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Fiamma -2



Foods from Fiamma

2011 Feb 19
We just got back from eating there amd were not impressed. On the bright side, the service was excellent, the staff accommodating. The quality of the food was another matter.

We ordered bruschetta, garlic cheese bread with marinara dipping sauce, penne arabiatta and linguine primavera.

The waitress was attentive, cheerful and pleasant.
The food was bland, overpriced, underseasoned and improperly cooked. Terrible chef. I thought a teenager cooked it until the waitress informed me otherwise.

The garlic cheese bread was, basically, garlic-free. Maybe he waved a clove over it at some point, but there was no garlic on the bread and too much cheap margarine. The 'marinara' dipping sauce was plain old canned tomato sauce and cost $4.00 extra.

The bruschetta was a little better, but the chopped tomato was fridge-cold and flavourless. Any decent cook knows tomatoes are not kept in the fridge, or if so, served at room temperature.

The five ounce glass of wine was much closer to three, although the glasses of the couple next to us looked to be about five ounces.

When the main dishes came, the penne was so hard that it was absolutely inedible - and I LIKE mine al a dente. There was no meat, no veg, just the noodles and sauce. They offered to sautee it longer, which was when I found out that it was not freshly made, but par-cooked in the morning, held in cold water in the fridge and then sauteed in a pan with the sauce and spices to warm it up.

My partner's primavera pasta was bland, nothing special, but at least cooked enough to eat.

We spent $88. plus the tip for bland, boring overpriced, badly cooked food. We had been looking for a good Italian restaurant in the west end to frequent, since it is my favourite sort of food, and this was a dreadful disappointment.

I am from the Niagara/Buffalo area where there are many excellent Calabrian, Neapolitan and Sicilian restaurants, most of them mom-and-pops, and I have not yet, to date, found anything even remotely comparible in the Ottawa area. I'll keep looking though... any suggestions anyone - we don't like cream or rose sauces, just the tomato, garlic and spices sort.

2010 Mar 21
I'll have to chalk up my previous comment to a "one-off" poor experience.

Returned to Fiamma this week-end...service was great, atmosphere was lively, and the meal delicious.


I was able to get one escargot from my wife's opening selection. The creamy gorgonzola sauce does tricks/flips with the palate...very good.

Carpaccio: nicely arranged, with plenty of capers/red onion/parmigiano. The crustini a perfect companion.

Tip: if sweet drinks are your fancy...the bartender mixed up something outside of the Martini menu for my wife. He called it an "RSBD" or something similar. Citrus Vodka, Smirnoff Vanilla, Frangellico, and something else. Tasted like a Lowney's Cherry Blossom (with chocolate hints). Usually not my thing, but this I liked.

2010 Jan 27
In recent months Fiamma has added Beau's Beer they carry both Lug Tread & Seasonals. Unfortunately, this Restaurant has a poor set-up for Kegs... they are kept far away from where the taps are (back room) so the lines have to run quite a distance to reach the taps... the downside is the beer doesn't pour cold, and is quite heady. "The Man" has tried beer here several times in hope that things would improve... but they haven't.

Perhaps Management will see this Review and note that they have a problem and should rectify it.

2009 Dec 28
One of the few good restaurants in Barrhaven

We go there often, their lunch menu is great and a good deal.

When we go there for supper it's always been amazing, the food is so fresh and well prepared. Presentation is great.

We always have the escargot appetizer, it's to die for. My husband usally gets the penne with sausage and always loves it. I usually get the pasta with clams and white wine sauce and I'm usually full after it's half gone but always finish it because it's too good to leave on my plate (and let's face it, food is never as good re-heated the next day, especially pasta). The restaurant also has a nice ambiance to it and makes for a great romantic dinner out or a nice place to gather with friends and/or family. Top notch.
All of my colleagues also agree it's a great place to eat and the restaurant has been utilized for company parties and catering.

2009 Oct 25
Has anyone been to Fiamma recently?

I was quite impressed back in December of 2008 (Veal Saltimboco was just as described below)...


We went back in the spring of 2009, and there was a drastic shift:
- reservation was far from required (early evening and the place was perhaps half full)
- I have a lot of patience when it comes to poor service. That came in handy this time around. We saw our server twice (once to take the order/once to bring it). I'm not kidding, we actually had to ask the other server for our bill.
- as for the food itself, I can't even remember what I obviously it was at the median point between awful and fantastic.

