Walking into LOCAL Public Eatery is a different experience than at other Ottawa restaurants. The difference is barely recognizable, but it’s there. The cool, modern décor is reminiscent of eateries in Toronto or Montreal while the warm, inviting staff make you feel at home. My eyes were drawn to colorful vintage fluorescent lights and the open kitchen at the back. A cozy and casual vibe was palpable and I immediately felt at ease despite the bustling crowd and hurry of servers around me.
Upon arrival, the hostess let me know that both a margarita and a Caesar station were set up and serving guests. Yes, please. I bee-lined it to the Caesar mini-bar and patiently watched as the bartender prepared my drink. Spicier than the majority of Caesars I’ve enjoyed and boasting a pepperette, pickle, and olive, the icing on the proverbial cake is the charming glass shaped like a boot in which it’s served. Who doesn’t like drinking from a boot?
For the preview night, LOCAL Public Eatery offered a selection of their menu dishes for the crowd to chow down on. My guest and I chose the Hand-Made Guacamole & Chips and the LOCAL Burger. We both devoured our grub, whilst drinking our Caesars, of course. The best way to describe the food at LOCAL is elevated comfort food. And, coming from a hardcore comfort food fan, this is a compliment of the highest degree.
Our server not only delivered our food, she helped in the preparation. The fresh guacamole ingredients sat in a small bowl, with optional pico de gallo on the side. (Who says no to pico de gallo?) Mixing the pico in with the avocado and fresh-squeezed lime juice, she mashed up the ingredients in front of us. Voila! Moments later, we had guacamole.
The LOCAL Burger was dressed with Cheddar and Jack cheese, hot sauce, pickled jalapenos, and onions. The hearty burger boasted a kick but did not overwhelm your mouth with heat. The patty was seasoned very well and was not too big, a trend I’ve been seeing too often in restaurants lately. Its moderate size allowed the palate to enjoy the mingling of the different flavors without being overwhelmed with beefiness.
Looking through their full menu reveals a tempting selection of appetizers, sharing plates, and various entrees reflecting an eclectic fusion of several cuisines. Predominant flavors and renditions of traditional dishes from the Tex-Mex, Mexican, Asian, and pub fare are clear influencers of the food picks at LOCAL.
Situated in the new Lansdowne Park complex, the only disadvantage LOCAL faces is the inability to easily view their restaurant from the street. My prediction is that word-of-mouth and public interest in the renovated area will ensure LOCAL Public Eatery is a neighborhood favorite.
LOCAL Public Eatery is located at 825 Exhibition Way, Lansdowne Park. They are open daily from 11am – 1am. Call 613-233-5639 to get in touch.