Have you heard of these ‘deal a day’ websites? Ottawa has a great number of them and they are a really awesome way to try out restaurants (or events, spas, etc) in the Ottawa area. Hubby and I picked up an offer the other day to try out Mambo Restaurante Nuevo Latino. It was on my list so when I saw a three course dinner for two with a bottle of house wine for $75 I jumped on it. Basically it worked out to getting the wine for free. And who doesn’t love free wine?

Price – Pretty standard for a restaurant in The Market. Around $7 – $14 for appetizers or Tapas and around the $20 – $30 mark for your entrée. Like I said Hubby and I had 3 courses which would have worked out to about $75 or just a little above, but because of the deal we purchased off the web, we were able to get a free bottle of wine with that. They had claimed that the meal with wine was $150 regular. I would have felt pretty ripped off if I had paid that. Not that the food wasn’t good, but I know the wine is about $9 in the LCBO and even with mark up paying that kind of price would have been a bit of a blow. So for $75 for the meal I was happy, any more and I would have felt a bit gouged.

Ambiance – This is a really nicely decorated restaurant. I LOVE their lights – which have stained glass fixtures. They are just so pretty. I love the way it is laid out – just very elegant and nice. It is kind of too bad that it’s not kept in better shape. I sat on a bench that had 3 massive rips in them, and under a heating vent that was so insanely hot that we needed to move seats before the appetizer dishes were taken away. It’s a shame because it does distract from the otherwise very nicely decorated area and fun atmosphere. It was pretty quite on the Thursday we visited, but just as we were leaving there were a few people coming in for the free dance lessons. It started to feel pretty lively! Dressing nicely but casual is a good call here, especially if you plan to take part in the dance lessons!

Menu Options – A pretty large menu with plenty of latin inspired tapas and mains to choose from. They even have a kids menu so it’s great if you happen to be a family exploring the market and feel like a slight deviation off the culinary path. There is nothing too crazy here though – but there is a little latin flair to the menu that sets it apart from pubs and bistros that are on either side of the restaurant.

Food – Not bad. I started with a pretty good mushroom soup that had tortilla chips on the side for some reason. The mains were the best part of the meal. I opted for the steak and hubby had the salmon. Both meals were good but nothing I would rush back for time and time again. The dessert was a chocolate cake which I could take or leave. It was pretty dry and obviously just something ordered from another location and left in the fridge. Nothing too special. If I went here again I would probably skip dessert.

Overall – Great location and nice atmosphere, decent food and prices but nothing that stands out so much that I will be returning or urging anyone to go to right away. 3 out of 5 stars.