Foods from Wilfrid's

2014 May 1
My soon to be wife and I stayed at the Chateau Laurier for a weekend and originally were going to eat at Zoe's piano Lounge. Plans changed when we saw how crowded it was on a Saturday night. We were looking for something quieter and more romantic. Crossed the lobby and went to Wilfrid's. Was very pleased with the way we were greeted and treated. Very lovely atmosphere. My fiancée ordered the Beet Salad and ordered me the Prime Rib. I was absolutely amazed with the taste, presentation, and overall value for the price. My fiancée commented the same. The food was presented very well, and the flavour was phenomenal. To this day neither one of us has eaten so well. The overall ambience and atmosphere was exactly what we wanted and more from a romantic dinner. If you are looking for a memorable romantic dinner, Wilfrid's is the place.

2010 Aug 16
Came here for Sunday brunch yesterday. While it had a stellar selection of salads, cheeses and desserts, I found the hot selections to be lacking in flavour (perhaps too long under the heat lamps?) and hardly any vegetarian options. We had to chase down the chef who mans the omelette station and waited 15 minutes for our requested eggs benedict to be made without ham - we were told it would only take two or three minutes, and to come pick them up at the counter, so we ended up standing there the whole time.

We were told we could not get a table before 1:30. When we arrived at 1 p.m., once the hostess who, head down, literally appeared to be sleeping at her station was alerted to our presence, we were seated immediately - perhaps because the dining room was more than half empty! Service was absent-minded at best. I was asked if I wanted more coffee and orange juice, but my glass and cup were never refilled. When it came time to pay the bill, our waitress disappeared and we had to chase down a waitress from another section.

The decor of the dining room is quite plain - it lacks the elegant furnishings you will see in dining rooms in other Fairmont hotels. However, the windows, facing Rideau, are large and let in a lot of light.

At $40 a head, you won't go hungry, but it's definitely not up to snuff compared to other brunch buffets of equivalent price at other Fairmont hotels.

2010 Jan 23
I've lived in Ottawa since the mid-70's, and yet, in all that time I've never once dined at the Chateau Laurier - until this week. I think the main reason is a strong feeling that hotel dining rooms generally don't offer good value for the money. Still, that hasn't stopped me from trying others of that ilk, such as the Westin, Marriot, and Brookstreet. Maybe the Chateau's somewhat stuffy dowager image is part of it too. Judging from the dearth of reviews here, other foodies seem to share those feelings. What finally provided the impetus to give Wilfrid's a try was a two-for-one coupon that we picked up last fall at the Wine & Food Show. It allowed both of us to have the three-course table d'hote for a mere $49 - such a deal!

No fancy touches like an amuse-bouche, but some good bread to start. We both had the same starter (from a choice of three or four), a trio of smoked fish - salmon, trout, and mackeral. This was a definite hit - well-presented and very tasty. For mains (again, from a choice of four or so), I went for lamb tenderloin, and my wife had the steelhead trout. The lamb was nicely prepared (rare), and came with small roasted onions (delish), garlic mashed potatoes (good), and small green beans (meh). Green beans look nice, but all too often they are completely devoid of taste, and these were no exception. My wife's trout was perfectly cooked, and it had a more interesting accompaniment: baby bok choy and Jerusalem artichoke hash. Very nice! For dessert, just two choices, a cheese plate or bread pudding. We both opted for the latter, and were very pleased with it. Rum-soaked, with a small scoop of fig ice cream, it slid down very easily.

There is a fairly small selection of wines by the glass, all around $10. I tried a Vineland gewurztraminer with my starter... the first pour was slightly corked, and was cheerfully replaced. The replacement was okay, but was remarkably bland and nondescript for a gewurz - there are many better choices out there. The wines we had with our mains, a cab/merlot and unoaked chardonnay, both from the Gretzky winery, were much better. These wines retail in the $14-$16 range, so the markup is a bit steep, but that's par for the course these days.

The dining room is very pleasant and quiet (and nearly empty on this Monday evening), and we had a good view, looking towards the Parliament buildings. Service was friendly and efficient. All in all, we really enjoyed our evening at Wilfrid's. Back to the value proposition... is it worth the money? This time, given the special deal, the answer was clearly yes, but at the regular price, maybe not. For two, with wine accompaniment (a couple of glasses each, say), you could easily top $150 before tax and tip, and there are quite a few places I'd rank ahead of Wilfrid's if I wanted to spend that kind of money. On the other hand, if you were looking for a nice quiet place where you could treat your elderly grandparents, this could be the perfect choice.

2008 Aug 30
Just got back from a fab dinner at Wilfrid's. Both the food and the service there was excellent. Although the prices are higher than many places, the food and service were well worth it. I'm not complaining, especially since we were taking advantage of a special offer so we didn't pay full price (thus leaving our son's college fund intact... he can thank me later once he's edu-muh-cated). Bear in mind too that for an entree I did order the most expensive thing on the menu. You only live once, right?

I started with the "Coastal Seafood Trilogy" (Pan Crisped Atlantic Salmon, Sea Scallop and Grilled Jumbo Prawn with Sweet Pea and Gewürstraminer Essence) although the prawns were a little overcooked in my opinion (but hey, I like 'em less cooked than most). Parts one and two of the Trilogy were impeccable and the Sweet Pea and Gewurstraminer Essence was a marvelous flavour combination.

For an entree, my wife had Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon that was essentially the same (but bigger) as part one of the Trilogy appetizer... it must have been at least as good as the appy version because I didn't even get a taste. I opted for the "Spiced “Kanata Elk Ranch” Tenderloin and Grilled Jumbo Prawns" ... I know that I'm gonna be visiting the Ranch in the near future in order to try to recreate this one in my own kitchen. If you go to Wilfrids and you like your red meat do yourself a favour and order the elk. Again however, I found the prawns to be a little overdone... but like I said before, I prefer them to be almost sushi.

All in all it was a great dinner. Both my wife and I would go again... as soon as we tap into our son's college fund. ;)


2007 Sep 30
A nice upscale brunch buffet with goodies such as freshly carved roast beef, eggs benedict made to order, snow crab claws, along with your standard breakfast/brunch fare like bacon, sausage, hash browns. There was quite a large dessert selection of pastries/pies/cakes as well, which I unfortunately didn't have room for. All of the food I sampled was excellent as I expected (and it better be for ~$40/head)

Service was friendly and efficient - plates whisked away quickly, water always full, coffee topped up accordingly. My only complaint - the lineup moved painfully slow! Like a slow crawl during rush-hour traffic. Come on people - it's a buffet you can always go back for more. Make reservations as seats fill up quite quickly here.


2007 Sep 21
The brunch buffet has a little eggs benny station with your choice of smoked salmon (!) or ham. They even take a little blowtorch to it after the hollandaise topping.