Friday evening for dinner my wife and I perused Elgin Street for restaurant options to eat at. We had contemplated the newly opened Slice & Co but had noted in other reviews complaints of overpriced beer and $20-$30 priced gourmet pizzas. We walked by the restaurant to find it not very busy. To be fair it was only 4:30 P.M. on a Friday, but with the reviews being somewhat negative price wise and not many people there we decided to go elsewhere.
We looked at the Fox & Feather and the Mayflower for options. Years ago I had been to the Fox & Feather and it was satisfactory. But the Mayflower has been an Ottawa local institution for years and yet I had never set foot in the place. So we decided to test this out.
From the outside the Mayflower Restaurant & Pub (247 Elgin Street, Ottawa) looks quite dated. Located on the corner of Elgin & Cooper Streets, the Mayflower has a dated looking lightbox sign coupled with wood paneling that looked popular in the 1980s. In the summer a yellow awning overhangs the patio on Cooper Street side of the restaurant. The awing itself looks old school as well. Not much of a selling feature from the outside.
We entered to find a decent sized restaurant with, of course, wood paneling on the inside. Not a great first impression so far, but I did note that everything seemed clean and well maintained. There was an employee on the patio gradually putting out tables and inside a couple of tables were already occupied. One customer was even enjoying the free WiFi while enjoying a quiet dinner.
We stood at the front looking for an indication of whether we were to seat ourselves or wait for a host or waiter to come forth with menus and seat us. After awkwardly looking around for a minute, we mosied up to a window side table and sat down. Thirty seconds later we were greeted by a friendly waiter who offered us menus and inquired if we would like to order anything to drink. He left with our drink order only to return two minutes later with drinks and inquire if we were ready to order. Having settled on our choices we ordered.
The Order: 1 Trendy Sandwhich (grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato and other toppings) with fries and a glass of Pepsi and a Canadian Burger (Hamburger with two melted cheeses and all the toppings) with fries and a glass of water.
The service was quick and pleasant. The food came within ten minutes of ordering and the waiter returned twice during our meal to ensure we had everything we needed. Always a smiling and courteous manner.
The Trendy Sandwich was an average grilled chicken sandwich you would find at any pub. Solid old fashioned cooked food that any pub would bring forth topped with average toppings. Coupled with regular pub style fries of decent temperature and average taste, you can't go wrong. The only issue? If you are looking for interesting gourmet cooking, the Mayflower is not your place. The Mayflower sandwiches are average made sandwiches with no real flare, but that are heartwarming tasting to those looking for average pub fare.
The Canadian burger was different though. A cheese burger with marble style looking cheese instead of the average mozzarella processed crap found at other places. The burger itself was average pub paddy. Sided with the same average fries as the chicken sandwich the burger is, again, an average pub fare.
The Cooper Street patio seemed to be an Elgin Street favourite. As one of the Mayflower employees started setting out tables and chair sets the tables started to fill. The poor employee could barely set them up fast enough for the incoming clientele. The wait staff grew as the customer base grew as well with two others starting. Obviously service is key at the Mayflower as everything is perfectly timed and gracious smiles plastered on employee faces.
Overall, the Mayflower is steady local reliable pub that provides average food. Great spot for those who don't know how to cook at home and are looking for average down home cooking in sandwiches, fish and chips and the like accompanied perhaps with a beer and excellent service. If you are not looking for gourmet sandwiches and on edge food experimentation, the Mayflower is not for you. But if you are looking for a decent meal with great service, the Mayflower could almost be your second home.