Arguably, the chain of all chains...of 'casual fine dining' restos
Cactus. Joeys. Milestones. Earls. Milestones. Earls. Joeys. Cactus. It's the battle of the 'casual fine dining' chain restaurants. They all have quite the number of similarities, more or less. Good looking servers (more or less), check. Exquisite decor and elaborate looking washrooms? Check (or maybe I'm just thinking Cactus Club). Long and extensive menus? Check.
Ok, so maybe I wasn't serious about Cactus Club being the 'chain of all chains'. I do quite enjoy the Spicy Thai Drummettes from Milestones and their darn Chicken and Corn Hash on their brunch menu. Ok, really, it's a toss-up between Joeys and Cactus, hence the 'arguably'. I love Joeys for their Ahi Tuna Tacos, Lobster Ravioli, and their desserts!!!
As for Cactus - I love love love love loveeeeee their bellinis, Bandara Salad, and the relatively recent addition of Rob Feenie's signatures has made it even better. Their Jambalaya is also quite drool-inducing.
On this night, I along with 2 other dining companions, shared 4 of their appetizers. We had the Crispy Yam Fries, the Bandura Salad, the Mini Burgers, as well as the Goat Cheese and Feta Flatbread (one of the reasons why we came here). The Yam Fries were nicely battered, plentiful and arrived with a garlic aioli dip. The Bandura Salad was hugggeee and very refreshing. It consists of cajun chicken, corn, feta, dates (!), crispy chow mein and topped with a honey-lime vinegarette. The Mini Burgers (one of Rob Feenie`s signatures) arrived as three mini cheddar bacon burgers with a red pepper relish. The meat was well-seasoned and flavoured - all ingredients tasted very fresh. The flatbread was pretty good too. I loved the combination of goat and feta cheese, caramelized onions, and cherry tomatoes. They were the prefect ingredients. The flatbread was a bit more doughy than expected (I`ve had more crispier, flat breads), but it still tasted very good.
They have the BEST bellinis here. Hands down. They put just the right amount of alcohol, and their ratio of syrup to water to ice (and whatever else is put into a bellini) is just perfect. They also have a new `Summer Sangria` ($9), it`s huge and so worth it. The sangria itself is great, and they add in a dollop of their bellini...it`s a splash of heaven, I tell ya.
Attentive and friendly
Prices are a little higher here (approx. $17 incl. tax per person for the appies)
Pretty much packed most of the time. Loud (music & people). Beauuutiful washrooms (in fact, they are voted as having one of the best washrooms in Canada or something like that). I saw Jojo (teenage singer) and Robin Williams at the Robson location once (they were in town filming the movie, RV)
Yay: Good food and even better drinks. Come here if you miss `Feenie`s`. Nice, trendy place.
Nay: Usually busy at all locations that I`ve been to. They don`t accept resos.