Italy.
p.s. one of us is Canadian
Not sure if you checked OttawaFoodies.com? It has a better representation of the Ottawa food scene. The Chowhound Ontario board is 90% Toronto, so I personally don't bother checking it very often, and I don't think I'm alone on that.
I say this only because neither of the two restaurants you visited are highly recommended on OttawaFoodies. There's a top 15 list on the home page - all are safe bets. Better luck next time! There is great food in Ottawa - if nothing else. :)
Unfortunate that the Chow boards contain very little good, reliable info about Ottawa restos. OttawaFoodies.com is a more accurate representation, for sure, as others have mentioned. Next time you're in Ottawa consider Beckta, Murray Street, and any number of others, which will offer you a much better experience than Mezzanotte I hope.
226 Nepean St, Ottawa, ON K2P0B8, CA
110 Murray St, Ottawa, ON K1N5M6, CA