A chain of restaurants founded in 1952, Fatburger’s team of skilled grillsmiths tirelessly bustles about kitchens across the continent whipping up platefuls of fresh, cooked-to-order diner fare. Upon receiving each patron’s order, chefs spring into action meticulously preparing feasts from the finest of ingredients including AAA Alberta beef, hand-picked produce, and cholesterol-free oil. Frozen treat specialists plunge scoops into ice cream containers, extracting creamy orbs to be transformed into milkshakes so old fashioned that they only enter the straw after donning a set of pearls. Fostering an authentic atmosphere, each Fatburger location features retro decor and enforces a strict poodle-skirt-only dress code for all diners.
A colourful spectrum of gelato flavours, safely ensconced in a gleaming glass case, catches the eyes of customers at Matteo's Gelato. Helmed by a classically trained owner that’s been crafting frozen desserts for more than 35 years, the gelateria stocks a selection of classic and creative flavours that rotates as often as a clown’s spinning bow tie. From seasonal appearances of candy-cane or pumpkin-pie gelato to regular flavours such as chocolate hazelnut and cherry blossom, the shop consistently tempts visitors to try something new. Espresso drinks create a pleasing contrast to the cold treats, especially when gelato is ordered affogato style: with a fresh shot poured over the chilly dessert.
Sang Thai Restaurant has garnered local praise for its pan-Asian cuisine; diners even crowned it Favourite Thai Restaurant on the 2012 Tri-City News A LIst. Inside, bright red walls and hanging lamps surround guests as they dine on Thai and Asian specialties, including curry, fried rice, and clay-pot dishes. Wooden pillars divide the sleek, minimalist dining room into two sections. A bar decorated with martini glasses and figurines stands next to a wall of illuminated bamboo that frequently attracts botanists eager to nibble on it.
Chada Thai Fine Cuisine—named after the traditional headpiece in a Thai classical dance—prepares platefuls of pan-seared tiger prawns, chicken blanketed in curry sauce, and pad thai noodles. Around the dining room, elaborate headpieces adorn walls, and sculptures sit near the entrance, high-fiving patrons as they walk in.
Nando's Flame-Grilled Chicken, founded in South Africa in 1987, brings Portugal's peri-peri flame-grilled chicken to the Vancouver area with only the bare minimum of laser lights and smoke-shrouded, two-way mirrors. Discovered by Portuguese explorers in Africa in the distant days of maritime exploration, peri-peri is a fiery chili pepper that adds a kick of capsaicin to any cuisine, clucker-related or not. Nando's fresh chicken breasts luxuriate in their peri-peri marinade for 24 hours, resulting in dishes with a slate of Scoville-scale-scorching spice levels—mild lemon and herb, medium, hot, and the daredevil-only extra hot. Step up to Nando's counter to order from the menu of sandwiches, pitas, wraps, salads, and peri-peri chicken. Enjoy a grilled-to-order peri-peri half-chicken with a side ($11.39) such as spiced rice or hearty coleslaw, or bite around basted bones with a dozen peri-peri chicken wings with a side ($9.99). Nando's also sports peri-peri chicken breast sandwiches or pitas ($8.49–$10.79), chicken or veggie whole wheat wraps with a side ($8.49–10.79), and veggie burgers or pitas ($8.49–$10.79), as well as salads and salad meals ($3.99–$9.99) for lovers of leaves of lettuce.
An evening at The Giggle Dam begins as a typical night out, until a zany cast member delivers your appetizer. That's because the theatre treats the dinner and performance portions of its shows as one and the same; rather than only using printed menus, the cast sings the dinner selections to the audience, and rather than postponing the entertainment, the entrée delivery is part of the show. Every plate of the four-course meal—which features rotating dishes such as roast beef and gravy, salmon, and vegetarian pasta—is crafted by award-winning chef Pieter Van Meenen, who incorporates seasonal ingredients and fresh techniques in each of his inventive creations. As the audience dines, the actors float around the room and converse with every table while hamming it up with their impressions and gags.
Once the actors are familiar with the audience members' names, hometowns, and shampoo preferences, they hit the stage and engage the audience in an outrageous and politically incorrect original musical comedy show accompanied by an eight-piece band. Every performance is a Giggle Dam original written by the members of the diverse cast who all bring something different to the table, whether it's singing in musical theatre, touring with a rock band, or performing in burlesque shows. The Giggle Dam cast pulls from these experiences to create shows full of laughs, music, and willing audience participation. To keep things fresh, the company swaps out the shows four times a year, premiering a new display every three months to feature more vibrant characters, catchy songs, and side-splitting laughs.