Izakaya Ottawa

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A big part of why we love to travel is to check out all the top restaurants in the city we are visiting. I tend to be a bit of a foodie nerd, and spend considerable time researching various restaurant websites and reviews before making reservations. During our recent visit to Ottawa, we ended up trying a relatively new restaurant by chance.

We had initially planned to try the much heralded Colonnade Pizza for lunch on Canada Day, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be – it was closed like so many other restaurants on that day. So we ended up strolling along Elgin Street and checking out menus at the various restaurants that were open. I always hate this situation – picking a restaurant at random with the potential for disaster. We decided on an Asian Fusion restaurant called Izakaya Asian Kitchen.

The branding and decor at Izakaya is very cool – upscale but still casual. In addition to a fairly large indoor dining area, they also have a nice little patio. We decided to eat inside to beat the heat on this very hot and muggy Canada Day. When I started this blog, I always said I would be perfectly honest with my reviews – always hoping that I wouldn’t have to say anything disparaging about other businesses. Unfortunately, our initial experience at Izakaya was not a good one. But I’m happy to say, they recovered nicely.

We arrived fairly early for lunch with only two other tables of patrons seated on the patio. We placed our order, and then waited, and waited, and waited. After a couple more diners arrived and we noticed one of them received their food before us, we knew there was a problem.


Right away our server acknowledged the error (I don’t think our order was placed with the kitchen) – and offered us complimentary cocktails and dessert on the house – which made our daughter quite happy. Several staff members including the manager dropped by to apologize for the error, which told us that it was an honest mistake and not something they felt very good about. Our food arrived shortly thereafter, and was well worth the wait.

We ordered a mixed vegetable tempura to start which was light and crispy and came with a tasty spicy mayo dip. For our mains, we ordered the BBQ Pulled Pork Po Boy sandwich and the special on that day, the Tamarind Braised Beef Short Rib burger. Both dishes had a nice presentation and were super flavourful and featured fresh ingredients. The fries, both regular and sweet potato, were also delicious. The dinner menu looks really interesting too. Even with the little mix-up, I would not hesitate to re-visit Izakaya. Great food and friendly service. Highly recommended. For now, back to the cage.