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“Very good in every way” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of izakaya - CLOSED

izakaya
Cuisines: Japanese, Spanish, Asian, Thai
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Montreal
Level Contributor
122 reviews
85 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Very good in every way”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2012

I had the opportunity to try Izakaya with a dear friend who lives in Ottawa and had tried it once before. Fortunately, contrary to the weather forecast, the rain stayed away, which enabled us to eat out on the terrace. Service was efficient and courteous. The food also did not disappoint. We tried the seared arctic char and shrimp vermicelli after splitting the pan fried dumplings, but just about everything on the menu looked tempting.

The "Thai Me On" cucumber/gin concoctions are also rather tasty, if not a little dangerous! I don't go to Ottawa very often, but I would definitely go back to Izakaya.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank GingersMom66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

57 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    9
    27
    12
    4
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
29 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Vegan Foodie is not an Oxymoron”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 2012

Looking for Asian on Elgin, we spied the Izakaya great sign and dropped in. Plenty for omnivores, but for us, mostly vegan, lots to try. And we did. First, a "side" was a plentiful bowl
of chilli eggplant, beautifully spiced. Asked for the ingredients and got them from the fine co-owner Laila Mahmoud whose Lebanese background ensures that dishes are really
flavorful! Next, light and delicious vegetarian tempura in a large overflowing bowl. And we tried
dumplings - deepfried with tofu and a fine sauce. Next time, we'll do less on the fried side.
This is a smart restaurant with a creative chef. The young couple who have made an
extensive and expensive reno in the food desert of Elgin Street should be widely supported
by Ottawans and city visitors looking for innovative food. A new regular for us.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank susangibson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
67 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Asian fusion in need of focus”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2012

If you come to Izakaya on Elgin expecting a genuine izakaya -- i.e. a Japanese drinking place with plenty of snacks based on Japanese cuisine -- you're going to be a bit disappointed.

I say "a bit" because what *this* Izakaya is, is Asian fusion cuisine in a neighborhood dominated by Brit pubs and Thai offerings. In this context, "Izakaya" is simply a marketing brand and not really connected to anything related to authenticity. That doesn't mean its offerings aren't good. But they *are* ... well, a bit uneven.

I went there for Sunday brunch, which is definitely not their busy time but worth checking to see if their quality slackens during an off-peak period. I had their lobster noodle soup: the temperature varied from just over lukewarm with the coconut-milk-infused broth (not a good sign, when it comes to Asian noodle soups) to piping with the noodles (not soggy, but not really al dente either). The shrimp was cooked to a pleasant consistency, and the spicing itself was handled fairly well, for an Asian fusion flavour, but overall it was disappointing.

They offered dessert, a "candy bar" offering which was handled much better: crispy rice coated in caramel over a chocolate brownie enhanced with a peanut sauce, very well done.

The service is definitely friendly and it was fun to hear the waiter rattle the dessert menu off the top of his head. Decor is on the high-end side, which is an improvement over the restaurant that used to be here and definitely in line with clientele that frequent this neighborhood.

Bearing in mind that this is a two-month-old restaurant, no doubt as time goes by the overall menu and cooking quality will improve. But if they're going to pursue this path I say they need to change their name: "izakaya" is much too specific a resto style to be used in this context.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank VWOttawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ottawa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“great lunch at Izakaya”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 1, 2012

Just got back from lunch at Izakaya on Elgin Street(used to be Crabdaddy's) and had to write a review. It was that good.

I had the Basil Shrimp Vermicelli with tamarind sauce and other delicious flavours - $15. Excellent.

My co-worker had the Coconut Pumpkin soup to start ($7) and she couldn't stop raving about it. Her main was tofu with rice ($ ?? can't remember but between 10 - 15)which she found was very good too, but could have used a little more sauce for the rice at the bottom of the bowl. The tofu looked fantastic and tasted fantastic.

Service was excellent and attentive - in French and in English. The waiter heard us speak French and switched his English to French.

Overall a really good lunch. I'll definately return for that pumpkin soup and also to check out the dinner menu.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank LikeToTravelYeah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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