Since opening in 1967, this restaurant on lively Elgin Street has played host to premiers, prime ministers and entertainers alike. The interior is ... More
Since opening in 1967, this restaurant on lively Elgin Street has played host to premiers, prime ministers and entertainers alike. The interior is relaxing with its lovely plants, cascading water, soft lighting and elegant oil paintings. The menu is a meat-lover's delight, with seafood, poultry and selection of charcoal-broiled dishes, including steaks up to 22 ounces. A second Al's Steakhouse is located in Bells Corners at 3817 Richmond Road. Phone: +1 613 838 8349.
We decided to try Al's in Bells Corners last night. After we got past the permanent group of smokers standing by the front door and shook off the stench of smoke from our clothes, we were greeted by an elderly gentlemen who confirmed our reservation.
Before baby boomers there were the 'war babies' and most of these folk are now in retirement residences. On being ushered to our table I found the decor to be identical to the retirement residence I visited a few weeks ago in Kanata. When I looked around the room, the average age in the restaurant at that moment was between 55-70. White linen table clothes and napkins, a clean wall-to-wall gold carpet from the late 1980's and well, not much else.
We were seated next to a large group of diners celebrating their party win in the recent elections and sat through most of dinner listening to inappropriate and crude digs against the other parties, and countries too. Not a group we would term very classy, but this is definitely an old-school hangout.
We ordered our meal and as one would expect, received a basket of cold bread rolls. We shared a starter of escargots although their Mac ‘n Cheese may have been a better choice. The escargots arrived under a coat of melted mozzarella cheese. The 6 tiny snails were tender - I guess they were babies as I didnt know these animals could be so small. The house salad arrived later and while my companion said it was good, mine was swimming in far too much dressing to be enjoyable.
The front door of Al's says they serve "Angus" beef - be sure to read the menu closely as it says 'or Alberta AAA' - ask your server what you are really going to get and don’t assume.
The main course - my partner ordered a filet mignon and was happy. I ordered the rib eye which was to have been cooked on 'live charcoal' (I assumed real charcoal) but I dont know how it was cooked as it was completely flavorless. My partner - who rarely agrees with me on food, did agree the steak had no flavor and was completely bland. Not even a hint it may have been cooked on charcoal. With Al’s claiming to be world famous and me wanting to add any flavor I could think of to this expensive steak, I asked the waitress for ‘English Hot Mustard’. She said she has never heard that kind of mustard and no one has ever asked for that type of mustard. Wow – that pretty much killed it for me so I could not finish my meal. The waitress went from friendly to rude in 15 seconds flat. The olg gentleman came by and gave us is well reheared apology. It didnt help matters
Al’s has been around since 1957 and are still catering to the same crowd. This will be a good place to take your grandparents as the bland food wont upset them. The good reviews this place has is by people who have never experienced anything better. As a regular world traveler this expensive restaurant ranks at the bottom of my list as one of the worst places I have been to and a complete waste of money.
BAD, BAD, BAD
Me and my folks have been regularly going to Al's for the best 15yrs and counting. The service and staff are always fantastic! The food is amazing from the bread to the dessert. They have great desserts but I'm always too full for some..but they most certainly are good! What other steakhouse can cook a 16oz filet mignon well done without having to butterfly it?! Al's is da bomb baby!!!
Al's Steak House has been a fixture in Ottawa for many years, but despite the expensive renovations, we don't know for how long it will survive with such low quality service.
On December 19, at 7h30 PM, the four of us (including our 90-year old aunt) sat for dinner and the young waitress took our orders for drinks. While the wine took a while to come, we used the time to peruse the menu and chose our meal. We ordered a couple of appetizers that arrived around 8h15. About an hour later, we still had not been served our steaks, so one of us got up to see what was going on. Just as we were doing so, our waitress brought us the entrées.
After we all had finished our meal, I politely mentioned to the waitress that a 45 to 50 minute wait between courses was not acceptable, particularly with a senior as client. Stifly, she motioned me to speak to the manager. We did, and the said manager explained that it was a busy night for them. "Hmmm, that is not an excuse for slow service," we told him. The man then blurted aggressively that "we have been in the business for 42 years". Huh?? Anyway, I answered that given those years of experience, they should know that the week-end before Xmas is busy and plan the staffing accordingly. He muttered some disparaging comment under his breath, which was echoed ("Me too") by the now disapproving waitress.
