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The Black Tomato
The Black Tomato
The Black Tomato
The Black Tomato
The Black Tomato
The Black Tomato
The Black Tomato
Foods from The Black Tomato

2011 Aug 19
Wow, I used to love this place but it's changed. I had the pasta, my friend had the special (squash soup and hen). It was on average about $30/entree. A lot more expensive than it used to be (a surprise, but fine), but the quality of the food was not worth the inflated prices. I'm not a picky eater, but if I pay $30 for my meal, I expect something above the average cheap restaurant. There was also NO AIRCONDITIONING, and I was dying of heat and sticking to the chair. What kind of place has this become? If you are going to charge for a good meal, offer one and make your clientele comfortable. Very disappointed, I very rarely complain, but I have to in this case.

2011 Jul 28
Last night was my boyfriend and I decided to try the Black Tomato.

We started our evening off with the baked brie appetizer. The brie was melty perfection and the caramelized onions that came on the side balanced the flavours perfectly. That being said, I saw a few other patrons with the same appetizer and theirs seemed overcooked and resembled more of a melted dip/goop in a bown; regardless, ours was delicious and the best part of our meal, hands down.

For mains, I ordered the chicken puttanesca and boyfriend ordered the duck confit.

For my dish, I'd have to say that the best part was the garlic bread. It had been grilled to perfection. But that's more or less where the awesomeness stopped. The chicken was on the dry side, the noodles slightly overcooked and the sauce did not taste fresh at all - the lack of flavour reminded me of something that came out of a can. I had to ask for extra cheese to try and add some kind of flavour to my meal. Worst of all, there was still a beard on one of my mussels. That being said, it was a generous helping and I had enough for lunch today.

Boyfriend's meal was better. His duck was well cooked, and his potatoes and beans were also nicely done. Personally I found his dish to be a bit bland as well, but he enjoyed it enough.

We were too full for dessert, but perhaps they could have redeemed themselves there. I will say though, that they have a fantastic atmosphere. We sat on the back patio where a jazz trio played in the middle of the courtyard. Surrounded by all the stone buildings and the lovely music, it was incredibly romantic.

All in all, I wouldn't go running back but if someone asked me to join them at the Black Tomato for an evening, I would not object. In the future, I think I would maybe stick to their starter dishes - like a salad or the charcuterie plate; the other patrons who had these around us seemed to be enjoying their dishes immensely.

2011 Jan 18
So I have been to The Black Tomato twice, and both times I have been pleased with the service, promptness of seating, selection of yummy "girly" drinks, and, of course, the food.

I also think they have a really nice ambiance going on inside. I love the shelving unit near the door with random CD's for purchase and other neat stuff, fun to browse while waiting for your seat.

Anyway, the first time I went to the Black Tomato I ordered a type of focaccia type pizza thing with feta cheese, black olives, tomatoes, and artichokes (name is failing me and it is no longer on their menu) that was very good. I did find the artichokes overpowering, though, and in too large pieces. But if I navigated my "pizza" carefully, I was able to enjoy it thoroughly without the sudden assault of artichoke. Very fresh and light.

During my second visit I had a pulled pork sandwich type deal (also no longer on their menu, though I scanned very briefly). It was much better than the focaccia item I'd had before. The pork was absolutely delicious, and the bun was great. Heavier and yummier.

Also, both drinks I had on each separate occasion were equally pleasing to the palate. I would offer the names, but I forget - they were listed on a chalk board over the bar - and I can't seem to find them on the website.

2011 Jan 1
I visited the Black Tomato tonight and until now it has been my hands down favourite restaurant in Ottawa. In the past the mediocre service has always been overlooked because of the good food at reasonable prices.

Sadly both of those are gone. The menu has changed and offers a very limited dinner menu with options that are now in a higher price range. Since none of the nine entrees were what I was craving tonight, I ordered a Warm Pecan Crusted Chevre Salad for $14. It left me hungry and not impressed - very little greenery, very few mushrooms and cold goat cheese.

Sadly I think this Ottawa mainstay is gone and the only thing that remains is the name - which is just misleading.

2010 Dec 30
I've provided numerous reviews of my dining experiences at BT. I'm afraid that my review for last night is not a good one.

I was excited to go to BT and knew precisely what I would order. Unfortunately they changed their menu in November so my selection is now only offered at lunch. Oh well.

