The Elmdale Oyster House And Tavern isn’t the same grungy place I remember. Years ago I used to live in Hintonburg, just two blocks away from the old Elmdale Tavern and never wanted to go there. Years later, I finally got around to revisiting the venue which was bought by The Whalebone Group in 2012.
Despite my love The Whalesbone restaurants, I must admit I went into The Elmdale Oyster House And Tavern with low expectations still picturing how it used to be when I lived nearby. Now as part of The Whalebones Group the place is outstanding. The Elmdale Oyster House And Tavern is an old Ottawa venue, that has been serving drinks since 1934. The historic charm of the spot has been well preserved, but the tavern has more of a hipster vibe and now offers a fantastic menu.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, The Elmdale Oyster House And Tavern has a variety of nightly specials that you will want to try such as fried chicken night, cheap as f*ck lobster night, buck a shuck and retro steak night. I visited on a Tuesday night to try their fried chicken. As part of the fried chicken night, you can get half a chicken served with gravy or hot sauce for $22. I opted for the gravy and it might be the best fried chicken I’ve had in Ottawa. The chicken was super moist, but the skin expertly crispy. While the portion of fried chicken is massive and is perfect to share, it is so delicious you will want to eat the entire order to yourself.
I was also blown away by the tuna toast and calamari. The Whalebone Group is locally known for their outstanding seafood, and these two dishes left me so happy. The calamari was nice bit size chunks instead of the typical rings, which is something I prefer. The calamari was perfectly cooked too, not chewy, the breading crispy – exactly how it should be. Yet it was the tuna toast that left me speechless. I wasn’t expecting such a wonderful dish at a casual pub. Do yourself a favor and order the tuna toast. It is raw yellowfin tuna and avocado on sourdough bread, topped with a tuna sauce and burnt soy. It is so flavor-packed, combining everyone’s favorite avocado toast with tuna tartare. Every bite was pure bliss.
After such as positive experience at The Elmdale Oyster House And Tavern I certainly will be returning. I also hope to try all the other 3 locations that are part of the Whalesbone Group – The Whalesbone Elgin Street, The Whalesbone Bank Street, and The Whalesbone Kent. I’ve heard such positive things about the Elgin location which is said to have a great brunch, lobster & shrimp tacos, tuna poke bowl, and braised beef short rib that so it is the next spot I want to try.