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See also: Clarkstown Kitchen & Bar

Seafood at El Meson
Tapas at El Meson
Foods from El Meson

2012 Mar 31
I stopped in at El Meson as it had been a few years and it was great! I started with the gazpacho which was a deep red color and just popping with flavours, especially garlic. I asked for and received a recommendation for the pork stew (I was thinking braised lamb shanks). The excellent server gave an excellent recommendation as the pork stew was fantastic! A large bowl appeared ringed with mussels, crossed with two asparagus spears and a scattering of snap peas. Underneath lay several shrimp and beautiful stewed pork. The pork was very tender, steeped in a rich red gravy that was a little piquante and good to the last drop. I will go back very soon

2010 Jul 4
This remains one of my favourite restaurants in Ottawa. Great food, great (and unpretentious) service, and a good wine selection. The Zarzuela Costa Brava in particular is truly excellent.

2010 Apr 16
I'm guessing from your caramelized sugar and cream description, you're talking about dulce de leche which is in essence caramelized condensed milk.

2010 Apr 16
Well, this visit was a long time coming -- and El Meson did not disappoint.
I was lucky enough to score a date with the boyfriend to El Meson last Friday. I can't really comment too much on his meal -- as I was obsessed with my own -- but we both ordered from the table d'hote.
To start, I had gazpacho, which was fairly basic. I used the bread to sop it up, and despite the overcast, Ontario-ish, drizzly weather outside, I felt like I was in Spain for a few minutes. :)
The paella Valenciana came next -- just like Grandma makes. Highlights: The clams were so tasty. I have really never enjoyed clams as much as oysters and the like, but these just blared with flavour. And the saffrony goodness!
Meats in the dish included oysters, chicken, scallops, shrimps, squid and chorizo. It was a real carnivore's feast. Just perfect.
All in all, the dish was incredible. It was of such a portion that I, unfortunately, could not finish it. And this is a real feat for a restaurant.
For dessert, the boyfriend and I decided we were too stuffed to order our own so we split a very sweet dish, which has some caramelized sugar and cream over ice cream. I don't remember it too well, so my description might be off. I think I was in a food coma, but it was still fantastic. Anyone know what this is?
Bonus! The owner of the restaurant took us upstairs for an extra little tour of the house and chatted my ear off about Iberian food (where can we find a proper pulpo dish?) and soccer. He was absolutely lovely and charming.

Cost: $100+ for two, with 1/2 litre house red
Summary: Will definitely be back. It was well worth the cost. The atmosphere is great and the architectural details of the house itself make it a marvel. It was lovely to enjoy a traditional, proper paella without leaving the city. Finally, the servers are professional, friendly and attentive.

2007 Jul 28
The pictures posted by Fresh Foodie was the reason why we chose this restaurant one evening. Thank you, Fresh Foodie! I absolutely loved the tapas platter appetizer (shared with hubby) and the Costa Brava (my main) - delicious! Hubby had the bacalhau (don't remember what it is called) but it was fresh and good. Dessert was okay...nothing to shout about. Will definitely go back.

2007 Jul 9
I have never eaten here even though it's right near my house (shellfish allergy makes me wary of eating in Spanish or Portuguese restaurants) but my neighbour Cara is one of the cooks there. I will pass your compliments along FF!

2007 Jun 17
Went to this restraunt with my mother when she was in town. I'm taking Spanish over the summer, so I thought I might as well try Spanish/Portugese cuisine. It was certainly well worth the trip and the price of the meal. We shared an order of the muscles and were certainly not disappointed. For mains, I had the beef tenderloin and my mother had the chicken. Both were excellent, and my mother said that it was possibly the best chicken she's ever had. Desert was a caramel merangue which the waiter recomended as being "very Portugese" and which was quite nice, being crispy on the outside and very chewey inside.

The ambiance was nice, somewhat rustic feeling and comfortable. There was a table of shrinks also there, discussing work which was entertaining to listen to. The service was prompt and friendly, they even kept the kitchen open for us, as we had called around 8:30 from my mother's hotel to see if they were still open. I would definatly return.

2007 Feb 7
Went to this restaurant b/c of this website :)

Thought we were going for tapas. (They have a tapas for one/two on the appetizer menu, but not a full tapas menu. Whoops!) But, def a nice restaurant. Excellent service, can't say enough about our maitre d' (who was our server).

Since my boyfriend and I were in the mood for a tapas experience, we made the best of it and ordered a bunch of appetizers..

1) Mussels (Mejillones marineros): 10/10.
Best thing we had. Would absolutely recommend them. *Very* spicy with a kick. Even asked for more bread to sop up the white wine sauce.

2) Cod cakes: 6/10.
Delicate. Quite good on their own, but couldn't help feeling like there was something missing. An accompaniment of lemon sauce would have been perfect -- rather than just a squeeze from the lemon that is provided.

3) Chorizo sausages: 6/10.
OK. Tasty. Not outstanding. Served in slices and seared a bit. They are of the spicy variety, but not overpowering. No condiments came with so they were just OK.

4) Escargot (Caracoles Bourgonesa): 5/10.
Flavors were good (garlic sauce), but they were overcooked. 7 escargots served on 2 mushroom caps. The french do it better ;)

5) Caesar Salad: Rating 9/10
Can't really flaw this one. Fresh Caesar dressing. Not too much dressing on the greens. Could taste the anchovy. Nice.

2006 Nov 2
The food is great and the service is excellent. I love this restaurant!! In fact, I thought is was so good that my husband and I held our wedding and reception there 7 years ago. My friends still comment on how great the food was! I highly recommend this place.


2007 Jun 25
This was the Tapas Flamencas appetizer plate for two ($22). It was truly memorable and consisted of two each of:

* Grilled shrimp
* Slices of grilled Chouriço sausage
* Fried Pasteis de Bacalhau (cod cakes)
* Fried Rissois (shrimp turnovers)
* Fried Calamari (more than two of course, and really top notch)
* Slices of hard cheese
* Hard-boiled egg halves
* Slices of cucumber
* Slices of carrot
* Tomato
* Pickled artichoke heart
* Pickled pepperoncini peppers
* Wedges of deli-style pickle
* Assorted cold beans (yes, more than two)

2006 Sep 9
The Tapas Flamencas appetizer plate is very delicious!



2007 Jun 26
I went all out and ordered the Zarzuela Costa Brava, which is a seafood-lover's extravaganza:

* 1 small lobster tail
* 3 large shrimp
* 3 large scallops (delectable and super tender!)
* 3 clams
* numerous (a dozen or more) mussels
* numerous squid rings
* side plate containing tasty lentil rice and a vast assortment of vegetables
* a superfluous and somewhat tough slice of fried plantain, to give the dish visual flair

The sauce in this dish is truly awesome -- perhaps containing tomato, paprika, wine, cream, and a little butter. If I hadn't been so stuffed from our appetizer, I would have sopped it up with bread.

P.S. This photo doesn't really do the size of the dish justice. Many of the ingredients are hidden behind other ingredients. It is a plate of pure seafood. Fairly priced for what it is ($36).