The Mayflower (247 Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario - No Website)
The Mayflower is truly the butterface of restaurants on Elgin. Fitting the stereotype, a good number of people I know avoid eating here because of the way this restaurant looks, unable to see past the old curtains and wooden planks to the beautiful restaurant within. Perhaps not exactly beautiful by traditional definitions, but believe me when I say the Mayflower has a great personality - and you have to experience it to believe it.
As unlikely as it is, I would not argue against anyone who claimed that the eggs they use here are hand selected by attractive Swiss farmers who feed their flock of golden-feathered chickens nothing but choice grains, milk and honey; they are that good. Keeping it simple, I opted for a 3-egg cheese omelette with green peppers and onions. Not to be outdone, I soon learned that the homefries are also served with green peppers and onions, ensuring that I made my quota for green and white vegetables for the entire week in one meal. I ate it all, and loved it so much we`ve been back 3 times before I wrote this.
I have to mention the hot sauce the owner specifically ensures is found at each table. "Melinda`s original habanero pepper sauce" might actually be the perfect breakfast hot sauce, and is an excellent alternative to ketchup. The coffee is weak, and you will almost always wait for a table on Saturdays, but you'll learn to love it like a British sister-in-law you only see on weekends who cooks a consistently great breakfast.
I lived 2 blocks away from the Mayflower for 2 years and never thought about eating there. It's the kind of restaurant that looks like it's been there forever; its nondescript sign and faded facade just blend in with the surrounding buildings. There's really nothing about it that enticed me to walk through the doors and take a seat. But as time passed, I started noticing that the place was packed every time I walked by. This made me curious. So, when I heard a glowing review, I decided that I needed to squash my biases against the decor and try this place. What a great decision.
This is not a restaurant for those who enjoy their space. The tables are all squished together, the booths have barely enough room for their occupants, and the aisles are entirely too narrow. But the food... The Mayflower is like eating breakfast at your grandmother's house. The place hasn't been updated in about 20 years, but it's the best food you will ever eat. I can't speak about their lunch/dinner selection, but breakfast is delicious. To be honest, my favourite menu item is the oatmeal with strawberries - it's obviously homemade and served with a glass of warm milk, a side of brown sugar and a generous portion of strawberries, which are always tasty and ripe. What a great way to start off a Saturday morning! Although I'm not a huge egg enthusiast, I can recognize that the classic egg/homefries/toast/meat breakfasts are pretty amazing as well. The only thing I would hesitate to recommend are the pancakes. They're a little dry and fairly bland.
Overall, I would heartily recommend the Mayflower to anyone looking for a satisfying breakfast experience.
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