Mystery Diner in Ottawa: Pine Hills home to standout menu items

A few new favorites were discovered on latest visit

While waiting for my carryout order at Pine Hills Golf Club Bar & Restaurant in Ottawa, I overheard a customer ask the bartender what she recommends.

“My favorite is the chicken bites,” she told him.

Good, these appetizers were in my order.

When I told my dinner companion what I had overheard, we made it a point to open the carton of chicken bites first, and we started gobbling them up.

They were the perfect appetizer. The beer batter was crispy and kept the white meat inside nice and tasty. The chicken bites ($8.95) are served with two dipping sauces.

That was the start of a really fabulous meal, because everything we sampled was delicious.

I ordered the spicy sausage pasta with creamy tomato sauce and andouille ($16.95) as my entree. The sausage had some kick, and was complemented well by the creamy tomato sauce that covered the bow-tie pasta noodles. The dish came with a soup and bread.

I opted for the jalapeño and cheddar bratwurst soup, which found my dinner companion and I trading off bites because it was so good. The soup had a really rich, melt-in-your-mouth cheddar flavor.

My fellow diner ordered the toasted jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwich ($11.95), which is made of cream cheese, bacon and hearty chunks of jalapeño. This was a spicy sandwich, and that was OK for my dinner companion. She said the sizable jalapeño bites dialed up the heat, and the cream cheese helped balance it with every bite. Her sandwich was served with an option of bar chips, fries or sidewalk fries, and she chose the bar chips.

We also shared an order of the homemade macaroni and cheese, baked to order with a panko topping ($11.95). As macaroni and cheese lovers, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try mac and cheese when it’s done right. The panko crust was a plentiful topping that added loads of flavor to the creamy dish.

We were able to try another soup through our order, and shared the cheesy bacon baked potato soup. We learned quickly that if Pine Hills is serving any cheddar-based soups for the night, they are going to be amazing.

While I waited for my carryout items, a number of customers made their way in and out for orders of pizza. I know Pine Hills has a reputation for good pizza, and I’ve had its hand-pounded, homemade pork tenderloin sandwich, which sizes up among the best ones in the Illinois Valley. “Porky” lovers won’t be disappointed at Pine Hills.

The menu has sandwiches, cod, rib-eye, pasta dishes, gyros and calzones, among other items. In addition to indoor dining, Pine Hills offers delivery and carryout, and customers can order online.

We’re excited to make a return trip to reorder some of our favorites – the chicken bites, the cheddar-based soups and the spicy sausage pasta, and look forward to trying other menu items. I haven’t had a bad meal here yet.

• The Mystery Diner is an employee at Shaw Media. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff when ordering or picking up the food. The Mystery Diner visits a different restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.


WHAT: Pine Hills Golf Club Bar & Restaurant

WHERE: 1665 N. 2501st Road, Ottawa

PHONE: 815-434-3985