Octopus Grilled at Spiga
Octopus Grilled at Spiga

Octopus Grilled at Spiga

Back in the day, the Spiga Café specialized in Portuguese cuisine down in the fashionable Byward Market area of Ottawa. I had some excellent dishes there, including the Grilled Octopus appetizer you see pictured above, and I was sorry I was unable to work my way through their menu before they closed their doors for good. Everything I ate there was not only delicious, it was, I thought, always very skillfully and artistically presented.


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Octopus Sashimi at Ken's
Octopus Sashimi at Ken’s

Octopus Sashimi at Ken’s Japanese Restaurant in Ottawa

Most people think of Sashimi is being raw fish. Much of it is, of course, but there are varieties using shellfish, and even non-marine products, and some items are served cooked. Octopus is one of these, and it happens to be one of my favorites. Accordingly, I tend to make it part of my order on most visits to Japanese Restaurants.

The small Octopus Sashimi plate shown above was served to me at the now defunct Ken’s Japanese Restaurant in Ottawa (it has since been replaced by a different Japanese Restaurant). Ken’s was not a high-end, Kaiseki sort of place, and I rather think that Is well illustrated by the plating job, which, I have to say, is pedestrian at best.


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Octopus Grilled at Mystiko
Octopus Grilled at Mystiko

Octopus Grilled at Mystiko

Octopus is a great favourite in Greek cuisine, and the Greeks are true masters at preparing it on the grill. The Mezze dish of Octopus Grilled shown above was served to me at the Mystiko Greek restaurant in Ottawa’s Centertown district and was the star offering in a really splendid meal.

The menu described the Octopus as being marinated, but I really wasn’t able to taste any particular flavoring beyond the added dressing. Possibly, some lightly acidic marinade without any additions was used to tenderize the flesh of the octopus after simmering it, but I couldn’t t detect that in taste or texture either.


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Ankimo aka Monkfish Liver
Ankimo aka Monkfish Liver

Ankimo, or Monkfish Liver, is a delicacy in Japanese cuisine and I was served this particular appetizer at the now defunct Wasabi Restaurant in Ottawa not long before it closed. Monkfish, for those unfamiliar, is quite possibly the ugliest fish in the sea, but it has delicious firm flesh, and the liver is tasty in its own right too. It has been likened to Foie Gras (and was referred to as ‘Monkfish Foie’ Gras on the menu at Wasabi), but I rather think that just reflects the quality of the texture. Monkfish liver is quite low in fat, in contrast to real Foie Gras, and I am not sure how they would go about force-feeding Monkfish the same way they do Ducks, anyway.


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Tatoyaki at Wasabi in Ottawa
Tatoyaki at Wasabi in Ottawa

Tatoyaki at Wasabi

Wasabi, a Japanese restaurant down in Ottawa’s Byward Market, was a terrific restaurant back in its day and I was saddened when it finally closed its doors. The chefs there could be very inventive and produced some uniquely interesting and delightful dishes over the years.

Sometimes, though, the culinary attempts at creativity that came out of the kitchen were just a teensy bit misguided and the results ended up being flops of monumental proportions. The Tatoyaki dish you see pictured above was, I regret to tell you, very much one of their more epic fails…


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Octopus Steamed alla Parmentara
Octopus Steamed alla Parmentara

Octopus Steamed alla Parmentara

I had this dish served to me at the now defunct Empire Grill in Ottawa’s Byward Market some time ago. I am not sure what the Parmentara signifies (and a google search reveals nothing of note), but steamed octopus is not a common restaurant offering and I couldn’t resist giving it a try. It was an interesting dish, in conception at least, but the execution left a little to be desired.


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Tatoyaki at Tomo in Ottawa
Tatoyaki at Tomo in Ottawa

Tatoyaki at Tomo

The Tomo Restaurant is an Asian fusion restaurant in the Byward market section of Ottawa. It is a nightspot as well as a restaurant, but I stopped by during the daytime for the sole purpose of trying their Tatoyaki.

For those unfamiliar, Takoyaki is a Japanese snack made of batter filled with diced Octopus and cooked in a special molded pan, and, on the menu at Tomo (which has changed since), it was described as ‘Battered octopus balls topped with house dressing, scallion and shaved bonito flakes’. Essentially, that is exactly what I got, but the execution, I am sorry to say, wasn’t all that good…


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