Rainbow-coloured blankets splayed on the walls signal that Ponchos Mexican Restaurant is a great place for a feast to become a fiesta. Arrive on the weekends, and a guitar-wielding entertainer plays festive music to boost the celebratory atmosphere. Since 1988, Kaeta Vasquez and her crew in the kitchen have crafted traditional Mexican dishes, such as paella for one or two, a steak-and-enchilada plate, flautas crisp from the fryer, and fajita platters sizzling with peppers and onions. To keep the party alive, diners can order Ponchos Coffee spiked with Kahlúa and Grand Marnier, which Kaeta herself escorts to each table and lights on fire.
Calle Tacos & Tequila's menu describes itself as casually evolved Mexican food. The eatery's cooks don't try to reinvent the wheel, but rather add tasty twists to popular dishes. They spice up ceviche with mango, onion, cucumber, and serrano peppers, whose intense flavors surround Atlantic cod. They revolutionize familiar burritos simply by serving them wet, topping them with a layer of red-pepper sauce and sending them to tables by pushing them down a slip 'n' slide. The same philosophy behind the food extends to the drinks. For example, the signature Callerita combines pure agave tequila with agave nectar and lime juice for a simple, three-ingredient interpretation of the classic drink.
Taco Time Victoria's dedicated taco artisans enhance their menu of fast Mexican eats with shells, chips, taste-bud-kicking sauces, and beef prepared fresh in-store each day. They dish up bite-size, deep-fried Mexi-Fries alongside spicy meals, and for dessert, they shower empanadas and Crustos with cinnamon, sugar, and warm fuzzies to make them extra sweet. Their original hot sauce enflames such entrees as quesadillas and burritos stuffed with canadian cheddar, and guests can take swigs of Pepsi products to cool their sizzling tongues more effectively than licking a snowman.
White-water raft down the Thompson River and you’ll likely encounter a famous rock formation dubbed The Frog—the inspiration behind Todd and Shari Pratt’s eatery, The Frogstone Grill. Just as the boulder's unique shape has stood the test of time, the Pratt's wanted to create a reliable and unique restaurant, distinguished by memorable dishes. And with a menu of Mexican, Italian, and Southwest-inspired contemporary fare, they've managed to do just that.
An open kitchen showcases the chefs' flair for culinary invention, giving patrons front-row seats to watch as they pull homemade breads and margarita pizzas fresh from the brick oven, and brush slow-smoked ribs with cranberry barbecue sauce. To the delight of their late-rising customers, the kitchen team makes breakfast until 3 p.m. on weekends, serving up generous helpings of blueberry-mango french toast and sizzling steak skillets. The kitchen staff also happily serves up gluten-free options throughout the day. Guests who aren't seated near the action still get a show of their own, thanks to guacamole made tableside from fresh avocados, cilantro, and jalapenos. And while patrons dine, they can also enjoy the eatery's aquatic-themed decor, including frog statues, fish tanks, and even the arcade classic Frogger.
Scanning Del Pollo's cozy dining room, it's not unlikely you'll see a few sombreros speckled throughout the largely hatless group of guests. That’s because waiters crown birthday celebrants with the classic Mexican cap, adding an air of unpretentious fun and festivity to the room. The cooks, however, make no such distinctions—they serve their authentic Mexican cuisine to everyone no matter their day of birth. These chefs fill sizzling fajitas with prawns tossed in house sauce, wrap flour tortillas around char-grilled AAA sirloin steak marinated with chipotle peppers, and whip up a Mexican poutine with achiote sauce, jalapeños, and a three-cheese blend. In addition to classic Mexican dishes, they whip up calamari with housemade tzatziki sauce and a New Orleans–style jambalaya comprised of chorizo sausage, scallops, and veggies. Bartenders complement the kitchen’s creations with a wealth of soft drinks, beers, shooters, and sangria, as well as specialty cocktails and margaritas. The soft glow from wall lamps, flatscreen TVs, and Christmas lights strung from the ceiling illuminate the live musicians who grace Del Pollo's stage.
When Joe and Theresa Klassen first founded Joey’s Seafood Restaurant in 1985, they were simply looking to create a friendly neighbourhood eatery that served made-to-order seafood. Though the company has since expanded to more than 69 franchises across Canada, it still falls under the leadership of its founder, who frequently develops new strategies for growth and expansion while continuing to supply each location with fresh, Pacific-based seafood. Joey’s offers two distinct dining experiences: full-service restaurants (designed for families and their hungry sock puppets) and quick-serve places (designed for younger generations). At the quick-serve eateries, foodsmiths dole out a smaller menu of fried fish and shrimp. The full menu includes seafood entrees such as sautéed PEI mussels, blackened Pacific snapper, and Joey’s famous fish 'n' chips—fillets of halibut, cod, or haddock dunked into a secret-recipe batter and then deep-fried in canola oil. Nationally, the company supports the Alzheimer's Society of Canada through local and national fundraising efforts. Since 2000, its franchises have collectively raised more than $950,000 for the organization.