Anyway, is it time to give them another shot? Or should I just replace Fiamma with Fratelli's for those "stay in Barrhaven" nights?

2008 Oct 5
Dropped in here on a Friday night a couple of weeks ago (without a reservation)… the place was packed! The hostess at the station by the door gave us a friendly greeting, and just as she was about to say “Do you have a Reservation?” we said… “We can sit at the bar”. So we were welcomed inside. As I looked around I noticed that every table was full, and I mean full, there wasn’t an empty chair in the house, and after we arrived only 2 remained vacant at the bar. It is good to see Fiamma back on top of their game!

I ordered a Hemmingway Martini to start, and “The Man” a cocktail. We perused the menu while the one of the servers brought us our cutlery, sideplates and glasses of water. The special on this particular evening was a dish that featured two scampi on a bed of pasta in a cream sauce. At almost $ 30 it was by far the most expensive item on the menu, but these crustaceans were calling my name… “The Man” settled on the Veal Saltimboco.

We ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine Cassagnoles of France (a favourite of ours from our summertime visits to the Fourth Avenue Wine Bar). Our server soon returned with the Fiamma’s Wood Oven Baked Bread and the dipping plate of EVOO and Balsamic, along with two great wine glasses, and our chosen bottle.

After enjoying our pre-dinner drinks and the bread course… our mains arrived. “The Man’s” Veal was cooked to perfection and served with prosciutto in a white wine and butter cream sauce, it also came with a side of veggies and roasted parisien potatoes. Meanwhile, my giant scampis (and they were huge… as big as a regular lobster tail) were bathing in the garlicly cream sauce and melted in my mouth with every bite. We both agreed the meal was fabulous!

2008 Jun 17
After a recent visit have been informed that their Martini Bar is now open Thursday and Friday Evenings from 10 PM to 2 AM. They have a collection of 40+ Drinks (Standard Martinis, Cosmos, Flirtinis, Dessertinis) and such to select from.

Can't comment further as I have not visited during "Lounge" Hours, but will report back after I do.

2008 May 3
Went there for dinner last night. We made a reservation for 645pm and when we arrived it was packed. Another couple arrived at the same time as us (without a reservation) and were told it would be 8pm before a seating would likely open. So we were glad we had called before going.

This was my first time here and my hubbies second. I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere (once you get past the strip mall thing). It was a tad loud at times but not overly intrusive.

Our table was not quite ready when we arrived and went to the bar and ordered our wine. No sooner had it been poured and our booth was ready. The pleasant waitress immediately took our appy order...interesting since most restaurants would wait for you to order apps and mains at the same time. I felt a little pressured and rushed by this but I think some people prefer to order separately so that they do not have to wait as long for the first course.

The bread also arrived immediately after sitting and while we were still reading the menu..again most would prefer to have it brought after ordering so that you can relax and enjoy the bread while you wait for the food...not sure if that was inexperience on the waitress part or a norm for the restaurant.

All fairly small complaints since the rest of the meal was wonderful. We shared a beef carpaccio...most of the apps are very large portions and I would recommend sharing, esp given the prices....17 for the beef. It had wonderful thin shaved beef and the olive oil was not too overpowering. Could have used a little more Parmesan but also had a refreshing side of capers, diced olives, tomatoes, shredded lettuce and diced red onion...nice variation on this classic.

For mains I had the Pollo Amaretto (Chicken breast, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, amaretto). Again lovely twist with a nice balance of the sweet and salty with neither overdone. Hubby had Veal Saltimboco (Veal Scallopini, prosciutto, white wine, butter, sage) which he 'mummed' over the whole meal.

We then shared a chocolate layer cake...with 6 different textures and types of chocolate ...absolutely divine, and had a double espresso and cappuccino, both satisfying.

The prices are a tad high and have obviously gone up even since the menu was posted on the website. It was $182 after tip for the 2 of us with a $69 bottle of wine. But I would still return especially since the rest of the menu sounded very enticing. Perhaps we will try the house red and see if we can have an equally enjoyable meal with a slightly lower price.

2008 Feb 25
Sorry, for the delay in getting this review up, but I've been mulling the whole experience over in my mind trying to decide what to write.

We were here about a month ago, for a quiet birthday celebration. A few years ago, this was a fairly regular spot for us, besides being conveniently local, it met the 3 pillars of tastey food, good service and atmosphere. Since early 2007 this has been a hit and miss experience.

