The Yellow Canoe Cafe is hard to find. It is at the back of the building in the first heritage building on the main street near the intersection that leads to the bridge across the canal.
We chose this as a lunch place because I am a believer in that the crowd is always right, and the Yellow Canoe Cafe was packed. The ambiance is great. A yellow canoe hangs from the wall. The view of heritage buildings from the window is superb. The staff is helpful, amazing and well trained, in spite of an inordinate amount of body piercings on them. All great people though.
The menu is limited but it is obvious that care is taken in the food. The bread is artisan bread. The menu has such things as pulled pork sandwich and a zinger version called the Zesty Pig. There was a lovely pear and ginger soup. There are no fries on the menu in spite of a club sandwich on the menu, which is good for the waistline, but bad for me because I am a fry addict or a french fryaholic. There is the usual cafe items, and this is one of the few places where one can still get a Ploughman's Lunch. It was a rather perfunctory Ploughman's Lunch with artisan bread, but a good one nonetheless, in spite of a misery amount of groceries.
That is my one complaint about the place. The waitress touted the pulled pork so I went for it, and when it came, I was a little amazed at how small the sandwich was. The Ploughman's lunch had just a few meager slices of cheese.
The food is fabulous. The julienne carrots were actually dilled (marinated in dillweed) before being added to the salad, which shows that attention is paid to the food. The salad had toasted walnuts which gave a very pleasant and unexpected taste. The bread, what little of it came, was heavenly.
It is obvious that this is where the locals eat for lunch. The food is healthy. There are wonderful desserts like the gluten-free coconut macaroons which are fabulous. As for ambiance, there is a heater that works well that pumps out a lot of heat, so that the place is always toasty. There are some amazing photographs on the wall that have obviously been taken somewhere on the path of the paddle. And of course, there is the yellow canoe on one wall and a lithograph of a yellow canoe below it.
So all in all, this is still the go-to place for lunch. As for the crowd-sourcing, the Yellow Canoe Cafe has the numbers to be number one, but I am going to rate in average in value, because of the small portions. The Ploughman's Lunch rang in at thirteen dollars, and the pulled pork sandwich for the full portion (a half portion is available .. for canaries I suppose), came in around $11 which is a little high for the quantity. If the sandwich was bigger, I wouldn't have minded the price.
The wine is meh -- they need someone who can pick wines. The beers on the other hand are fabulous. We had a Netherworld Flying Monkey Dark from Barrie Ontario which is a dark stout and delicious. The Cracked Canoe from Moosehead was a delightful beer, with a nice hop fragrance. The bottled beer was $5 per bottle, which is OK, I guess.
Lunch for two came to about $40 which is high considering that I went away wanting more. So we will be back if we are ever in Merrickville again, but I really do hope that they hop up the portion size or lower the price.
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