I recently returned with my wife and a friend to D'Arcy McGees (44 Sparks Street, Ottawa) for some beer and a meal. I used to love coming on Thursday nights to this particular Irish themed pub in the early 2000s for the popular kitchen parties.
We arrived at an early 4:30 P.M. to take advantage of the pre-dinner Friday evening no wait. Due to this restaurant's prime location just steps from Parliament Hill and other nearby tourist destinations as well as it's popularity amongst tourists, this restaurant fills up pretty quickly.
The inside of the restaurant is like an old bar with tile intricate tile floors and wood bar. There are alcoves off the upstairs area where many tables are located. We were lead there by the appropriately Irish kilted hostess.
We perused our menus before awaiting our also Irish kilted waitress to return. When she did we were ready!
The Order: 1 The Club (Shave Turkey, crisp bacon, white Cheddar Cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced hothouse tomato, cranberry mayonnaise, and toasted multi-grain bread) with fries and a Keiths draft beer. 1 Ma's Crispy Chicken (Crisp water-cracker coating, buttermilk, mashed potatoes, rainbow slaw tossed in honey mustard, and creamed corn).
The food came within a reasonable 20 minutes. But the ambiance had changed with a group of about 10 office coworkers who were seated in the back corner in our alcove. This raised the noise level a lot so it became difficult to hold a conversation. Perhaps they could have sat them downstairs in the larger area where they have seating or out in the bar area. It was noticeably a little disturbing for others in our area as well. This was really our only complaint during our meal.
The Club sandwich was delicious with fresh turkey and decent white bread. Lettuce and tomatoes were also fresh on this quad cut bread held together with skewer sticks.
The fries were typical pub fries with skins slightly still left on. They appear to be similar to the fries that New York Fries made popular. but in the new hipster designer french fry bowl that seems to be catching on. The same bowl and plate combination was found at the Clocktower Brew Pub. Optically it separates the club sandwich, or whatever main dish, from the french fries. Quantity wise I still have doubts as it looks like restaurant is trying hide the reduction in the amount of fries served. In the end the fries were served hot with requisite grease drying.
The Ma's Crispy Chicken came with three pieces of what appeared to be long breaded chicken sticks. Crispy on the outside but somewhat still moist on the inside. Served along with the same fries as mentioned above and add a little ketchup at a times and it makes an pretty good meal.
Overall, D'Arcy McGees remains a reliable downtown pub. Loud at times with federal government workers after work for happy hour, but pretty decent at service and food. Service was quick and friendly with perfect timing on when to check in. A slight Irish feel to the bar also occurs. Still the touristy yet local welcoming spot I remember from yesteryear. Definitely an Ottawa Institution that continues.
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