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.
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.
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.
For nearly three decades, the cooks at Chris's 2 for 1 Pizza have been perfecting pizzas with fresh ingredients, including hand cut vegetables and lean meats. Pizzas bring together inventive combinations of toppings, such as ranch sauce with chicken, tomatoes and crispy bacon or red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke heart, spinach, and feta. Along with regular and thin-crust, Gluten-free pizzas allow those with health and dietary concerns to eat pizza and see why there are so many Beach Boys songs about it.
Inspired by the owners’ life-changing trip to New Orleans in 1997, Blue’s Bayou Cafe re-creates the Cajun and creole flavours of the American south. As diners dig into horseradish-crusted fish, they can admire the American ephemera that crowd the walls of the dining room, such as portraits of Louis Armstrong and the famous mug shot of Frank Sinatra wearing 20 strings of Mardi Gras beads. Patrons can also choose to look at the marina from an outdoor heated deck, taking in the view between bites of jambalaya.