Using authentic Italian and regional recipes, East Side Mario's chefs craft extensive menus filled with pastas, meat dishes, and kid-friendly food. Pizza kneaders hand-press and cattle-brand Sicilian-style thin-crust pizzas piled with toppings such as pepperoni, goat cheese, and caramelized onions before loading them into stone ovens to brown and crisp. Tortellini and ravioli pastas feature savoury fillings of braised beef or four-cheese blends, and the oven-baked lasagna boasts as many as 16 layers of noodles and bolognese-glazed sausage. The eatery also carries kid-friendly options in its Mini Mario's Meals, such as a kid-size chicken parmigiana and breaded triangles of mac ’n' cheese.
East Side Mario's staff fosters a family-friendly atmosphere, and its kitchens use fresh ingredients to concoct their edible Italian sonatas. Depending on the location, diners snuggle up to ample plates at cushioned booths or bistro tables arranged across tiled or hardwood floors surrounded by wood accents and framed vintage photos of approving Tuscan grandmothers.
When Ronn Teitelbaum opened the first Johnny Rockets location in 1986, his goal was to create a restaurant where people could escape the postmodern blues of everyday life and experience a taste of time-honored Americana. The name itself is a nod to this ideal. It combines the star of a classic American fable, Johnny Appleseed, and a classic car, Oldsmobile’s beefy Rocket 88.
That explains why during dinners at the famous burger joints, you’ll see signs of simpler times, starting with the cooks and servers—dressed head to toe in white, including white paper hats, they look like they’ve fallen out of a wormhole from the 1950s ready to sling shakes and cook up some eats. Behind a stainless-steel bar lined with red leather stools they tend to their traditional diner fare, including burgers and melts with sides such as chili-cheese fries and onion rings. Riding sidecar to each meal is a collection of hand-dipped and hand-spun floats, shakes, and malts topped with whipped cream.
The perfume of fresh ginger and coriander wafts through Ambiance of India’s elegantly appointed dining room, twisting through intricately carved handmade furniture and bouncing off of lavish golden artwork. Championing a multi-sensory approach to the culinary arts, the restaurant replicates the luxurious atmosphere of a club in Mumbai through dark-wood decor and plush red carpets that work in concert with the kitchen’s authentic Indian dishes. A trio of clay tandoor ovens clustered in the middle of the dining room radiates their cozy heat and whiffs of the spice-laden victuals through the space. As diners’ admire the vibrantly hued figures depicted in the restaurant’s traditional paintings, chefs artfully chop, stir, and execute Risky Business slides across the floor in the kitchen as they craft traditional meals such as fresh-baked naan and spice-laden kebabs.
Nawab Fusion Grill was founded in Kenya in 1989 and has since spread its Indian-Asian-fusion flavours into far-flung locales including Dubai, Uganda, India, and now Toronto. Within the bustling kitchen, chefs prove their dedication to the creation of fresh food as they whip up new batches of sauces every day, tossing vegetable dumplings in a chili-garlic sauce and spinach balls in a creamy spinach sauce.
Nawab’s crew of culinary wizards has worked tirelessly to invent five of the dishes featured on their menu, creating noshes that, like Hamlet performed by a digitized cast, update the classics to suit modern tastes. These fusion dishes pair with Mumbai mojitos, Bollywood sangria, and light and dark Cheetah beers, which were specifically brewed to complement spicy cuisine.
Baskin Robbins' worldwide expansion can be attributed to one thing: gourmet ice cream. More than 31 flavours fill its freezers, with classic flavours such as chocolate chip or butter pecan, and rotating seasonal flavours such as the cherry-filled black forest cake or green tea. Not content to just serve scoops, Baskin Robbins molds their ice cream into cakes, milk shakes, and sundaes made scrumptious by pieces of fresh fruit. Baskin's staff also swirls up soft serve cones, bowls, and parfaits filled with fruits and sweets. The ice creameries also indulge weight-conscious eaters with a menu of no-sugar-added sherbets, light yogurts, and sorbets.
While the diners of Krazy Cactus Restaurant & Sports Bar watch sports or play XBox 360 games on one of 13 plasma TVs, they keep coming back to sample the restaurant’s 75 wing flavours. Ranging from mild to extra-hot, the sauces include traditional barbecue and jerk selections to more distinctive options such as dill, gravy and cheese, or pineapple mango curry. To complement these finger foods, chefs mould dough into pizza crusts and fire-grill chicken souvlaki until it gains the charred texture needed to complement lemony flavours or look at home on a fireman’s nightstand. On Friday nights, the staff turns down the volume of the game to accommodate the live bands that serenade guests until the bar closes.