For whatever reason, there wasn't very much on the dinner menu that appealed to my friend nor I. I opted for the spinach and duck prosciutto salad and my friend got the baked onion ale soup.

The good:
- I quite enjoyed the salad. Very tasty.

The bad:
- the service -- our server was nice but we didn't get much service; we waited a long time to place our order, I had to ask for more water twice, I had to flag her down to get the bill, the evening was perpetual waiting for her to come to our table. The resto was only about 2/3 busy.

All in all, it was a disappointing experience, particularly since BT was one of my fave restos. My friend and I left when we could (after waiting) and went to another restaurant to eat more since we were far from satiated at BT.

2010 Jul 17
I went to the Black Tomato last night with my partner and a friend for a little birthday eve dinner. I've probably had dinner here 7-8 times since moving to Sandy Hill 2 years ago, on account of 2 things:

1. They have St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale on tap (the only other places I can think of off the top of my head that also have it on tap are the Manx, and strangely enough, the Highlander Pub).

2. The ambiance. The patio is located in a cobblestone courtyard flanked by centuries old stone buildings and a big leafy tree. The inside of the restaurant/bar is nice too, with the old rock walls fully exposed.

I'll start by saying the food here can be very good, and it was really good last night. But alas, my biggest beef with this place is that it's very inconsistent. I've been served lukewarm dishes here, ordered the same thing on different occasions yet received very different portion sizes, or had meals that just tasted "off".

Upon entering last night, we were told there would be an hour wait for the patio. We were in no rush and there was plenty of room inside the restaurant, so we ordered some Apricot ales and waited at an empty table. Somebody in the group started talking about hamburgers, so we all decided that we would each get a burger. A spot on the patio opened up after only 30 minutes, and we headed outside.

Our server on the patio was very nice and knowledgeable about the menu. Turned out the daily burger was the cajun burger. Easy. We ordered 3 of them, all with bacon. We also got an order of the chicken curry filos for an app.

The filos came quickly, and there were 3 of them. Perfect for 3 diners. They were pretty big. I doubt 1 person could eat all 3 and still have room for a main. They were pretty good, and definitely had a nice warm curry flavour.

The burgers came about 20 minutes later. Each was accompanied by a good sized portion of roasted potatoes and a mixed green salad with plenty of grated carrots and some lemon zest on top. I've been served stale lukewarm potatoes from the Black Tomato in the past, but these were piping hot and very fresh. The salad was great too with the perfect amount of dressing.

As for the burgers, delicious! None of us at the table could figure out why they were called cajun, as they had no heat or special spices that any of us could discern. They were just regular burgers (not that that's a bad thing!). The meat was well done (we had requested medium-well, but the server informed us they couldn't do it for liability issues), but still quite juicy and not overcooked at all.

There was absolutely tons of mushrooms, cheese, and bacon on them (no other toppings, which in my opinion was a good thing). The buns were great too, slightly crusty and very buttery tasting, almost croissant-like. The patties were very thick, and my partner was only able to eat slightly more than half of hers (which worked out for me, because I got to finish it).

That was my first Black Tomato burger experience, but I doubt it will be my last.

Despite being somewhat torn about this place, I'll recommend the Black Tomato and I'm giving it a thumbs up.

2010 May 26
I'm sweating from my trip to the Black Tomato this afternoon, and it isn't because I ordered the jambalaya.

They still do not have A/C, despite the renovations. Usually, air conditioning isn't really a concern, but today it was 33 out (high of 35). Black Tomato had the windows open, but their overhead fans seem to be more for decoration.

I ordered an iced tea and the lime-avocado-chicken salad. The iced tea was good, but a tad sweet. It did, however, taste homemade, so they get points for that.

The waiter didn't bring us enough bread, so there was some sharing that took place (which is fine, because I'm not a big bread-before-my-meal person). It came with a red wine infused butter, but I couldn't taste the red wine and the texture of the butter was closer to buttercream.

The salad was the star. Greens with a decent amount of chicken breast, tomato, corn chips, olives, cheddar cheese and a dressing of avocado, garlic, lime and cilantro. The olives were an interesting touch and the corn chips were smaller enough that I didn't feel like I was in a tex-mex restaurant. The cheddar cheese was overkill. The avocado adds enough creaminess that I ended up picking the cheddar out.

I do, however, feel inspired to try this one out at home.

