Social Restaurant
Hamburgers at Social Restaurant
Social Restaurant
Foods from Social Restaurant

2018 Jun 2
Came here for lunch on Friday and opted for the daily special Lunch Box ($16), which our overly enthusiastic server described as "Sesame crusted chicken with potatoes and veggies... it's really great!"

Based on the wording and hype, I expected some kind of Bento-style box with a crispy piece of probably Asian-inspired chicken. But as you can see from the pic what arrived was not a box of any kind and featured small chunks of lightly seasoned chicken breast tenders sprinkled with sesame seeds.

The fingerling potatoes were nicely roasted with salt and the vegetables (mostly celery!) were also quite plain. Not terrible, but not really a satisfying lunch. A coworker who fell for the same pitch suggested that this would qualify as one course of an unremarkable 3-course meal.

On the flipside, a diner at our table opted for the Chicken Club ($18) which was a fantastic looking platter containing a pail of fries, a bowl of salad, and a delightful baguette-based club sandwich.

This sort of travesty makes me wish that more restaurants used pictorial menus... or at least posted pics of their specials to social media!

2012 Oct 20
We went here last night, 4 of us. Service was reasonably good at the start - we had a reservation, walked in, were shown right to a table, asked if we wanted our coats hung up and given menus (already better than the last review).

We had 4 apps and 4 mains, and two of us had dessert. There was a kitchen mixup, so my app came out, then two more about 2 minutes later, then the final one about 5 minutes later. Luckily the three that arrived first were all cold.

I had the rabbit terrine - very good, with a sweet sauce on the plate to cut the saltiness. Others included the tuna (I found it mushy, my gf liked it) and then the scallops (mostly good, one a bit burnt) and beets (she liked).

My main was the duck with beans and sausage (Cassoulet-esque). The duck was a large portion, well seared, tender, but a bit greasy (how can confit duck NOT be?). Very good! The beans were a bit "under" for me - I like soft beans, but it is a matter of preference. I didn't notice any sausage in there. Others were the foie gras burger, which was rich, greasy, decadent. Everything you want it to be. Trout - apparently very good, and pasta, which was pasta.

Two desserts ordered - I only tried a bit of one, and it was some mediocre, poorly made ice cream.

Overall, it was quite good food. I don't know if it is worth the price they charge, but I enjoyed myself.

2012 Mar 7
We went to Social with a few other couples recently.
It took a while to get greeted and seated even though we had reservations. We were eventually shown to our table. At the table, we then had to ask about hanging up our coats, so now us guys ended having to go back to hang our coats up.
(Rant warning....I must say, I am really starting to hate being called "you guys" by a greeter, server or, by anyone working at a restaurant. We are not all "guys" and we do not necessarily want to be that friendly with the staff. It is becoming a pet peeve with me lately, end of rant).
Once seated it took one of us eventually getting up and asking for some service. Our server came and 15 minutes later we then got drinks. 10 minutes later he came back and asked if we were ready to order...but we had no menus yet. See where this is going? Looking around we see a lot of people having drinks but not eating so we are now thinking that this is more of a place to sit on the couches and hang out instead of eating on a Saturday night, regardless of the fact that it is supposed to have one of the better chefs in Ottawa.
Now the food,....mediocre to outstanding. A few people were enticed by their scallop appetizer only to be told they had no scallops. Not a good start. The stuffed mushroom app was outstanding, the calamari was so ordinary and the Caprese salad (sorry, sun teck tomato and mozzarella salad) was well, crunchy tomatoes and hard mozzarella. Mains, the duck leg confit was greasy but tender, the strip sirloin was tough but the fries were fabulous, the Pasta dish (only one offered) was outstanding according to the person who had it but really, how bad can a bowl of spaghetti carbonara be? Then the inevitable wait for our bills and then waiting even longer to pay. We tipped the average amount but did tell the server we were not happy about the service and got a shrug as he walked away. All in all, it took us over 3 hours to have just 2 courses.
So, in my opinion, is it is a really nice venue, the service is really not up to par and the food is hit and miss. If you are going to spend over $100 per person (drinks included but no dessert or coffee), I think there are many better places than Social.
But if you want to be seen, in a DJ'd environment, this may be the place for you.

