Inside Tomoya Japanese Bistro & Bar, chefs aren’t the only ones cooking. Though they do craft an array of sushi and traditional Japanese noodle and rice dishes, they also look on as diners marinate their own steak, seafood, and vegetable morsels in pots of hot shabu broth. Servers ferry some of these dishes to small wooden tables and place them on woven mats. The interior immerses visitors in a colour palette of cool grey stone and warm browns, which recessed ceiling lights illuminate. Small canvas paintings of flowers balance out empty wall space, elegantly popping like a peacock that wandered into your living room.
Cooks at Fireside Deli & Family Restaurant slow-cook hand-selected brisket for their deli sandwiches and craft breakfast omelettes, burgers, and baby back ribs from scratch. While patrons share calamari appetizers and steak sandwiches they can take in the card tricks and tableside magic tricks from the weekly magic performance.
At Sushi Boat, chefs send flotillas of delectable fish, noodles, and entrees sailing toward patrons’ mouths. Curry and fried rice accompany beef, pork, chicken, or seafood, while sushi rolls arrive in combinations such as salmon, kiwi, and honeydew.
Voted best vegetarian and vegan restaurant by Echo readers from 2008 to 2010, The Duke Street Muse scours local farmers' markets to enrich homemade international plates with fresh, organic vegetables and rich spices. Leaf lovers can pique their discerning palates with a potpourri of lunch fare, including a garlic almondilla tortilla stuffed with broccoli for a hearty crunch ($9 for six wedges) or a roasted-pepper-and-feta sandwich dressed with swiss cheese to permit ventilation ($4.50). Duke regulars swarm the eatery for the daily curry special, and soy mates can indulge in a bowl of vegan chili simmered with textured vegetable protein ($3.75). The Duke Street Muse also pours out Indian-style homemade iced tea and peppy selections from a full espresso bar to invigorate customers and recently unthawed cavemen.
A growing haven for live music, The Hive serves up inspired pub fare, specials, and a flotilla of drinks at its newly renovated home. Fill hollowed torso trunks at lunch or dinner with a menu of sizzling burgers, sandwiches, wings, and more. House specialties, such as the Hive garlic burger and the Hive mile-high club sandwich of succulent chicken breast and bacon help carnivores cover all the important meat groups, and veggies represent in the traditional caesar salad, vegetable spring rolls, and crunch-laden battered mushrooms (appetizers run $5–$8; entrees $8–$10). Celebrate a special occasion, such as Bring Your Mustache to Work Day or every Thursday's $0.30 wing night with a drink at the bar while taking in the aural splendour of live bands or relaxing on the large outdoor patio (weather permitting).
Barnes Casual Dining slakes appetites with hearty homemade fare. Coax a shy tongue out of hiding with savoury eats such as schnitzel, fish 'n' chips, and homemade burgers. Carb-conscious consumers can opt for lighter choices, such as entree-size salads ($6.99–$8.99). Lunch entrees range between $9.99 and $10.99, and dinner entrees straddle a $9.99–$16.99 price tag and are fortified by garlic loaf, potatoes, fresh vegetables, and a talking vitamin gummy bear.