The other night hubby was working late then heading to a concert downtown. Myself, being a 90 year old lady in a younger body, decided it would be best for me to just meet him downtown for dinner then return home to the comforts of my couch and shortly there after, bed. 

After looking at a couple of online menus we decided to check out Blue Cactus Bar and Grill in the Byward Market just across from Empire Grill and beside Zak’s Diner. 

Price – The prices are decent. Not a fantastic deal for the quality of food, but you get a good sized portion for your money. Dinner will cost you anywhere from $12 (for a burger) to $18 (for pasta) up to $35 (for surf and turf). Dinner with drinks for two ended up costing us around $60 with tip.

Ambiance – Posh and nicely decorated, Blue Cactus is a good place to go for drinks before heading out for a night of dancing. Not really a place to go for a romantic meal, or if the meal is the main event of the night. It’s the type of place you go to meet up with people before heading to the real activity for the night. 

Menu Options – The first thing I noticed about their menu is that it is split, half of it sounds like pub / bar food (nachos, burgers, pizza) and the other half tries to sound like an upscale bistro (pasta, fish, steak). Their starter doesn’t really have appetizers, it has bar food to share while having drinks (nachos, tacos, quesadillas) which is fine – but it is not how I would like to start a fine dining experience.

Food – I have to say I was let down. A few bites into my meal I was wishing I had ordered something else and a few bites later I was wishing I was eating somewhere else entirely. I had decided on the Asparagus Ravioli earlier in the day and was looking forward to something fresh and tasty. Not exactly what I got. If it hadn’t had Asparagus in the title I would never have known there was any in there (I still question it). Basic ricotta stuffed ravioli with tomato sauce – it had an odd sweetness to it that I did not enjoy. Hubby, who had the Jambalaya Linguini (which he said wasn’t bad, not amazing but not bad) had a few bites of mine and agreed it was lesser of the two dishes.

Overall – Maybe I would have been happier ordering from the second, more pub style half of the menu, or just sticking to drinks. But I was really hoping for more out of my experience. 3 out of 5 stars.

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