I grew up in Ottawa but moved away when I was 8. When I go back I often stick to the By-ward market area because I like the coziness of it. There are the stores I frequent each trip, my favorite Vietnamese restaurant (Saigon, also listed on this blog), and its just comfortable.
One of my friends who lives in Ottawa finally got me out of my “comfort” zone recently and reminded how much more Ottawa has to offer.
My day job brings me to Ottawa on a regular basis. As a result I have spent the last few years trying various restaurants in the Byward Market (close to my hotel) to find a few favourites that I can count on.
I recently found myself at the Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant located at 85 Clarence Street. I can’t believe I had not tried Saigon sooner. You will now be hard pressed to find me anywhere else when I’m in town.
The staff at Saigon are welcoming, making one feel that they are happy to have you there just like a family run type of place. The decor is simple with Vietnamese accents. What shines about this restaurant is not fancy surroundings but the food.
Being a creature of habit in what I order at Vietnamese restaurants, I was happy to see that Saigon had a few of my favourites on the menu. I have also dined here with others ordering a variety of dishes off the menu and have loved each one. For those not in the mood for traditional Vietnamese entrees, there is also a small selection of Thai dishes.
Now most of us probably have a preconceived notion of what a hotel restaurant experience is like. Monotone decor that is basically an extension of the decor in your room, to go with overpriced “meh” food. Well all you need to do is visit The Albion Rooms at the Novotel hotel in Ottawa to blow all your preconceived notions away.
Walking into The Albion Rooms this morning was like walking into a luxurious country estate out of a Christmas fable. Warm red velvet accents in the dining area accompanied by, gold gilded oversized lamps against creamy subway tiles in the kitchen area, creates a space you never want to leave. I walked along the rich wood floor and settled into a velvet chair to take it all in. Is this seriously a hotel restaurant? Continue reading