Not all pizzas are predictable—at least not at The Original Royal Pizza. There, handmade dough can shake off its stereotypical pepperoni guise in favor of more adventurous costumes, becoming the Royal Cheeseburger pizza with beef and double bacon, or The Mediterranean with chicken, feta, and spinach. And like any great costume, the toppings that transform these pies are never prepackaged or frozen. Cooks slice the italian sausage and spicy pepperoni by hand, and pile fresh veggies high to create pies that feel distinctly homemade—a vibe that fits perfectly within the family-run, decades-old pizzeria. But just like mom, the chefs will dress up dishes almost any way their guests want, keeping it simple with plain cheese or testing the limits with oysters and crab.
Since 1978, the culinary teams at Chicken Chef's more than 40 locations have coated their eponymous fowl in special seasonings before pressure-cooking each piece. The chicken serves as the centerpiece of dinners paired with a rotating selection of sides, though the restaurant also offers chicken fingers, nuggets, and burgers.
The versatility of Chicken Chef's menu isn't limited to the namesake bird. Using dough made fresh every day, chefs shape pizzas topped with a choice of 10 ingredients, including mozzarella cheese and bacon. Eclectic treats, from traditional poutine to perogy, round out a menu complemented by beverages such as butterscotch shakes and bottomless cups of Chicken Chef's original coffee blend.
Deep in The Oakwood Caf?, a talented chef prepares contemporary Canadian dishes with tender cuts of beef, fresh vegetables, and complex sauces. The robust menu opens to breakfast options such as the Brizza, a flatbread pizza topped with eggs, cheese, and a complimentary alarm clock. As the day progresses, burgers, seafood, and pastas fill plates with chili peppers and rich mushroom sauces as sunlight cascades in through the windows. The menu also accommodates special diets with vegan and gluten-free options, which pair nicely with sips of fair-trade coffee and fine wines. To achieve a fresh taste, the kitchen team uses local ingredients whenever possible.
Amber hues bathe burnished wooden floors and ruddy amber walls at Civita, reflecting dramatic light onto dishes derived from a menu of inventive, Italian-inspired fare. Entrees, such as the snow-crab ravioli, prepared with cream cheese and a sun-dried-tomato-cream sauce, envelope tongue buds in luxury as velvety as the Mongols' haute couture line of change purses ($22.50). Pan-roasted chicken breast arrives robed in prosciutto and prepped for a gracious dive in garlic-thyme au jus ($24). Wood-oven baked pizzas are painted in shades ranging from minimalist margherita to the stomach-saturating meatza, topped with pepperoni, ground beef, chorizo sausage, and banana pepper ($11.50–$16.50).
Inside Carbone Coal-Fired Pizza, an 850-degree anthracite-coal-burning oven reigns unrivaled by a stovetop or fryer, birthing the restaurant’s signature Italian-style pizzas. The result is a perfectly charred, yet soft crust made from organic flour grown in the Canadian prairies. Goat cheese, calabrese salami, and fresh ricotta top the pies, and salads and sandwiches rely on fresh ingredients—the freezer’s sole role is to keep the gelato and diners’ snowballs chilled.
Guests can see all of this for themselves as they gaze into the open-air kitchen from Carbone's brick-walled dining room. After watching feasts make their ways to tables, guests can order libations from Carbone’s encyclopedic drink list. There, detailed wine descriptions remind sippers to taste for the notes of black raspberry in a Sicilian red or appreciate the crisp finish in an Australian chardonnay.