Date night at Chinatown’s Mekong Restaurant

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Shelly Lyonnais is a local elementary school teacher who has been living in Ottawa on and off for 20 years.  She spends her weekends in search of Ottawa’s great date night dinner locations.

Date night last week was to one of our old favourites: Mekong Restaurant in Chinatown. This resto has been serving Asian cuisine for more than 20 years, featuring a delicious variety of Cantonese, Szechwan, Vietnamese and Thai foods.

I introduced my husband to Mekong many years ago and it has been part of our regular rotation ever since.  A piece of advice if you choose to try this little gem: make reservations.  Occasionally you can get in on a Saturday night without one, but generally the dining room is full – both upstairs and down.

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The last evening we went we watched the friendly staff turn away at least 10 tables in the first 10 minutes, though once our food started to arrive our eyes quickly turned from the crowd to the delicious meals before us.

We started our meal with pork pot stickers (my husband gets these every time we go) and shrimp and crab cakes.  I usually get steamed shrimp dumplings which I love, but this time I was determined to try new dishes.  I enjoyed the dumplings, especially dunked into the sauce that they provided, but I must say that the shrimp dumplings are still my favourite.

Also, I caution you to beware of the long list of plates: we always over order because we love so many of the dishes on the menu.

At the top of my husband’s list is the crispy beef (saucy, a bit spicy and really crispy as the name suggests) –  definitely a must try! The second is chicken fried rice.  I am not a huge fan of fried rice but he says that it is filled with “yummy goodness”…  so I guess that can’t be a bad thing! Since I was on a new dish kick we decided to spice things up by choosing the Shanghai noodle with shredded pork.  We love thick noodles, and the mushrooms in this dish made it. The last dish that we ordered was stir fry shrimp with eggplant – Szechwan style.  All around, it was a delicious date night, and I’m glad I tried so many new things.

We absolutely love this restaurant. No matter how full the dining rooms are, the noise level is never overbearing, the food is always fresh, and the service is warm and friendly –  we will be going back very soon.

Thanks for the snapshot Shelly!