Address: 428 Bank St, Ottawa
Hours: 7am – 2pm (Mon – Fri), 8am – 3pm (Sat – Sun); Hours may vary during/after pandemic
Website: Not this old school place
Heads up: Cash only, ATM on site
Located in one of the most architecturally distinct blocks of Bank Street, Bramasole Diner’s interior is a throwback to mid-century diners with its bright and colourful palette, vinyl booths, and round, back-less stools at the counter.
I found the menu to be a reasonable size, such that there’s plenty of selection without inducing choice paralysis. The breakfast section is full of diner classics, which are blessedly served all day. Apologies to any young brunch-lovers – this is not your hip, gluten-free, vegan, mimosa-pouring paradise.
For lunch, Bramasole has you covered with an assortment of salads, sandwiches, burgers, and familiar diner foods like liver and onions, hot (code for “doused-in-gravy”) sandwiches, and fish and chips.
Since I was making a rare appearance in public before 11am, I wanted to stick with breakfast foods. The Bram-Fekta is one of their big breakfast-style options, and its belly-filling spread includes a pancake, French toast, eggs Benny, two pieces each of bacon and sausage, home fries and juice. At just $16, it was an easy choice!
After a short wait of sipping on coffee and taking in my vibrant surroundings, my hefty platter of food was in front of me.
The eggs Benedict came with a medium poached egg and a generous slather of rich Hollandaise. I would have liked the decadent sauce of egg yolks and butter to have more of a lemony zing to cut through this decadent dish a bit more, but otherwise it was a respectable execution.
Bacon and breakfast sausages are hard to mess up, unless they’re woefully under- or overcooked, and Bramasole’s cook had them both in the Goldilocks zone.
Normally, home fries are a bit of an afterthought, just there to absorb other items’ sauces, but these were a standout. They were likely out of a freezer bag, but they were super crispy, and got a big flavour boost from some sautéed onions.
The French toast was an admirable entry, with an eggy coating and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar that was begging to get drowned in some table syrup.
I was more impressed with the pancake though; it had a light and fluffy interior, but still had some height to it, and crisp edges. Such a simple thing, but perfectly done.
And while it was almost an afterthought, I also appreciated the large glass of OJ, which was much more generous than the tiny cafeteria-style 4oz glasses or sad bottles of Fairlee brand juice that you get at some places.
Visita número dos
My second visit to Bramasole Diner was an early lunch on a weekday, so the place was quiet, with just one other table occupied and the cook doing double duty serving tables.
Luckily for me, they serve both breakfast and lunch all day (go ahead, get some 8am fish and chips, you lovely weirdos!). I figured that the club sandwich platter ($15) would be a good barometer of the non-breakfast foods at Bramasole.
Unsurprisingly, my food was ready in the blink of an eye.
The club was a solid example of this ubiquitous sandwich. The bacon was crispy, veggies fresh, bread thoroughly toasted, and the chicken didn’t seem to be spongy, from-frozen crap. It didn’t blow my socks off, but I enjoyed it.
Unfortunately, my fries were much more underwhelming. They were hand-cut, but definitely not double fried, and despite how they look in the pictures, they were woefully limp. A double-fry is a must for hand-cut fries, or you might as well get frozen ones, because frozen would still be better than these were.
The coleslaw seemed be to be done in-house as well, although I’d advocate for a vinegar-based dressing to help balance out the many rich, deep-fryer dishes that it would come with. The quarter pickle spear that also came on the side did help on that front though.
My cook/server was super friendly, and busy or not, doing double duty is never easy. Kudos!
Like many of its peers, Bramasole Diner has dishes it excels at, and others that need more polishing. But it’s also a place of the people, easy on the wallet, and has the friendly, laidback service you’d also expect.