When the Godinez family opened the first La Bamba in Saskatoon in 2007, part of their impetus was the exhaustion of searching for the authentic bouquet of flavours that bursts forth in traditional Mexican dishes. "We were tired of trying restaurants that pretended to be Mexican," Juan Godinez says on La Bamba's website, "but were never [finding] the real flavours we were craving." Their solution was that first restaurant in Saskatoon, whose success has bloomed into a family of three Mexican eateries. Today, the restaurant clings to its culinary roots by serving up enchiladas, flautas, tostadas and other authentic Mexican meals. They also offer gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options for those with dietary restrictions and those who firmly believe that they're stegosauruses.
In 1964, brothers Leroy and Forrest Raffel banded together to come up with a new restaurant concept. Arby's took off almost immediately on the coattails of its hallmark roast-beef sandwich and the founders’ idea of providing customers with fast, quality food. Over the company's 48-year franchise history, its foundational pièce de résistance of thinly sliced, juicy beef has been served in a many permutations, and continues to be popular today, served at more than 3,500 stores in North America. Today’s menu still ignites appetites with traditional beef sandwiches, plus hot and seasoned curly fries, fresh-chopped salads, and desserts good for richly capping off meals or bribing any bridge trolls on the way home.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location customers can sample thin pitas that encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for its bread and meats, and by offering a selection of healthy sandwiches.
Entering Los Chicos Restaurante Y Cantina, glittering star-shaped lanterns dangle from the ceiling, casting a bright glow on vivid Mexican artwork and bright blue, orange, and yellow walls. Lively music fills the air, and the aroma of sizzling steak, pork, and seafood wafts out from the kitchen. Servers bustle about the colourful space, carrying platters of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas and balancing trays of frozen margaritas. Others stand at tableside stations, preparing fresh guacamole and seeing how many avocado pits they can juggle before an audience of enthralled diners.
At Darakeh, kebabs marinate for as long as 24 hours before they’re roasted over an open flame. This attention to detail—as well as large helpings of “glorious, buttery” basmati rice—helped Darakeh to make the _Winnipeg Free Press_’s 2011 list of best small restaurants in Winnipeg. In addition to the usual kebabs, chefs showcase less commonplace delicacies such as Persian-style beef stew seasoned with dried limes and fried eggplant blended with persian whey.
Since 1978, the culinary teams at Chicken Chef's more than 40 locations have coated their eponymous fowl in special seasonings before pressure-cooking each piece. The chicken serves as the centerpiece of dinners paired with a rotating selection of sides, though the restaurant also offers chicken fingers, nuggets, and burgers.
The versatility of Chicken Chef's menu isn't limited to the namesake bird. Using dough made fresh every day, chefs shape pizzas topped with a choice of 10 ingredients, including mozzarella cheese and bacon. Eclectic treats, from traditional poutine to perogy, round out a menu complemented by beverages such as butterscotch shakes and bottomless cups of Chicken Chef's original coffee blend.