After some one-on-one discussion between our host and the manager, and many minutes later, the bottle of wine was taken off our bill.
Needless to say that we will not be going back. We have shared this experience with friends who, like us, are willing to pay for quality - in food and in service - but not for mediocrity.
The restaurant needs a major overhaul in the service and attitude areas. There is no excuse for bad service anymore. Clients will just go elsewhere. Not dealing with these problems will cost the owners dearly.
We went to this restaurant because we wanted good steak. So since it's a Steakhouse, we thought we'd give it a try.
We sat by the window and I thought the ambiance was ruined by the view of the TV at the bar.
The service started out great. The server was quick and pleasant until the food arrived. After that, she rarely spoke to us, only to ask how the steak was and to see if we needed any more drinks after we received our meals. Then we only saw her at the end.
In her defense, she was working the bar and the front tables. However, we ate early and it wasn't busy.
My fiance had the rare strip and I asked for a medium well T-bone. Throughout the T-bone, it wasn't cooked properly but we had no server to complain to. So I ate around the undercooked parts, until I hit the completely rare portion.
When she returned to clear the plates, I told her. She mentioned it to the manager, who quickly came to our table.
He said that they could have put it back onto the grill and that the undercooked parts were by the bone. After such an odd apology, he offered me a free dessert.
The dessert was fine.
All and all - Al's Steakhouse has been deemed one of the best steakhouses in Ottawa. The reality is, it's also one of the few steakhouses.
The service was poor, the food wasn't worth the price, and they do not know how to properly cook a medium well T-bone.
I have never had to return a steak at a steakhouse because it was undercooked. I find that to be an unprofessional practice when steak is what they're known for.
We believe in getting what we pay for, unfortunately, Al's Steakhouse is overpriced for mediocre steak without extraordinary seasoning.
We love a great steak and are happy to pay for that. We will not be returning to Al's Steakhouse. Period.
My husband and I had been going there for over 25 years, from the time we were dating until about 6 years ago.
We alway's loved the place, the place to go for the best steak in Ottawa but have stopped going because the prices have shot up so fast in the last 10 years.
what we used to get that long ago was the small filet mignon and baked potato which used to be under $10.00, today the same plate is well over the $20.00 and the portions have shrunk. there are a lot of other steak houses in Ottawa which have more reasonable prices. Al's has made his name in the big city over the years and he caters to the more high up to do people and he seems to have forgotten the local people who once made his restaurant famous.
As a regular Ottawa visitor from the UK, I always make a point of going to Al's. The food is excellent and service very good. The steaks are wonderful, but don't forget the starters. I particularly like the zucchini sticks whic are the best I have ever tasted. An essential stoping-off point for a visit to Ottawa
I`ve gone three times and its never been very good for steak. The last time we went there for a birthday party -there were about 14 of us. It took forever for the food to come and the service really wasn`t what I`d expect.
The appetizers were really tasty (esp the coconut shrimp). But I think I can say that we were all fair disapointed with the steaks.
I think my steak was about 30 to 35 dollars and I had asked for it rare. When the steak came in was medium and when I pointed this out the old gentleman that is the host started to argue with me (and everyone else). Finally, after the old man left, the waitress came by and offered to get me a new steak. However, after waiting such a long long time a bad steak is better than no food.
There are a lot of other places for steak in Ottawa that are significantly better (and offer better value).
I discovered Al's Steakhouse quite by accident about 15 years ago. It was a business lunch with a co-worker. I have been going to Al's regularly since then. It is the kind of place where you know what to expect, the atmosphere is relaxed and the prices are reasonable considering that they have some of the best steaks in Ottawa. The menu hasn't changed in the time I've been going there and the prices only changed once several years ago. Al's is the only restaurant I know that still cooks on real coals, not gas or propane and it shows. Their house dressing is unbelievable (you can buy a bottle after your meal) and every item on the menu has been tweaked to perfection over the years. The service is impecable, almost too perfect. My favorite has always been the simple filet mignon with fries and salad but the seafood is equally good. Expect to eat the full plate of fries. They are that good (and I don't generally eat fries).
An Ottawa institution. Al's is one of the best restaurants in the city. Everything is good and of course the steak is excellent but many patrons feel that Al's crowning achievement is his house salad dressing. A wonderful creamy garlic dressing. We observed diners asking for a take out bottle. You will not be disappointed. We having been visiting Ottawa once a year for the past 15 years and Al's is a must on our agenda each year.
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