The Whalesbone Oyster house is a really unique spot in the city. Right on Bank street just on the edge of the Glebe, the Oyster house offers “The city’s best variety of fresh oysters”. I think I prefer to go into the Whalebone on the whim and just sit at the bar, order a drink and eat some oysters. This is exactly how my husband and I ventured into Whalebone the first time, and had such a great experience.
So here is the thing about the Whalesbone. You walk in, feel like they carved a bar and kitchen out of block of wood and you cant help but feel like you are sitting in a chalet, a cottage, a fishery … you get the feeling now? On top of it all, the staff is so warm, inviting and passionate about the fresh food. And they offer the freshest (and by far some of the tastiest) food in Ottawa.
Anyways, we sat at the bar and ordered a beer each, and then took notice to the record player behind the bar. The bartender told us he keeps a good stock of records on hand so he can listen to the music he loves, all day long. What a great idea. We of course had to order oysters on the half shell, and it was the first time I (hate to admit) ever had raw oysters. What better time and place…
I couldnt for the life of me tell you what kind of oysters we had – and I’ve had so many since – but seeing the oysters displayed on ice in a fairly large round tin was so exciting. We had them all; just downed them. We also had the tuna ceviche which I dont think was on the menu anymore. Along with the fresh bread and butter, this appetizer hit the spot.
On another trip we sat at the hightop next to the kitchen pass so we could cheer on Chef Charlotte when she first started. Sitting right on the top of her pass were different sizes of tomatoes. She told us they have a garden and grow some of their own vegetables so she can incorporate them into the menu. The sheer excitement as she talked about nurturing and picking a good tomato enticed me to order the tomato salad. Really, how can you have a fresh tomato salad that came fresh from the garden and not just want to give someone a big hug? Oh it was so juicy and delicious.
Many of the other items on the menu were also delicious. I wouldnt go out of my way to say the food was ‘blow your mind’ but you can taste the freshness and quality of the food in every dish. They aren’t there to create dishes that are extravagent and over the top; they are there simply to offer the city fresh seafood and fresh produce. As time went on the Oyster house also began to offer brown bag lunches – which I have not tried yet – but I hear rave reviews of the sheer idea and availability of the food.
It really is a fun place to go. It is high quality sustainable fish, a very friendly (and eclectic) environment, and an honest menu.