Akari Japanese Restaurant’s menu consolidates centuries of Japanese culinary history, placing traditional noodle entrees alongside modern interpretations of classic sushi rolls. The sushi bar’s Japanese-trained chef, Lee San, creates more than 40 rolls, including 19 specialty maki that enfold tempura-fried yams, scallops, or mango. For more flame-kissed flavour, the kitchen’s chefs glaze barbecue beef ribs with teriyaki sauce and deep-fry pork cutlets. The dining room’s decor echoes the menu’s minimalist presentation while still incorporating accents from across the Pacific, such as Japanese figurines, displays of sheathed swords, and wheezing giant squids that occupy an entire floor of the restaurant.
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.
Part sports bar, part restaurant, Desi 2 Go Pizza & Curry’s amalgam of East and West is the brainchild of Chef Jazz Grewal. Trained in restaurants and hotels in India, Grewal draws upon his experience to oversee a vast menu of familiar Indian eats served amid the glow of flat-screen televisions and flowing taps. The roster of 12 beers on tap includes Stella, Sapporo, Guinness, 1664, and their own house brew called Desi Lager. From a British flag to a large drum tantalizingly out of reach on a shelf above, the interior emanates an ambiance of worldliness.
You could say that the art of food preparation is in chef Manish Rawat‘s blood. An India native, his culinary passion started early on by observing his father’s restaurant and catering business. That experience formed the kind of chef he is today: one who is passionate about artful cuisine and the lengths to which he can bend flavours. That’s nowhere more evident than in the way his kitchen staff at Chef's Kebab blends herbs and spices to craft his extensive menu of vegetarian and meat-based entrees and tandoor-baked breads.
But dinner at Chef’s Kebab is a treat for the other senses, too. The restaurant’s use of white plates makes the chef’s colourful food pop, whether it’s the ochre glow of a cashew curry with lamb or the vibrant green of a cumin-spinach puree with farmer's cheese. Inside the tandoor oven, skewered black tiger prawns, peppercorn-flavoured lamb, and yogurt-marinated jack fruit might be found roasting over an open flame or perfecting their tan lines.