I live in Ottawa. I brought my two guests from California to the Cafe of the National Arts Centre. The Cafe borders on the RIdeau Canal, and seems a pleasant place to have lunch. We showed up without a reservation, although there were plenty of tables available. A waiter requested that we stand by the hostess' podium and wait to be assigned a table. We waited. One of my guests had enough time to excuse himself and take an extended break in the rest rooms and return. Still no hostess. She finally showed up, and her pained demeanor and facial expression conveyed to us how much she hated her job, and how she felt she was doing us a favor by finding a table for us. She led us to a corner of the restaurant where she told us a waiter would be with us shortly, she fiddled around with some napkins behind a counter, and left. We're still not seated.
Finally we get a table, and after five minutes or so, a waiter comes and takes our order. One of my guests and I both order a smoked chicken omelette. The meal took at least half an hour if not more, to get to us, during which time we were basically ignored -- except for a brief visit by the waiter to tell us that the omelettes were taking time because they were very thick and fluffy. They'll be here in ten minutes.When they arrived, twenty minutes later, they had all the appearance of a slice of quiche with a salad. I don't know where the "thick and fluffy" disappeared. The baked surface was tough; the chicken inside was equally tough. All the wait staff looked as if they had better things to do than to serve customers. They shuffled around, trying to look busy and chatted with each other by the cash register.
I am not impressed and would not recommend this restaurant. The location is wonderful, but the service and the food are its failure. Sad to say, the National Arts Centre deserves better.
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