I wrote this back in October… and promptly forgot to publish it…. sorry…
One of my most favourite memories as a child is eating at seaside restaurants on some island back home in Hong Kong. Fisherman would bring in the catch in the morning, and the restaurants would display their catch in giant tanks. Our extended family would point at our choices, and minutes later we would have a pretty awesome meal with some seafood that was just in culinary purgatory moments ago.
Being nowhere close to the sea, Ottawa oddly has certainly got its fair share of restaurants cum fish markets. There are a few I can think of: Merivale Fish Market is one great example, with a fresh fish section attached to a family restaurant. The Whalesbone on Bank doesn’t have a fish market on site, but its supply location close by on Kent so it certainly qualifies in the category. I’ve been to the Pelican Grill several times, and it’s become my favourite fish joint in the city.
Our first visit was done almost on a whim, playing “Urbanspoon Roulette” and landing at the Pelican entirely by chance. What struck me about the Pelican (over time) is its consistent execution of its product time and time again, but it never seems to get old. The Pelican is a pretty casual joint, with the waiters always as cheery as its open and bright dining room. The fish always tastes fresh (as it should, since the fish market is literally on the other side of the dining room partition), and the execution is pretty quality time and time again. Oh, and there’s consistently a crowd, so same-day reservations are few and far between.
With The Pelican being a full time fish monger as well as a full time restaurant, the place can get packed with people during the early dinner rush, so don’t be shy to push through the crowds at the fish shop to get to the restaurant.