Robbies Italian Restaurant – Mutton dressed up as lamb!

[google=”google source” results=”defaultone”][/google]Robbies Italian Restaurant

Unlike a good wine, Robbies doesn’t improve with age!
Robbies Italian Restaurant seems like a permanent fixture!
At St. Laurent and Belfast, you get the picture?
Each time that we go, we expect something better
But nothing changes much, not exactly a trend setter
Good decor, but poor food is not the best mixture!

We have lived in the East End of Ottawa since 1980. For as long as I can remember, Robbies Italian restaurant has been sitting right there on the corner of St. Laurent and Belfast (not to be confused with Robbies Spaghetti House on Walkley Road!). In the mid 1990s, we had an office located on Belfast Road and so Robbies was a place we would go because it was slightly upscale and thus suitable for business lunches etc., and also because it was close by. Even back then, I do not remember ever being blown away by the food. During the ensuing years, we frequented Robbies occasionally, usually about once every five years.

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I am a firm believer in keeping an open mind. It had now been approximately five years since our last visit and it was hard to believe that things would not have changed at least a little. The thing is, we could not know whether it would be for better or worse.

What we ordered: At first glance it seemed as if two factors of the dining experience at Robbies had changed very little since our last visit: the decor and the menu. If the decor had been updated since our last visit, it was done over in exactly the same style as before. For its part, the menu seemed to offer the normal middle-of-the-road, typical Italian dishes. Dorothy is not usually a big fan of Italian food and perhaps that is one main reason why we go so infrequently. I selected the Veal in lemon sauce wanting something on the lighter side.

Veal in lemon Sauce with Capers

What we got: Now, if I were judging purely and simply on presentation, Robbies would get pretty good marks. The shortcoming was in the taste or, to be more precise, the lack of it. Veal is already a fairly bland meat so it really needs some herbs, spices or seasonings to liven it up. If they were there, they were vert unobtrusive. Having been disappointed with the main course, I decided to give them a second chance to make an impression with dessert and ordered the chocolate mousse cake, one of my perennial favourites.Chocolate mousse cake Unfortunately, once again, I was destined to be disappointed. These days, I don’t that often order dessert in a restaurant, largely because I have been spoiled by my frequent trips to Europe which doesn’t serve thawed, mass-produced product masquerading as something it is not.

Worthy of note: Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything worthy of note about this restaurant and that really is the main problem. It is not terrible, it just isn’t that great either and this is reflected in the  Urbanspoon ranking shown at the bottom of this post. I suppose it survives because the ownership run it as an efficient business. It certainly isn’t because of its being well-known for great food.


Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality ** Not the best
Price $$$ Average
Decor *** clean but sombre
Service *** Nothing extraordinary
Overall Rating ** Not recommended


Frivolous Foodie Facts
I will believe in truth in labelling, when I pick up a package of meat labelled: “It’s tough!”

Robbie's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment

  1. I love Ottawa :] great post.

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