Coconut Lagoon Restaurant – Fine South Indian Cuisine in Ottawa Ontario
If you are in the market for a restaurant that is nowhere near short of the bold and impressive flavors that you would expect when you are dining out, then Coconut Lagoon is exactly where you need to be. Located at 853 St. Laurent Blvd, Coconut Lagoon has been in business for over 13 years, and for good reason. With hours to accommodate even the busiest of schedules the restaurant is open from Sunday to Thursday between the hours of 11am and 2pm, allotting for a small break to recharge for the busy nights that are to come. They then reopen at 5pm until the end of the night, which comes at 9pm. As for Friday and Saturday however, those are a completely different story. On Friday and Saturday, Coconut Lagoon is open for lunch from 11am until 2pm, and then for dinner from 5pm until 9:30pm.
The owner and head chef Joe Thottungal, prides himself on delivering nothing short of amazing, and has even had some of his dishes entered into Ottawa’s Gold Medal Plates competition for the 2015 and the 2016 years, which he has won in the past, meaning that his dishes were then entered into the Canadian Culinary Championships which is held annually in Kelowna, B.C. In this competition, he was able to place second out of a field that included 11 of the top chefs in all of Canada.
What you can expect to find in Coconut Lagoon, is going to be spicy flavors that will leave your mouth feeling nothing but satisfied, as Thottungal likes to pull his inspiration for his dishes from the South Indian state that is known as Kerala, as this is where he is originally from.
Being in business for over 13 years, you may be thinking that the restaurant is probably going to be outdated and run down. That, however, is nowhere near what the case is with Coconut Lagoon. In fact, the entire Coconut Lagoon restaurant has just recently received a facelift, with some considerable and well-needed renovations have taken place on the inside of the restaurant, as well as the outside. Oddly enough, the last time that Coconut Lagoon had been reviewed, which was back in 2009, the food was praised as being nothing less than spectacular, but the actual restaurant and décor were blasted for being ‘ordinary’. Apparently Thottungal has listened, as he has had the entire restaurant remodeled, and for the better.
Deciding that the last review was right, and that the restaurant did in fact need a facelift, Thottungal decided to hire one of Ottawa’s most popular architect firms, Project Studio. After doing some homework and with a lot of hard work, they have been able to transform Coconut Lagoon from an ugly duckling, into a modern and sleek exterior that includes a completely separate lobby that has been decorated with all of the press coverage that the restaurant has received over the years. As for the main dining area that is located in the front of Coconut Lagoon’s renowned buffet and cash, it has been greatly enlarged and modernized to the point that you will need to see it to actually believe it.
With a capacity to seat around 55 people or so, it is surrounded by beautiful dark wood walls which are an exact match to the brand-new tables strategically placed around the room. What really makes this main dining are stand out however, is that you can actually see all of Thottungal’s trophies and medals that he has won from various cooking competitions throughout his cooking career. All in all, the new and updated dining area is definitely much classier than it once was, but still remains to be somewhat neutral, allowing you to really take in the amazing sight and flavors of the food that will soon be gracing your individual table.
As for the food items that you can expect to find on the menu, Thottungal will occasionally mix up what is available, but he will mainly have his most famous and popular dishes listed on the menu, as well as several other different dishes that he has tweaked that will be rotated into the menu every couple of months or so. This means that you can almost expect to get something completely different and new every time that you visit Coconut Lagoon.
With some of the best flavors around, you will be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t sop up just about every drop of food and sauce that comes on your plate. This is due to the very complex, well-crafted flavors that Thottungal is able to create with his recipes.
For example, one of the more popular appetizers, are plump and meaty crab cakes that are not overpriced like many other restaurants. In fact, you can get two handmade crab cakes for just $12. But don’t be fooled by the affordable price, as soon as you get one taste of the peppery excitement that is partnered with the Keralite spices, but offset with a beautifully dressed slaw, you will know that Coconut Lagoon is the real deal and that all of the medals and trophies throughout the restaurant were actually earned.
Another favorite from the appetizer menu is the aloo tiki potato croquettes, which will run you about $7. Garnished with one of the most flavorful chili lime aioli sauces you will ever have the opportunity to experience, you can expect a nice crisp on the outside, but with a molten interior on the inside.
No matter what food items you decide to eat when visiting Coconut Lagoon, you can expect that it is going to be a dish that you will remember for many meals to come. In fact, there are some who enjoy the amazing food and great service so much, that they eat at Coconut Lagoon on a regular basis. This just goes to show how good the food and experience at Coconut Lagoon really is. It is highly recommended that you check this restaurant out whether you are a local who lives nearby, or just passing through.