After 7 years Mandarin Restaurant had a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression!

A little Panderin’ at the Mandarin

It had been seven years since we last went to Mandarin,
You see, the treatment we got was not exactly pandering!
In the end, we were glad that we gave it a chance
Especially since we had family in from France!

The motto here is, if your service is poor,
You might win the battle, but you’ll always lose the war

Its often hard enough to find a restaurant on a Friday night that can accommodate a group of seven without a horrendous wait. This particular evening though, we were nine and two of that number were Michel and Joëlle, our daughter’s parents-in-law from France. In our efforts to introduce them to as wide a variety of food as possible, we determined that it was time to show them Chinese food, Canadian Style. Our regular Chinese hang-out tends to be Ruby King’s in Orleans but for some reason, I felt it was time to give Mandarin Ogilvie a second chance. I suppose that I do hold a grudge, but I felt that seven years was long enough to punish the owners for the abominable treatment we had received on our previous visit.


Where we went: Mandarin Ogilvie has been a feature on the corner of Ogilvie & Cummings in Ottawa’s East End (formerly Gloucester) for well over 20 years. During that time the restaurant has grown appreciably in size and a few years ago now swallowed up the doughnut shop, its erstwhile neighbour. One of the reasons for our choice was the hope that there would be no problem fitting us in on short notice. This turned out to be a correct assumption.

What we ordered: Since we were a large group and over half the group had no idea what to order, we decided to go for a set meal, which would give Michel and Joëlle exposure to a wider selection of dishes than just ordering individually. Fortunately, we were seated at a large circular table with a lazy Susan in the centre which lent itself perfectly to this endeavour. Unlike our previous trip, service was prompt and we did not have to wait inordinately long for the food to arrive. 

What we got: Once again, I am not going to try to enumerate all the dishes but will let the photos in the gallery do the talking. I will say that the food was far superior to what one would normally get in a buffet. I will admit to a bias here; I am not a huge fan of buffets. All our dishes were piping hot (some even sizzling) and they did not all look and taste the same. Quantities were sufficient and we ended taking some home for lunch the next day. I must admit that the total price was a little more than if we had gone to a buffet but if we factor in the food we carried out, there would be only a small difference if any.

Worthy of note: The final snapshot in the gallery above was taken by our server who took great pains to get a good shot. This was indicative of the type of service we received and totally the opposite of our previous experience so long ago.


  • Positives: Lots of room, food was a cut above the usual Chinese. Good location (for us, at least)
  • Negatives: Price is a little higher than some comparable restaurants!
  • Recommendation: We enjoyed it so much that we will definitely be back!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality **** Surprisingly good
Price $$$ Not inexpensive
Decor *** Reasonably cheery
Service **** Quick & courteous
Overall Rating **** We’ll be back!

Mandarin Ogilvie on Urbanspoon

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