Imperial for Sunday Brunch: Not exactly best of the bunch!

Imperial on Bank in Ottawa

It might be a good place to meet but don’t go for the meat!
So the Ottawa Blogger Group was meeting once more
This time we were hoping for more than just four!
Bramasole was packed so to Imperial we did move
but on ZenKitchen’s fare, it couldn’t improve
Vegan friendly for sure, but still it was poor…

This was to be my second participation in the monthly Ottawa Blogger’s Brunch. In March, the group met at ZenKitchen and I really enjoyed the experience, even though, in the end, we were only a group of four. There were some rumblings that maybe the price was a little too steep for some members’ pockets, so this month a more plebeian location was chosen: Bramasole Diner at Bank and Gladstone.
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Imperial Interior ShotWhere we went: I arrived at Bramasole a couple of minutes past the allotted meeting time of 1PM. I was relieved to find that  I was the fifth member to arrive which meant that we had already exceeded last month’s total. However, I could see immediately that our problem was lack of tables that could even accommodate our current group, let alone the larger number that was expected. Although there was some minimal communication with the wait staff, they neither seemed concerned nor hopeful that we would be seated any time soon. We waited about 20 minutes and there was no end in sight. We were now 7 people and all seemed to agree that our prospects were not improving. There was a consensus that we should move the meeting to Imperial just a little further down Bank Street towards downtown. Someone had phoned ahead and discovered that we could be seated immediately. Having not previously been aware of either location, it made little difference to me either way. The difference between the two locations was striking. Where Bramasole was bright, loud and bustling with activity, Imperial was subdued, calm and almost empty.

Blackberry JuiceWhat we ordered: Making a decision on food was going to be relatively easy since there were only 3 items on the brunch: A meat lover’s plate, The Vegetarian, which was a type of bread pudding and finally, vegan blueberry pancakes. If I had stopped and thought that ‘ vegan’ meant no eggs and dairy, I would have probably made a different selection but the idea of blueberry pancakes appealed to me so that is what I ordered. I also ordered a blackberry juice and since I was particularly thirsty, I requested a glass of water. One thing that was a pleasant surprise at Imperial, was that their beverages were very reasonably priced: $1.50 for juice and $1.77 for coffee. Vegan diners are also well-served, since soy based specialty coffees are available. Unfortunately, the requested glass of water never arrived 🙁 

Vegan Blueberry PancakesWhat we got: Considering that there were only a handful of patrons other than ourselves, it was surprising how long it took for our orders to arrive. Although the dishes were quite attractively presented, the food itself was nothing special. My pancakes were somewhat tough and dry.  The real maple syrup was not enough quantity to redeem them. The home fries mixed with sweet potato were a nice concept but were lukewarm and slightly soggy. Even the bread that accompanied the dish was dry and lifeless. The vegetarian plate didn’t appear to be a whole lot better, although I didn’t actually sample it. There were certainly no raves coming from my fellow diners.

Worthy of note: Unfortunately, I found very little worthy of note here. Other reviewers have indicated that evening dining might be a different matter. Based on this current experience, I am not sure that I would take the risk. On a more positive note, the posters which adorned the walls were interesting and helped to mitigate the wait for our orders.


  • Positives: Vegetarian and vegan friendly. Good location.
  • Negatives: Food was mediocre at best! Service was lackadaisical. Wait time for food was longer than necessary
  • Recommendation: I could not in good conscience recommend this restaurant to a friend!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Uninspiring
Price $$$ Reasonable for brunch
Decor *** Interesting posters
Service *** Very nonchalant
Overall Rating ** I wouldn’t rush back!

Frivolous Foodie Facts
Imperial is a town in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The town, with 321 inhabitants according to the 2006 census, is located along Saskatchewan Highway 2.

Imperial Food & Beverage on Urbanspoon
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