2011 Aug 8
Update: Although I stand by my review, I am happy to report that the Manager at the restaurant contacted me and apologized for the situation and rectified it (via a gift card). Social Restaurant, I will give you another chance and hopefully will report back on a great experience there :)

Thanks for all your comments, both positive and negative.
I feel bad that my suggestion that the restaurant "comp the meal" over shadowed the core issues of the experience. Thought I would clarify a few things:

The "crisis" happened the night before. The only 2 inoperable pieces of equipment were the dishwasher and one of 2 storage freezers (if that was the case you would think they would want ot give food away!). You are right that the waitress could have been lying but I saw the kitchen and could hear people in there working.

It is not unreasonable to think they could have comped us a meal. It was brunch. There is a pretty high overhead on eggs bendict. I wasn't ordering a rack of lamb and vintage shiraz here.

In addition, we were literally the only customers there. I made a reservation with my full name and phone number. They could have called me to let me know the situation. Between the wait to flag down a hostess (in an empty restaurant), the wait for our drinks, the wait for them to ask us to leave, THEN the wait at another restaurant for a party of four - it was almost 2 hours later that we actually ate.

This retaurant isn't new. Despite all the points I outlined, the worst part of this is that the manager still has not contacted my friend, or responded to my email. I wouldn't even be writing a review if they had.

What is a "free meal" worth? I went to the Heart and Crown on Preston with a girlfriend for lunch. The retaurant somehow missed our order so the meals arrived about about 25 min late. We barely noticed and never said anything. The manager came over with our food, explained the situation and covered the bill. I now take my clients there for lunch, I encourage my friends to go there, and I bring family visitng me from out of town there. How much is my patronage worth?

2011 Aug 6
I'm leaning more towards New User's side. I do often find the quality of service to be lacking in Ottawa's top restaurants (compared to family operations) and I think that staff and management should have salvaged the guests' experience in some way AND given them an incentive to come back, perhaps in the form of a $50 gift certificate.

New User made the reservation, they drove or commuted to the restaurant, they showed up on time...yet no effort was made to let them know before they arrived that there was a problem, nor was any attempt made to contact them afterwards. It's clear that there is little accountability on Social's behalf for driving away customers. I'm glad people like New User have access to this kind of forum that holds restaurants accountable in a public way.

2011 Aug 5
I completely agree with you blubarry. But on the other hand, I thought the restaurant failed New User4049. Not-with-standing the comment about free food, if in fact the kitchen was operational, they should have cooked New Users meal.

If the cash register wasn't working? So what? Do people not know how to add anymore? A good manager would have kept the restaurant operational, instructed the wait staff to write everything down, and then have someone stay late and add everything to the computer after the fact. Even if there were small errors in the accounting, the restaurant would have still been taking orders and making money - something that won't happen if you chase customers away. Also, it doesn't seem like New User will be back, so in this regard it was a double fail on the restaurant's part.

The thing is, it seems like the management at social is either too pretentious to take orders the old fashioned way or the waitress may have made an honest mistake (or worse - was deceitful) by telling New User that the kitchen was operational.

If this was the case, I think honesty would have been a much better approach. A manager could have said something like this: "We are sorry about the mix-up, but the kitchen is actually not operational. Coffee is on the house but unfortunately we cannot serve food at this time. Please come back again and apps will be on the house". If I were told this, I would walk out with a smile and recommend the restaurant solely based on fantastic management.

I think the excuse: "sorry the computer is not working - go away" is a horrible way to treat customers.

Again, I think New User's comment about the free food is ludicrous, but they could have handled the situation much better.

2011 Aug 5
New user 4049 I think it is a bit unreasonable to expect a restaurant that is in the middle of a crisis situation to provide free food for you. Maybe they could have called you back, but cooking a full meal for you gratis while the crisis is ongoing is a bit over the top.

