Address: 54 York St. Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 5T1 (Byward Market)
Phone: (613) 241-3474
Byward Market is quite a neat place with flee markets, boutiques and restaurants everywhere. It reminds me a bit of Quincy Market in Boston. They both have a similar idea and airy atmosphere; both chilly and cold in the winter.
The Fish Market is on the main floor of the building. The second floor is a sister restaurant that serves all you can eat seafood meals and the basement is a brother restaurant that serves more seafood. On the day we went (Sunday), only the Fish Market was opened during noon hours.
The moment you step inside, the decor will feel like you have traveled back in time or you went to your cottage. It was all made with wood at every corner – wooden beams, doors, benches, tables, stairs and floors – with sailor or ocean related ornaments – nets, variety of fish species, crustacean species, and fishermen boats, buoys – hung on the beams. It carried out the seafood and maritime theme quite appropriately. It was warm, friendly and comfortable in appearance, but quite dated too.
Complimentary bread and dip from the restaurant. The bread was steaming hot, crunchy crust and soft interior. But what impressed me the most was the oil / sauce. The oil was infused with garlic, tarragon, marjoram, chili pepper, peppercorn, dried basil and salt. It was sweet, salty and spicy, great combination. We asked for bread refills nonstop.
Smoked Salmon Sushi Roll ($11.99) was filled with stone crab meat, cucumber, mango and red onion, wrapped in smoked salmon. Mediocre and salty. Texture was soft and weird.
Spicy Crab Cakes ($13.99) was fried fresh crab meat blended with herbs, served with lemon & garlic aioli.
Creamy Clam Chowder ( cup 5.99 or bowl 9.99) was a restaurant exclusive recipe loaded with clams, potato and vegetables. The size ordered was a bowl. There was lack of clam flavour and the texture was very starchy, too much potatoes. No doubt it was filling but it was quite a disappointment for me.
Steamed Canadian Mussels ($12.99) was done In your choice of 3 sauces: vegetable, white wine & garlic OR a spicy Cajun style creole tomato sauce OR creamy mushroom & leak sauce. This particular one was the white wine & garlic sauce. The dish was well worth the price, as the portion size was huge and every shell had a meat attached to it. Mussels were fresh and chewy, burst of flavours in your mouth as you bite into it. Voted the best out of the selection ordered.
Fried Calamari ($11.99) was seasoned and deep fried with a sour cream dill sauce. Big portion of lightly battered calamari, fried to nice crispy texture on the outside and chewy rubbery calamari on the inside. The dish was standard, felt like any other pub style calamari rings, but less oil.
Grilled Steak with Mashed Potatoes was standard, once again. It is a stapled item for all restaurants. No compliments or dislikes to the steak.
Florida Swordfish Steak ($27.99) was BBQ and finished with a strawberry peppercorn salsa. This fish was the highlight of the meal because I find swordfish quite fresh and interesting. It had a rough meat texture (think of sandpaper), but flaky. It reminds me a bit like shark meat, where the rough texture is from natural selection. The strawberry salsa adds a hint of sweetness to the fish. Mixed with a bit of lemon juice, it softens up the meat and adds depth to the overall taste. It was a choice with variable flavours but not confusing where you would be thinking “huuuuh”.
Overall, Fish Market was not too memorable that I will always visit if I am in Ottawa. In a way, disappointing.