After 14 years of running award-winning full-service Caribbean restaurants, Liz da Mata prides herself on staying ahead of the curve. Like many of her customers, she’s a mother who tries to make healthy food choices for herself and her family. So when the B.C. government launched its voluntary Informed Dining program last year, the owner of The Reef — with two locations in Vancouver and one in Victoria — jumped on board.
If you’ve ever had a night out in Halifax, there’s a good chance you’ve noshed a messy, sweet and savoury donair. The classic Haligonian dish is saucy, intensely spiced and unmistakeably meaty — spit-roasted beef is shaved and seared, heaped on a pita and topped with raw onions, tomatoes and a creamy garlic dressing. Devouring one is practically an East Coast gastronomic rite of passage. So, what’s a donair-deprived vegetarian to do? That’s easy: head over to Halifax’s The Wooden Monkey for the herbivore’s version of the quintessential late-night snack.
The passion Canadian barbecue operators have for their craft is as discernable as the luscious aroma their in-house meat smokers produce. While their wood-burning pit — the heart of any true barbecue restaurant — pumps out a rich, smoky smell of slow-cooked meats, barbecue restaurateurs loudly and proudly praise the “cue.”
It’s Friday night at two-month-old Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Toronto’s tony Leaside area, and the joint is hopping. Janis Joplin’s ragged voice fills the bright white-tiled restaurant as a server at the order counter calls “heads-up” to the red and white-clad guys and gals manning the long open kitchen, and calls out: “Five at the door! Three at the door! Six patties!” Customers munch on roasted in-shell peanuts and read framed reviews from Boston and Florida while watching their Angus beef patties being seared, turned, pressed thin and left to finish cooking on a hot griddle. Meet the U.S. version of the better burger — coming to a Canadian city near you.