2011 Aug 5
Here is an email I sent thursday re: brunch prev Sunday (no response to date)

Hi There,

Last week I made a reservation to have brunch at your restaurant for a party of 4 on Sunday, July 31st. Our group arrived and the front door was locked. No sign referring to the back. Kind of confusing as I have only ever had dinner here and used the front entrance.

Either way, we came to the back and no one (client or staff) was around. We waited 5 minutes and the hostess arrived. She let us know that there was a power outage but the kitchen was fully functional.

We were seated and ordered drinks. The waitress then came over 15 minutes later and told us that the cash register was not operational, that our coffees would be free, and that we would not be served food as there would be no way of charging us for it.

She then took the name and phone number of the friend I had invited here and said that someone would call to make it up to him/us.

It is now Thursday and I am disappointed to hear that no one from your restaurant has contacted him.

I understand that emergencies happen (such as a power outage, breaker burns out etc). If you had a fully operational kitchen, but no working cash register, why didn't your restaurant just make us our meal and not charge us for it? If you had done that, there would be no need to "contact us in the future" which you have not done anyway.

As far as I am concerned, your non operating cash register was not my problem, but it became my problem when I was asked to leave and find another restaurant.

This experience has left a bad taste in my mouth. Even worse, I purchased 2 groupon deals for brunch which I am going to ask for a refund for unless you are able to resolve this.


2011 Jun 20 this the proper place for coupons and referral links to be posted?

I don't mind so much if they show up in the forum if the poster indicates that it's also a referral link, but not sure about seeing them here..

2011 Jun 20

Groupon today for Social





2009 Jun 15
Strange: we were there over the weekend, and there was no sugar in my mojito. Still drinkable but, wow, bitter and minty. A couple of people nearby took theirs back up to the bar to get sugar added.

Don't know if this was the product of a different bartender, or if it just meant that I was really bad at getting my straw down past the minty layer.

2008 Dec 12
My new Mojito favorite can be found at Social. Although not cheap ( $11? ), the variation I tried was called a Cuban Mojito. It's alcoholic content is 8 year old dark rum, and Agostino bitters. Although not as strong as others I've had, the preparation was flawless, and the result a total joy to drink. The composition of the drink was maybe a tablespoon or two of sugar in the bottom of the glass (still granular), covered with maybe 1 inch worth (a lot) of mint leaves, and a lime slice. On top of that was maybe 3 inches of crushed ice. It would seem the rum and bitters was poured on top of this whole thing. What was neat about drinking it was that as you moved the straw, you could get different flavours. If you pushed the straw past the mint leaves to the bottom, you had a very sweet flavour.. lift the straw a bit, and very minty, and lift it a bit more and you hit the rum proper. If I were to give a complaint, it would only be that it was served with a straw that was too long. You could not drink from the glass on the table, without lifting your head higher. My solution was to um.. re-engineer the straw's length, much to the amusement of my wife.

2008 Jul 12
i agree -- the social's classic mojito was yummy and refreshing! i just had it.

2008 Feb 16
"Social's Classic Mojito" was delicious and refreshing. Lots of lime, mint, and crushed ice.

2013 Jan 20
Went for a party at Social, wasn't that hungry till I saw someone with a cheese plate with one cheese and a lot of stuff on it. So I got it and was not disappointed at all. For 8 bucks I got a small "Le Cendrillon" cheese plate with cranberry bread toasts, apple butter, grapes, spicy pecans and slices of pear and apple. Even though it was just one small piece of cheese, it took me a long time to slowly go through it all and I was enjoying every morsel. Everything on that dish was greatly pared and probably the one thing I will definitely order again if I'm back.

2014 Nov 3
This is certainly one of the best burgers in town. I enjoyed it on a Saturday during brunch service. I think it was $17, which included this wonderful bacon cheeseburger with pickled onions and a tasty sauce, delightfully potato-y salted crispy fries, and a nice assortment of dressed greens.

Huge thumbs up all around. Top notch platter!