Ottawawinejournal.com is designed to provide wine and food enthusiasts in the National Capital Region and across Canada a fun, engaging insider's guide to fine wine, beer, and spirits, dining, special events, recipes, and much more.
Resident and guest bloggers not only reside in the National Capital Region, but also in the Greater Toronto Area, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Quebec. Blogs will be written in both official languages.
We hope you enjoy the ride as much as us.
Sunday, 30 March 2014
EL CAMINO - not your regular neighbourhood spot
Rachel reviews Ottawa's trendiest taqueria
March 29, 2014
Ok I am going to tell
you a secret: I didn't want to like this place. The hoopla I've heard about
wait times, texting to say your table is ready (ode to modernity) and the
nouveau Elgin hipster crowd made me doubtful.
But a girlfriend and I
decided to take the plunge. And ooooooooh did I fall....
We arrived just before 6:30
on Saturday night to an already 45-min wait line and a crowd milling outside
waiting for their take out orders (this will be tip number 1 later on). No
problem we said, a cold beer is waiting for us patiently two doors down at the
Manx. And yes, it's true, they say they'll text you when your table is ready.
This is much more agreeable in reality than I thought it would be, I must
After an hour, we
decided to head back of our own volition to find we had to elbow our way
through throngs of hungry hungry hipsters (wasn't that an 80s kids game??) to
wait another 15 min before being seated next to the door. By this point, it
could have been minus 30 and I still would have taken the table. We watched
throughout our meal as people were told how long the wait would be, even up to 9:30
when the host told two customers it would be a THREE-HOUR wait. I laughed out
loud... we're not in Spain.
Now, here comes the
biggest however ever: the food is amazing. Hands down without a doubt worth the
wait before during and after your meal. Our server was cute, yes. But we waited
10-15 minutes before she came over to take our drink order... good thing we
weren't in a rush.
tacos" portion of the menu is actually much more interesting. Prawn
stuffed betel leafs that are a deep-friend mouthwatering version of mint tea.
Pork belly served with mango slaw, peanuts, and some mystery sauce... and I
never go for pork belly.
The tacos were really
quite good. The beef was pulled and a reasonably moderate portion. If you had
shared a starter you could eat easily two or three. The fish tacos are a bit
bigger, and because it's battered, a tad heavier, but oh so worth it.
The kicker?? And the
point when I understood why there was such a demand: the whole bill with 4
beers, 3 starters and 2 tacos, including tax was 60 dollars. Whaaaaat? We
walked out of there as smug as the lady from the Ikea commercial. El Camino for
Rating (tips): get take
out. The food would be just as good and you're not missing out on much else...
If you really want to sit and eat: arrive before 6 and don't sit by the door.