Monday, 22 December 2008


If there is a Canadian-born restaurant tradition here in the great white North, it has to be Swiss Chalet. It is an institution of rotisserie chicken. I still have the jingle from the 80's in my head
"Always so good for so little". But here's the kicker - my family never ate at Swiss Chalet.

Never. Ever. It was one of those places where I would hear other kids talk about their experiences, and the 'chalet sauce' was soo good. Then I went to one and I finally understood my parents: what was the big deal? The chicken is pretty plain, and the 'sauce' is just a gravy that I wasn't all that keen on. After that, the mystery of Swiss Chalet was over and I really didn't go back.

But about two years ago at a family gathering my cousin-in-law Nikki became interested in my chicken wing work and was like, "you have to have their wings." I took it with a great deal of scepticism. Swiss Chalet makes great wings? Hmmmmmmm, its possible.

Niki is a lot of fun. But don't mess with Nikki

Then a year ago, at another family gathering, she asked if I had gone again. I had not. I had to try it she said. Well, another year went by. Two weeks before our next family gathering, I was like, I better get down there before I get in trouble for a third year in a row.

Of course, I picked the holiday season to go, and the place was packed. I got there just before they opened. There was a line-up to go inside. And more people waiting in their cars for the doors to open. Once I was in, in about 15 minutes, there wasn't a seat available. And everyone was ordering the 'Festive Special' - a quarter chicken dinner with cranberry, stuffing, side (potato product) & five Lindor chocolates.

First off, I ordered a Mountain Dew. Not many establishments here in Ontario have MD on tap, and it makes me think of being a kid when MD barely existed in Ontario, and trips to the USA where I could get the green drink pretty easily. And free refills to boot!

I wanted something fresh and green, and the Greek salad spoke to me off the menu. The salad came dressing on the side with lots of lettuce, but a little skimpy on the feta cheese.

I enjoyed the salad, but it didn't take long for my main course to arrive. So . . . would they live up to Nikki's hype?

2008 THE SCORE 3.0: Swiss Chalet ~ Ottawa


dusted (Garlic Mesquite coated), deep fried


$9.49 for 8 wings


§ mild

§ medium

§ hot



a little bite in there


large to jumbo – very meaty but not mutant meaty like some places jumbo wings.



just enough sauce on them to be called wet



nice crunch biting into the wings



cayenne pepper sauce is tasty but not unique



veggies and a lot of blue cheese



napkins, bone plate and finger bowl (oooh fancy)






free refills on pop (ya Mountain Dew)


surprisingly good wings


My first thought: whoa, these are big wings. I couldn't believe that they were a jumbo wing.

The wings are dusted in their 'garlic mesquite' coating, which gives them an extra crunch. I couldn't get a great sense of the garlic or mesquite, but that's mainly because the wings are sauced well. But the chicken was not only jumbo, but meaty.

I got hot for my sauce (as hot is the highest they go). It was pretty mild, but it was a tasty cayenne based hot sauce. It's clearly for a generic audience because no one would be in pain. But I did like the sauce.

It also came with a giant side of blue cheese dressing. It was VERY creamy, and I think it was more mayo than blue cheese. The celery and carrot sticks were thick cut and made for easy dippin. Also a classy touch, a finger bowl and the end of the meal to rinse of my chicken wings off my hands.

FINAL SCORE: Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Jumbo wings. Nikki, you were right, they were more than worth checking out. 14/20

Swiss Chalet
2930 Carling Avenue, Ottawa (and other locations)

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

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