Elgin's Newest Addition: El Camino, Ottawa


Chef Matthew Carmichael's latest project and Elgin's newest addition, El Camino, is looking to be a new favorite for the Elgin hipsters. Packed on a Friday night, El Camino has all the right elements for a great neighborhood hang out. It has a very casual and unpretensious feel, unlike the former restaurants Carmichael worked at: Restaurant E18hteen, Social, and Sidedoor. If you don't feel like sitting in for dinner, take out is also available, but it's cash only. For those looking for late night munchies after a night out at the bars on Elgin, both the take out window and the restaurant are open late.

Dinner can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. The tacos are priced very reasonably at $4-5 each, but the drinks and other dishes are priced higher. If you end up ordering an appetizer, drinks and tacos, your bill can easily shoot from $20 to $50 per person. This is not hard to do as Carmichael has created a very chill space that makes you want to stay and hang out.


There were 5 different tacos to choose from, and we tried the crispy fish, lamb and beef tongue tacos. All were topped with avocado, radish, jalapeno, and fresh cilantro. The fish tacos also had red cabbage on top and the beef tongue tacos were topped with a basil leaf. The beef tongue tacos were by far the best. The tender, seasoned beef tongue just melts in your mouth. All the ingredients were fresh and definitely worth every dollar.

My favorite dish on the 16 item menu was the crispy prawn betal leaf. It doesn't look like much but the flavor combination was out of this world. The flavor of the chopped prawn went perfectly with the peppery betal leaves. I would eat it everyday if I could.

Fish, Lamb and Beef Tongue Tacos
Crispy Fish, Lamb and Beef Tongue Tacos
Crispy Shrimp Betel Leaves
Crispy Shrimp Betal Leaf

Salt and Pepper Squid
Salt and Pepper Squid with Fish Sauce

380 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Telphone: 613-422-2800

El Camino on Urbanspoon


I walk by this place everyday and didn't realize they had a dine-in section until I read your blog post. thanks!

Walk by felt like a refreshing latin drink , ordered a pina colada , took a sip didn't taste right. Bartender asked how the the drink was, told her it didn't taste right. She went on a rant how it was made with fresh products and even fresh agave. AGAVE! ! since when has there been agave in a pina colada. Paid the bill and left the full drink at the bar. Didnt have any of the food hope its actually authentic unlike the drink I ordered.

His name is Matthew Carmichael.

In our day in age, where you'd think chefs would understand dietary restrictions & allergies, you expect if you're a paying customer that you could ask for a dish to be altered to your needs. NOPE, not here. The guy at the window told us that he'd get into trouble if he made a taco without all of the recommended ingredients that the chef has chosen for that dish. Even when we said that there were 7 other people in our group, they still wouldn't cater to us. I guess they did feel like keeping 8 new returning customers. Their loss.