There are so many chain restaurants out there right now but Earls, Moxies, and the Cactus Club Cafe seem to be the ones I visit most frequently. All three of these restaurants are great in their own right, but each of them have their own distinguishing qualities. I do spend a lot of time at pubs that are chains as well but in this post I am going to focus on these three restaurants because to be honest at the moment I am craving some items from each of them.
My all time favorite meals, which I regularly get and rarely stray from, are the Italian Style Pan Bread, Chicken Hunan Kung Pao, Dynamite rolls, Marghertia Pizza and Crispy Chicken Tenders. A few summers ago they added a Bibimbap which was deadly as well but I haven’t seen it on the menu recently. Another dish I do enjoy at Earls is the Jeera Chicken Curry, but its not something I would get every time I am there. We visit the Earls in Willowpark more than any other Earls location mostly because it is close to home and the patio in the summer is amazing. It’s large, you rarely have to wait, and the mojito specials are much more enjoyable in the sun :). Overall, I love Earls and I seriously hope they open one in between Legacy and Walden so I can walk there everyday in the summer.
Moxies has always been one of my favorite chain restaurants because the service is usually decent and the food is very consistent. Some of my go to’s at Moxies are the Double Stacked Turkey Club, Med Bread, and the Lettuce Wraps. Moxies is somewhere that I will ALWAYS try their feature menus and specials because they never cease to impress me. Some of the features from last summer were the Table Side Fresh Smashed Guacamole, Tuna Poke in a Jar, and Korean Fried Cauliflower, which were clearly hits among other people as well as they have been added to the regular menu. I don’t have a “favorite” Moxies location per se, but we definitely frequent the one in Shawnessy the most. The patio there is great along with their happy hour in the summer, so it’s hard not to at least make a few pit stops there when it’s plus 30 out!
I LOVE the Cactus Club Cafe. I would say it’s my favorite of the three, but the pricing is a little bit steep (in my opinion), to say its the best. However, the food is always top notch, I have never had a problem with the service, and their drink menu literally leaves NOTHING to be desired, it is just bang on. I usually end up only getting to the Cactus Club once or twice a year and mainly because they take reservations so it’s always busy and nearly impossible to get a table unless you plan ahead and my fiancés schedule rarely allows for us to do that. The Beef Carpaccio is the best in the city, and I have tried a lot, the texture of the meat, flavouring and consistency makes it hard to beat. The Tuna Tataki, Ravioli + Prawn Trio, and Calamari are a few more of my favorites, along with the Brazilian (kiwi, lime, and rum, DELICIOUS!).
On that note, I am off to the Cactus Club Cafe for dinner tonight for one of my good friends birthdays and I am more than looking forward to it! If you have a favorite chain or a favorite meal at one of these restaurants let me know!