Every business begins with a dream that takes its owner on a proverbial journey. Victor Sanchez did things a little bit backwards. He was out on the open road, rumbling along on a transcontinental motorcycle adventure to Argentina, and he crossed path with his muse: food. Victor fell so in love with the exotic cuisines he sampled throughout Mexico and South America that he vowed to share them with his Canadian neighbors.
Instead of starting from the ground up, Victor expedited the process. He purchased Carlos Cantina & Grill, a local hotspot with a solid reputation for tasty Mexican food. Though he vowed to preserve the menu that made the eatery so popular, Victor payed homage to the trip that started it all. He’s added monthly South American specialties to the lineup of tacos, chimichangas, and chicken mole in a homemade sauce. He recruited a team of chefs that craft flavourful burritos and enchiladas for people of all culinary inclinations—noting on the menu which entrees are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. Tangy margaritas and fire extinguishers filled with guacamole are always available to cool off tongues as guests dine amid brightly patterned tablecloths and warm adobe walls.
Fresh Cup Roastery Cafe owner Jim Townley professes the gospel of single-origin coffees whose flavours can "stand on their own." He imports organic beans from farmer-run co-ops in countries as far-flung as Indonesia, Peru, and Ethiopia. The beans release bold, nuanced flavours as they roast in the café's proprietary Roastaire. Fresh Cup also conducts tours of its roasting facilities to prove that the environmentally friendly roaster doesn't resort to dark, medium, or light magic. A team of engineers designed the roaster to conserve heat energy with a closed-loop system while precise controls produce consistent quality, eliminating the worry of burnt beans or hyper-caffeination.
Baristas stir the hearts of coffee lovers with artisanal touches such as house-mulled cider and the house-made caramel sauce that sweetens macchiatos. Wholesome ingredients such as organic flour and local free-range eggs make their way into soups, quiches, and panini sandwiches.
Since Villages Pizza’s launch in 1974, it has expanded to seven locations and an express pizza truck, all purveying the same wholesome pies. The pizzas are topped with fresh produce and lean cuts of meat, and they can start with a whole-wheat or gluten-free crust if desired. People with dietary restrictions can also find comfort in lactose-free cheese and lower-calorie flatbreads, although more classic ingredients comprise the bulk of the menu.
As a second-generation pizza maker, owner John Papaloukas is responsible for the eatery’s traditional Italian recipes, plus some new inventions with Mexican leanings. The pesto perfect pie is topped with roasted chicken breast, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and feta, and baked pasta dishes highlight the flavours of lean meatballs, marinara, and oven.
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.
The tranquil waters of scenic Cooper?s Cove lap against the outdoor patio at Stickleback West Coast Eatery, allowing diners to take in their surroundings as they chow down on artisan burgers, seafood, and sandwiches. Inside, a natural-cedar bar covers one side of the dining room, while at the opposite end broad windows let in warming sunlight. Against this nature-tinged backdrop, servers tote menu items such as bowls of red thai curry, texan burgers topped with pulled pork, and pan-seared halibut crusted with dried mushrooms. Located next to Rush Kayak Adventures, the eatery also gives patrons the opportunity to grab a burger before taking a paddle downstream to see what it?s like to be a tuna.
Since 1979, Cory Porter has helmed a family-friendly restaurant on the corner of Keating Cross Road and West Saanich Road. In memory of his granddaughter, Sapphira, Porter transformed what was formerly Smitty's into Sassy's after briefly shuttering the restaurant on the first day of 2012. In February 2012, Sassy's opened its doors. Today, Porter and the staff of Sassy's welcome visitors from morning to evening, dishing up all kinds of delicious comfort food?from eggs benedict and waffles to spaghetti and sitr-fry?in an environment that embodies the sassy attitude and positivity of Sapphira.