Among the lively chatter of friends and the glow of 11 HDTVs, Rusty’s offers a home away from home where patrons can relax and beer spills are not a big deal. Bartenders pour tall, frosty glasses of Canadian and import brews and shake up martinis and cocktails. The menu offers eclectic dishes, such as perogies and chorizo, butter-chicken rice bowls, and Big Kahuna flatbread. Patrons can pop in to catch the Canucks, BC Lions, and Whitecaps or stop by on Mondays to flex their golden pipes or practice their duck calls during karaoke. As a part of the community, the team at Rusty’s looks to help their patrons drink responsibly and offers a complimentary pickup-and-drop-off shuttle service from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Nando's Flame-Grilled Chicken, founded in South Africa in 1987, brings Portugal's peri-peri flame-grilled chicken to the Vancouver area with only the bare minimum of laser lights and smoke-shrouded, two-way mirrors. Discovered by Portuguese explorers in Africa in the distant days of maritime exploration, peri-peri is a fiery chili pepper that adds a kick of capsaicin to any cuisine, clucker-related or not. Nando's fresh chicken breasts luxuriate in their peri-peri marinade for 24 hours, resulting in dishes with a slate of Scoville-scale-scorching spice levels—mild lemon and herb, medium, hot, and the daredevil-only extra hot. Step up to Nando's counter to order from the menu of sandwiches, pitas, wraps, salads, and peri-peri chicken. Enjoy a grilled-to-order peri-peri half-chicken with a side ($11.39) such as spiced rice or hearty coleslaw, or bite around basted bones with a dozen peri-peri chicken wings with a side ($9.99). Nando's also sports peri-peri chicken breast sandwiches or pitas ($8.49–$10.79), chicken or veggie whole wheat wraps with a side ($8.49–10.79), and veggie burgers or pitas ($8.49–$10.79), as well as salads and salad meals ($3.99–$9.99) for lovers of leaves of lettuce.
The Derby Bar and Grill dishes up fruits from land and sea in the turf-club ambience of an elegant dining house and off-track wagering centre. Whether seated under chandeliers and rows of flat-screen TVs or in cream-coloured chairs in front of the Winners' Circle’s fireplace, patrons browse a menu of gourmet fare to complement their surroundings. Diners trawl for drunken garlic prawns flambéed in Sambuca ($12.75) or nestle into a bed of rice noodles under pad thai’s chicken or shrimp, accented with tamarind and fish sauce ($19.95). Flame-grilled 8-ounce New York peppercorn steak in cognac sauce struts from the kitchen trailing Derby’s garlic-and-cheese bread, seasonal vegetables, and O’Brien or mashed potatoes ($22.95). The Bourbon Blackjack burger blends hearty harmonies of pepper, cheese, and whiskey-mustard sauce ($13.95), and butternut-squash ravioli basks in white-wine-cream sauce ($12.95). All pastas bring along piquant garlic-bread sides, and sandwiches invite fries or house salad to join them with a singing picklegram.
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.
Like rifling through the office refrigerator at the United Nations, visiting Azul Restaurant involves sampling a lot of different cuisines, from traditional North American flavours and Asian fusion fare to dishes from Italy, Greece, and the Pacific Islands. Wonton soup and spring rolls add diversity to the eatery's signature stuffed burgers, which, like the best fortune cookies, are filled with cheese and bacon. Large TVs and game-day specials entice sports aficionados to cheer on their favourite teams over a plate of Thai-style chili chicken wings.
At NY Grill and Bistro, patrons choose from a variety of menu items to craft a personalized, three-course meal. Culinary journeys begin as diners consult compasses to navigate spoons through a creamy New England–style clam chowder (a $4.95 value) and then pierce forks into a choice of shrimp or chicken caesar salad (a $7.95 value). For entrees, nibble on New York–style ribs ($14.95), devour pasta offerings such as chicken fettuccine alfredo ($10.95), or cut into prawns on top of a charcoal-broiled new york steak ($14.95). Meanwhile, 42'' flat screen televisions engage eyes with a visual feast of sports games. Though not included in today's Groupon, patrons can quench thirst and curl biceps using pitchers of draft beer ($11.95), including an Okanagan Spring pale ale and Honey Brown lager.