Sir John A  (284 Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario -

 Jay - "adequate to charming depending on your luck at the hostess stand"

In an attempt to give my first review some sentiment, the decision to write about one of my favourite pubs in Ottawa came naturally. The dinner of choice - perfect for a brisk October evening - fish and chips with a side of Boddingtons.  To get to the point, if you like your fish tough, tiny, and 50% batter, this isn't the place for you.  Perfect portion, texture, and golden batter.  The Boddingtons was expertly poured and fresh, something I don't take for granted in this city.

The overall atmosphere is good, but can range from adequate to charming depending on your luck at the hostess stand.  Some parts of the restaurant are adorned with long marble tables, a fireplace, and faux stone walls.  The rear section of the restaurant has tables and chairs. 

It's a nice place, and I look forward to going back.  The fries can use a little more life, and investing in ceramic ramekins for the tartar sauce would go a long way.  Go early, get a nice table, and enjoy.

Sue - "it has never disappointed"

The day has finally come; the leaves have fallen, the weather is getting colder, I can see my breath.  It's officially Fish & Chips season in Ottawa!  And what better place to enjoy the year's first encounter with that battered goodness, than the local pub?  Walking into Sir John A is like coming home - the fireplace in the corner, the warm lighting, the booths running the length of the restaurant, all contribute to the welcoming atmosphere.  Today I ordered a Fuller's ESB to accompany my F&C.  This is significant because, in my mind, ESB is really the only beer beautiful enough to stand up with this tasty dish.  And precious few restaurants in Ottawa serve it on tap, so I always take advantage when I see it on the menu.

The F&C at Sir John A is great.  The plate is placed in front of me, one half covered in simple pub fries, and the other half holding a massive piece of deep-fried haddock.  The beer batter is crispy, but not crunchy, and when I cut into it with my fork I get a generous mouthful of fish, not just batter and air.  The fish itself is very tasty and moist.  I could actually taste the fish, which is important to me when that's what I ordered. 

I've had the F&C at Sir John A several times over the past 3 years, and it has never disappointed.  Consistently good, I like that.


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