Between Willie and Juan’s and T’Basil it was a Thai

Willie & Juan's in Orleans

Where we did NOT eat!

Willie and Juan’s Thai’d by T’Basil

It didn’t really seem like such a tall order,

We just wanted food from South of the Border!

Willie and Juan’s that’s where we were led

But across the road at T’Basil is where we were fed

Forty-Five minutes waiting is just sheer murder…

The Supper Seven were all in agreement that we should try something different this week-end and Debbie suggested that we might try Willie and Juan’s (formerly Mexicali Rosa’s) on St. Joseph in Orleans. Mexican cuisine is not generally one of our more frequent ethnic food choices. However, everyone was in agreement, perhaps because Amber, our habitual dissenter, was at a sleepover this particular evening.

 I think that we should consider renaming this particular street in Ottawa’s East End (formerly Gloucester) to the Restaurant Golden Mile. So many of our regular eating spots are located here! As we attempted to pull into the parking lot, it became apparent that many others had come up with the same idea at about the same time! Once inside, we were informed of a potential 45 minute wait. Even for adults this may be hard to take but with two ravenous young ladies in tow, it was simply out of the question. Fortuitously, right across the road was T’Basil and we decided to try our luck there instead, especially because Debbie had not been there before.

As we had surmized by the relative emptiness of the parking lot, not so many people were opting for Vietnamese or Thai food on this particular evening. Lara, our resident 6 year old detected and commented immediately that we were ushered to the same table as for our previous visit in late March (see review here

Seafood Shabu Shabu

Seafood Shabu Shabu

Something new to us this visit was that Greg and Norma opted for the Seafood Shabu-Shabu. Now I know that this sounds like a couple of twin killer whales from SeaWorld, but at $35 per serving, it seemed like it needed to be something special! Wisely, as it would turn out, Greg inquired as to whether the dish could be shared by two. He also, not so wisely, ordered won-ton soup to start. There was nothing wrong with the soup, in fact it looked delicious, chock-full of fresh veggies and steaming hot. However, as you may note from the accompanying photo, the Shabu-Shabu was of very much the same consistency. It contained liberal amounts of scallops, mussels, shrimp, calamari and imitation crab and lots of vegetables and came with a side dish of angel hair pasta.

Worthy of note was the fact that the two young girls, Lara and Fayth, both ordered chicken strips and fries. While one wouldn’t expect this to be great in a Thai-Vietnamese restaurant, both of them cleared their plates. I must add that they had a little help from the adults as the kids were served first and their fries looked (and tasted) pretty good! 

For myself, I was determined to try something different. The description of the Thai special fried rice with chicken and shrimp caught my fancy. However, I had unfortunately not heard Lara’s comment to Dorothy that she had not enjoyed the children’s portion of chicken fried rice on our previous visit. It just goes to show that you can’t always be guided by the description. There was nothing specifically wrong with the dish. It was chicken, shrimp and rice with a few frozen peas and carrots thrown in. Definitely nothing to make it qualify as ‘Thai’. A real disappointment based on our previous visits and definitely poor in comparison to the Shabu Shabu!

T’Basil did redeem themselves with the desserts however. There were only 2 available: Alaskan Banana and Thai Sundae. The banana was deep-fried in a spring roll wrapper and served with ice cream. The thai sundae was ‘jelly seeds’ in ice cream with sesame seeds, peanut pieces etc. Both were enjoyed by all who tried them! While it is true that we did not order any drinks, it was still a pleasant surprise to be presented with a bill for two for $30 including tax….


  • Positives: No waiting to be seated. Seafood Shabu-Shabu is recommended as are the desserts. No sticker shock when the bill is presented.
  • Negatives: Thai fried rice was uninteresting.
  • Summary: Despite the fact that my own dish was disappointing, on balance, this was another successful meal
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Varied by dish
Price $$ Inexpensive
Decor *** Acceptable
Service **** Friendly 
Overall Rating *** Worth a try


T' Basil on Urbanspoon


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