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.
Two friends launched the first Nando's Flame-Grilled Chicken in South Africa more than 20 years ago by fusing culinary techniques from Portugal and Mozambique to create their secret peri-peri spice recipe. Named after the Swahili word for the bird's eye chili, the eatery's signature peri-peri chicken crowns its menu, tempting diners to sink incisors into fowl marinated for 24 hours in antioxidant-packed spices before it's grilled over an eternal flame (from $6 for a leg and thigh to $17 for a whole bird). Further options include a whole-wheat wrap stuffed with roasted vegetables ($6.50), a veggie burger ($6.50), or peri-peri chicken threaded onto double kebabs (from $10 for a meal with one side). To cool taste buds inflamed by the fowl's capsaicin kick, cinnamon-dusted Portuguese tarts ($2) ooze a custard capable of relaxing even an auctioneer's palate.
In Browns Socialhouse, backed leather stools and cushy booths flank tables. On the walls, oversize illuminated signs reading EAT and Liquor shine brightly against the cozily lit dining room. Mixing social-house comfort with a contemporary edge, the decor at Browns Socialhouse mimics the style of its food. Chefs hand cut and double-cook fries to pile alongside their steak sandwich or housemade, hand-pressed burgers. They've got an eye for detail—for example, they char-grill their dry-aged pepperoni before piling it atop pizzas with pepperoncinis and asiago. The selection ranges from international favorites—such as street tacos and shrimp-and-chicken pad thai, among other—to updated pub eats, such as fish ‘n’ chips featuring pacific halibut dunked in a Sapporo beer batter. Every Saturday, Sunday, and on holidays, the chefs set their roosters to crow earlier so they can rise and mix up batches of their own hollandaise for brunches. They crack only free-range eggs for their brunch dishes, which include corned-beef hash and prosciutto eggs benedict with goat cheese.
Designed and hand-built by owner Patrick Tubajon, Gudrun's tasting room introduces visitors' palates to locally sourced and sustainable fare that helped garner the eatery an award for best new suburb restaurant from the Georgia Straight in 2009. Cheese selections span Canadian, global, and goat varieties and bubble in pots as eaters dip in Italian-style baguette pieces or slurp up the molten goodness via swirly straw. The eatery's menu changes depending on the season as well as in relation to what produce is available, and customers can look to a large chalkboard for the day's selection. All cheeses fill up stomachs alongside assorted fruits, nuts, and preserves. Though not included with today's Groupon, customers can cackle incantations over their cheesy cauldrons to order house-made charcuterie as well as a selection of sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines.
At Hog Shack Cook House the pit masters smoke their meats for 6 to 24 hours to bring out the tangy flavour that characterizes authentic Kansas City barbecue. Though taking its cue from KC, the menu plays host to a wide variety of dishes including Cajun chicken penne and pulled pork tacos. Traditional beef ribs and house-smoked brisket keep things classic as servers dish out heaping portions and bartenders fill glasses with one of more than 70 craft beers. By keeping the suds flowing, sauces slathered, and tuning the TVs to the big game or ultimate infomercial reel, the barbecue gurus foster a festive environment while adhering to the sensibilities of Southern and Midwestern hospitality.
A gentle breeze blows across the bay, travelling to an outdoor patio where it tousles the hair of patrons sharing tapas and lounging atop chic black-and-white couches. This scene embodies Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse, a restaurant whose staff aims to seamlessly fuse globally inspired cuisine, trendy decor, and serene ambience. The eatery's chefs seek balance between Asian and European culinary influences as they top their succulent steaks in demi-glace and craft rice bowels. These multicultural influences seem to echo the dining room's decor, which blends the familiar glow of chandeliers with Southeast Asian adornments, such as decorative elephants that sound their trunks and ask for a bite at each dish's arrival. Upstairs, staff refill wine glasses in a private dining room that overlooks the water.
Dressed in denim and leather, short hair spiked to a rebellious peak, Kayla Dhaliwall—aka the Dragon Chef—might not embody the usual image of a French bistro chef. But her unique style and passion for cooking have earned her praise from the Stevenson Insider—and have led her to a spot on Top Chef Canada. In January 2013, Dhaliwall brought her talents to the kitchen at Tapenade Bistro as its newest executive chef.
Founded a decade earlier by Vince Morlet, Tapenade Bistro began as an effort to blend French culinary traditions with a unique West Coast influence. Today, Vince's small harbor-side eatery holds true to this original intent with a focus on seasonal, local, and sustainable ingredients.
Chef Dhaliwall builds on this mission, improving on the Ocean Wise–approved menu with her own ideas, much like a hotshot mechanic who improves his tricycle with an ejector seat. Dhaliwall conjures platters of mussels and clams, pickle-battered fish ’n’ chips, yogurt-fried chicken and waffles, and Angus steaks. She also curates a local charcuterie and cheese platter, as well as makes her own blue-corn tortillas and ricotta cheese.
Complementing her dishes is a list of wines from small, independent BC producers—some of whom appear in the restaurant during Tapenade Bistro’s Winemakers Dinner Series.