Service was friendly, but not as attentive as we might have liked. Water glasses went unfilled and while the opportunity was there for refills on other drinks, it was never taken.

The food arrived quickly, so props to their kitchen on feeding a hungry downtown crowd at lunch.

This experience overall was better than my last one a few years back. I might try and bring my husband out here when the weather isn't so hot.

2010 Apr 15
No one has commented since my last posting. Hmmm.

Had a disappointing meal at BT last night which is SO unfortunate because I quite like that resto!

I ordered the Thaifu veggie bowl. Firstly I didn't know it would be so spicy. The level of heat was tolerable but if a person does not like spice, they would have had a rough time with it. Secondly, apart from the heat, it was absolutely tasteless. I actually asked for some sauce to amp it up, either hoisin or peanut sauce. The server was gracious and accommodated my request and brought me a side of hoisin and some peanuts. It didn't miraculously change the dish but at the very least, I was able to enjoy it more.

My friend had the seafood noodle bowl and seemed to enjoy it. Our bowls looked the same (exchange seafood for tofu) but she said hers had a peanut sauce and wasn't bland.

2010 Mar 16
Had dinner at BT last Friday. Each time I dine there, my stomach is always very pleased.

We managed to get a cozy table with no reservations around 8 pm. The server was nice. The drinks weren’t that great but the food was delish!

I tried to order the Thaifu Vegetable Bowl but was told that they had run out of tofu. So I opted for the Butternut Squash Agnolotti. The presentation was beautiful. The quantity was more than I needed. The taste was rich, creamy and just melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

My friend ordered the Chicken and Tiger Shrimp Jambalaya. As the menu says, it was spicy! She said the dish was very good.

2009 Nov 22
hadn't been here in eons, so when a friend chose it for her birthday dinner tonight, i was looking forward to re-discovering its assets. bit of a disappointment, though.

i'm all for consistency, and i understand 'if it ain't broke', but some dynamism in the offerings would be nice. to find the menu so sadly unchanged was a surprise. friends were dismayed to have (yet again) just the one lonely vegan option (tofu bowl = tasty). i chose the burger special and was underwhelmed. the oversized bun was dry, the underdone patty was wanting, and the rest of the plate (roast potatoes and simple salad) was fine but hardly memorable. best rated at our table was the maple smoked wild salmon entree. i didn't get a full verdict from friends who ordered the agnoli dish.

service was great, ambiance quaint as ever. but all in all, none of us had the kind of experience that we recall having here in the past, and none of our meals were sensational enough to make us rush back. don't know if we happened to pick an 'off' night, but given how many exciting things are happening in the restaurant scene, i would hope this place does something to revive itself.

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2007 Mar 11
I've only been here once about 5 or 6 years ago and the selection was good. But the venue is well-known amongst local homebrewers as a spot for great beer.

2006 Oct 16
Besides the usual suspects, the Black Tomato usually has a few gems from nearby microbreweries available on tap (notably Church Key and Scotch Irish).


2007 Jul 16
I had brunch here several weeks ago. They do a table d'hote brunch menu.
The day I was there the options were:

Black Bean Soup OR
House Made Granola

Breakfast Burrito OR
French Toast with Bananas and Chocolate Sauce

Choice of Dessert

I opted for the Granola, followed by the French toast.

I had a latte to start, and the granola which was really good, and fortunately in a small portion because it's pretty heavy as a starter. It was nicely carmelized and really tasty.

The french toast was was a large wedge of brioche type bread that had been coated in oats before frying. It came with sliced bananas and chocolate sauce, 2 large pieces of thick cut bacon that were a little too crunchy for my taste and 2 sausages that were slightly longer and thinner than the standard breakfast sausage, and a lot less greasy. I wish I knew where they get them. There was also a nice salad on the plate, and fried potatoes (not deep fried, either!).

Upside: The latte was included in the price, which was about $17 so there was a lot of food for the price. And almost everything was tasty. I had to have them box my dessert (Peanut Butter Pie) to go, as there was no way I could eat it after all that.

Downside: This is not the place to go if you have plans after. I was seated shortly after 12:00 and had my bill dropped at 1:40. Also, it is a lot of food, so go hungry, or with someone who has a bigger appetite than you. Also, I liked the table d'hote format, but probably wouldn't have if they'd offered choices that didn't appeal to me.

All in all, I'd go again.