Guests enter the luxurious dining room and revel in the aroma of grilled steaks and lamb chops. After sidling into a comfy chair at a table decked in a white tablecloth, they peruse the menus dotted with juicy cuts of black Angus beef and king crab legs. Diners welcome steaming plates of food to share table real estate with glasses of wine, consulting the hospitable staff for pairing recommendations and advice on which wines are the best conversationalists. If not partaking in a full meal, guests can recline in the lounge and sip cold beer while watching sports on the plasma TVs. Larger parties commune in the expansive banquet hall, munching on customized menus built to accommodate parties of 20–140.
Margaritas, beers, and strawberry daiquiris fuel a lively atmosphere inside Taco Hut, where servers transport platters of fajitas, chimichangas, and other Mexican fare in the glow of flat-screen TVs. Besides tortilla-based eats, a selection of piled-high burgers help warm up jaws before attempts to impress dates by reciting the entire phone book.
Indian cuisine is famously complex, but diners at Koyla Indian Restaurant get at least a peek at how it's prepared. The restaurant's signature cooking method is right in the name—koyla means "coal"—and chefs use its heat in full view within an open kitchen. Cinnamon and cloves, garlic and saffron fill the air as marinated chicken, shrimp, and goat simmer and sizzle. Although grounded in the cuisine of Northern India, founder Deep Singh and his chefs demonstrate a strong taste for experimentation. That's evident in the large menu's Indo-Chinese section, which holds hybrids such as chili paneer—the traditional Indian cheese spiked with house-made chili sauce. Pesto chicken and calamari masala reflect Singh's time as the proprietor of a small Italian cafe.
A mural of an especially cuddly-looking Taj Mahal brightens one wall of Koyla's softly-lit dining room. The motif continues as painted chili peppers wind around the room behind an ample buffet, served alongside champagne on the weekends.
At Ontario Improv, comics lure laughs from bellies in the hopes of following in the footsteps of standup legends such as Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Chappelle, all of whom have graced the Improv’s stages. The club's calendar schedules comedians as often as six nights a week, alternating between big-name headliners and up-and-coming performers. As they take in shows, audience members can munch on savory appetizers such as spinach-and-artichoke dip or fried calamari, and sip cocktails to avoid eye contact with the giant rubber chicken sitting at the next table.
A family Mexican restaurant by day, Tequila Bar & Grill transforms into a nightclub at night, at which point couples groove to salsa tunes played by live bands and Djs or sing Spanish and English karaoke. Patrons dine on authentic cuisine, such as tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas amid exposed brick walls and south of the border-inspired tiling.
Garden Square Restaurant & Pies' professional palate-pleasers dish out a menu of traditional American fare fused with the culinary customs of south-of-the-border spatulas. Jump-start the morning gold rush with the California omelet ($8.29), a zesty egg cocoon teeming with ortega chilies, avocado, and jack cheese alongside a dollop of homemade salsa, or fuel up for a long day at the butter churn with the ultimate breakfast, a protein-rich force of eggs, ham, bacon, and sausage patrolling a platter of hash browns and toast ($10.59). Erstwhile East Coasters can enjoy the tasty triumvirate of roast beef, grilled onions, and peppers in the philly cheese ($8.79), and herbivores can opt for the vegetarian focaccia ($6.69), a harvest of avocado, tomato, onions, crop-duster debris, and cucumbers.