The chefs at The Eastern Pearl may specialize in gourmet Cantonese dishes, but they don't always limit themselves to the flavors of South China. An expansive menu celebrates the diversity in Cantonese food while also drawing from other regions of China and Hong Kong, and spices are used only in moderation to put the focus on the meats and vegetables. Chicken, beef, pork, and fish are the focal points of colorful plates ranging in flavor from sweet and sour to bold and spicy. House specialties, meanwhile, include a massive peking duck platter and flaming prawns that can be used to light romantic candles. And it isn't just the cuisine that pays tribute to other cultures: lavish interiors whisk diners away to warmer climes with accents of saffron and red. Thin dark-wood partitions with geometric designs divide the booths, and replicas of the famous Qin terracotta warriors stand guard on one wall.
Asian Wok 'n' Roll's chefs fuse the spices and traditions of Chinese, Thai, Indian, Malaysian, and Indonesian cuisines to craft a menu brimming with diverse Asian flavours. Along with the ever-popular all-you-can-eat lunch buffet at the Millcreek Drive location, both Mississauga locations offer catering to spice up special occasions, such as Chinese New Year and its lesser-known sibling, Chinese Adopt-a-Dragon Day.
At Sakura Garden, diners don?t have to choose between Chinese food or sushi?they can enjoy them both in a single meal before washing it down with an Asian beer or fruit-flavored sake. At the corner sushi bar, chefs combine vinegared rice, seaweed, fresh fish, and vegetables into artfully prepared dishes such as the Sakura Garden special roll, a colorful mix of tuna, salmon, crab, eel, and avocado rolled up in soy paper, then drizzled in a housemade sauce and flying-fish roe. The Chinese dishes are just as fresh and delicious; choose from a number of pork, chicken, beef, or shrimp entrees served with white or brown rice.
Executive Chef Chaz Bulera and his team fashion dinner and lunch menus out of selectively sizzled meats, fish, and pasta. Lunch fare, such as a pulled-pork sandwich ($8) and a buffalo-chicken wrap with its coif of blue cheese ($9) effortlessly shame standard sandwich-shop selections. The dinner menu kick-starts appetite engines with sesame-seared ahi tuna ($9) and subtly seasoned calamari ($7) before revving them lightly with a portobello-pesto sandwich ($8) or heavily with a bacon-wrapped filet mignon ($21).
Statues strike meditative poses atop Spicy Thai's front desk, as if they're contemplating each delicious scent that emanates from the kitchen. Beyond this checkpoint lies a dining room peppered with gilded masks, red ceiling tiles, forest-green napkins, and tablecloths as crisp and white as a freshly ironed snowflake. Here, friendly servers deliver colorful plates piled high with Thai dishes such as pad thai and panang curry with peanuts and broccoli. The chefs also prepare several house specialties, including an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet and phuket grouper, a deep-fried fish fillet accompanied by onions, green peppers, and a tangy chili sauce.
Williamsville, NY. The early 20th century. A man guides his family’s horse-drawn carriage through the flurries of snow sweeping across their circular driveway before coming to a halt in front of a striking two-story home. The ride was long and chilly, but inside, homey warmth awaits. Today, teleportation discs may have replaced the horse and buggy, but travelers still traverse the same driveway in search of a warm welcome. Now the home of Parings Wine Bar, the turn-of-the-century house reflects the goal that owner Shelia Paolini shared with the Amherst Bee’s Jessica Finch: “We want it to feel like you are coming into a living room, that you are at home, not at a bar.”
As soon as guests push open the bright-red front door, they enter a space that combines the comfort of a lived-in family room with the gourmet flavors found at traditional wine bars. Lit by flat-screen TVs and a cozy fireplace, guests peruse Chef Scott Martin’s ever-changing menu, which often features mediterranean nachos, lobster mac 'n' cheese, and horseradish beef tenderloin. Resident sommelier Alphonso DiMono’s wine list, which culls vintages from global wineries from Australia to France to California, perfectly complements the chef's creations. The bar’s mixologists also shake up more than 20 martinis infused with treats such has espresso vodka, Godiva white-chocolate liqueur, and pumpkin puree. As they sip and eat, guests can also join in special event nights that include art shows, live music, and happy hours that feature 20 types of wine for just $20 per bottle.