First, the location was sold, and the new owners closed it for several months, before opening it in the same format albeit a somewhat more expensive menu and wine list.

Under new ownership, this restaurant has struggled to "find itself" again. The food and service on many nights have been hit & miss. Often times its greatest failings have been the constant turn-over of staff, and new servers who are not familiar with the menu, wine list or long-time clientele. And it shows in the "bums in seats". Back in 2005, you couldn't get near this place on a weekend without a reservation.

Our most recent visit was a Sunday evening. The place was very quiet with under 10 tables occupied (say about 25 people in total). In my experience this is unusual for a weekend evening. There was friendly greeting and our drink order was taken. "The Man" ordered a cocktail, and I opted for one of the martinis (they have a list of about 10 different ones). The drinks were delivered quickly, unlike the time we visited in November when the Bartender joked (not really) that he'd have to look up the recipe. Shortly after the arrival of our drinks, came a nice hot loaf of bread (baked in their stone pizza oven) and a dish with EVOO & Balsamic. Their bread is great, unfortunately, sometimes this item isn't always remembered by the wait staff, and water also can be hit & miss.

"The Man" and I shared a large ceasar salad. This dish is usually quite good, unfortunately this time there was too much dressing, and therefore the garlic was overpowering.

For Mains "The Man" ordered the Veal Marsala (which to their credit they continue to do well) and inlieu of potatoes, he instead opted for a side of spagetti. As a bonus, the plate did also come with the veggies. I ordered the Seafood Linguini with garlic, tomatoes & basil. We washed it all down with Mandolin's Merlot (they have a decent selection of wines including many by the glass). And then relaxed with cappucinos.

What made this visit, stand out from other recent ones was the service. We had a very pleasant gal named Chelsea. She was friendly, efficient and did her job with pride. At the end of the meal, she sent out a complimentary tiramasu, confessing that she had heard us discussing the "birthday". When we stated we weren't sure we could get thru it, she said she'd happily wrap it up for us to take home.

Overall the experience was a good one this time, and that is primarily owing to Chelsea.

--- --- ---

Unfortunately, just as I was looking forward a return visit, I heard that they are but again going to make a change in the upcoming weeks. They are planning to add a martini bar (at first glance a good move following the neighbourhoods recent loss of the Terra Grill and their well attended martini nights). However, the Bartender admitted that they are not really renovating to add this feature, but merely taking out some of the centre tables and putting in high-tops. Somehow I don't see how this is a positive, (especially if they have Bartender # 1 working, LOL). IMO they should stop "trying to find themselves" and just do what they have done well in the past... provide good food in an otherwise sea of disappointment in Barrhaven. That and ensure that their staff are happy enough to stay on and provide friendly, professional service to an on-going customer base.

We'll no doubt be back in the months to come... so I will post and update then.

2007 Jun 9
seafood pescatore



2008 Oct 5
Fiamma serves both traditional Martinis and the more popular Martini Cocktail (the girlie ones). In the latter category there are some great choices, beyond the standard Cosmopolitan (which they also do very well).

My current favourite is the Hemmingway Martini which features premium Vodka, White Rum, Cranberry and Pineapple Juices, and is garnished with a couple of frozen cranberries. Very tasty!

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As we haven’t been in much over the summer… we inquired about the Weekend Martini Lounge. We were told that it had been very slow in the summertime (with everyone away or entertaining at home) but there are plans to perhaps start it up again later this Fall. I will keep everyone posted.


2009 Mar 5
The antipasto at Fiamma is decribed in the menu as:
“Traditional Italian Meats, Pickled Veggies, Roasted Red Peppers, Garnished Appropriately.”

I for one am unsure if this dish is prepared on site (ie the Roasted Red Peppers) or if it is a case of a variety items that are purchased "as is" and then combined by the kitchen and presented on a nice plate or platter… I do know that the “garnishes” can change from visit to visit… although generally the plate includes the aforementioned Italian Meats, Pickled Veggies, Roasted Red Peppers, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Olives… the two items that seem to not be standard, and sometimes are included and other times are missing is the hard boiled egg and the fresh mozzarella (bocconcini). I must say I am a tad disappointed whenever the cheese is absent.

But overall, “The Man” and I love this plate… so much so, that often times we will order a salad with the small plate, or just have the large platter served with a side of the warm bread and a couple of glasses of red wine… makes a nice light dinner.

EDIT - I should also add that the portions are quite large (good value) and most of the time we take home leftovers.