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Arts in Review

The Cascade’s Restaurants of the Year (2012)

The Cascade’s top ten local restaurants we covered in 2012

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Contributors: Dessa Bayrock, Ali Siemens, Joel Smart, Amy Van VeenEmail

Print Edition: January 16, 2013

10. Vedder Sushi

We live on the West Coast and there are a lot of sushi places. But how can you tell which ones are legitimately good and which ones will give you food poisoning? Well, dear reader, I’m here to lend my glowing recommendation to Vedder Sushi. I’ve been eating there since it opened in 2009 (and quaintly kept the “grand open” banner up until 2011). The chefs are friendly, the miso has sizeable tofu content (which cannot be overstated), the deep-fried California roll is to die for and they succeed in making even basic menu items spectacularly more than basic. – D.B.

9. Rocko’s Family Diner

If it’s 2 a.m. and you’ve got the munchies, your options in the Fraser Valley are pretty limited. What more could you hope for than 420 different milkshake (and ice cream float) flavour options? How about a burger with two patties, bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, onion rings and fries between two grilled-cheese sandwiches? Deep-fried French toast? You can find it all at Rocko’s Diner on the Lougheed Highway in Mission. Denny’s ain’t got shit on this place. Plus, it’s a family owned and run establishment that’s been in our community since 1956. Oh yeah, and that crazy burger? It’s called the Beau-HeMoth. – J.S.

8. Wendel’s

Books and coffee: it’s a logical marriage and one that has been capitalized upon with chain stores across North America, but there’s something about squeezing inside the creaky doors of Wendel’s. The nearness of the tables combined with the mouth-watering display of fresh baking and original wood flooring makes this café restaurant cozy, not claustrophobic. And after a refreshing jaunt down the Fort to Fort trail, sometimes a coffee and slice of pie is anything anyone needs. – A.V.

7. Hilltop Café

I love diner food. There is something about sitting down in a diner with a menu full of semi-unhealthy items that just curls my toes with delight. I would consider myself a clubhouse sandwich connoisseur. The bread shouldn’t cut the roof of your mouth, real bacon, the turkey should be real and not shaved from a deli and you should be able to eat the stacked sandwich without it falling a part in your hands. Hilltop Café has this mastered. Everything is perfect, and it comes with the option of having cranberry sauce on the side. It is served with a side of shoestring cut fries, which are crisped perfectly. Aside from having several movies filmed inside the restaurant, it should also be recognized for its homemade pies. Cold, heated up or alamode I think everyone should put “have a piece of Hilltop Café’s pie” on their bucket list. – A.S.

6. Cookies Grill

Cookies Grill is a restaurant that focuses on the simple things: friendly and familiar waitresses, all day breakfast and an excellent club sandwich. Their eggs benny are some of the best in Chilliwack and their trucker hours are kind to early birds. The hashbrowns have yet to disappoint and their specialty soup—cream of mushroom with chicken and garlic—is good enough to take home for the family, but finish it off before they get there. – D.B.

5. O’Neill’s

If you ever have a hankering for a good sandwich or sandwich-like meal, O’Neill’s has taken my heart away from the mainstream sandwich chains. The sandwiches they produce are of a reasonable cost and are among some of the most delicious I have ever eaten. My biggest complaint has been their hours. They are a lunch joint only, and therefore not open during the evening when I get the largest cravings. As well, there is really only one true “special” sandwich on the menu. If you order another, O’Neill will kindly recommend that you don’t order it. And, if the owner doesn’t have faith in the rest of the menu, it is probably best to trust him. That being said, his flagship dish is still to die for. – D.B.

4. The Roasted Grape

Downtown Abbotsford has the good fortune of being filled with adorable bistros and restaurants filling storefronts up and down Montrose and Essendene, and The Roasted Grape is one of these notable eateries. Sitting in what used to be a bank, the vault-turned-kitchen supplies patrons with delicious and local infused meats and cheeses with a variety of wines. It’s the kind of place where you could dress up for an evening and have a sophisticated date or scoot out for a lunch break that turns into a several-hour gab session. Comfortable and elegant, The Roasted Grape knows what they’re doing. – A.V.

3. Little Farmhouse in the City

If you don’t have a breakfast nook in your own home, Little Farm House in the City offers just that – small but comfy tables accompanied by the ambience of a fireplace. One of my favourite menu items is their breakfast croissant, which is featured in many different dishes. Whether you want a croissant by itself, with a cup of fruit or have it loaded with eggs, cheese, sausages and other toppings, their croissant is delicious however it’s served. Breakfast in my opinion is best served with a great cup of coffee, and this restaurant has mastered the skills of brewing a perfect cup of coffee. Not to mention, the service is always great, so your coffee cup will never be empty. – A.S.

2. Brambles Bistro

On the border of what Abbotsfordians consider the country, Brambles Bistro provides a getaway spot to take an extra breath and eat some quality food. Their meals make customers feel healthy instead of gross, satisfied instead of stuffed and the fact that it’s situated in Tanglebank Gardens adds that much more to the experience. After all, when one feels so inspired by fresh cooking, purchasing one’s own herb garden on the way out seems logical. And maybe some scented candles. And fun cake plates. And a bouquet of flowers, just because. – A.V.

1. Mitch Millers

Walking into this quaint downtown Abbotsford restaurant is always warm and welcoming. Whether you want breakfast, lunch or dinner, their menu has something for every meal of the day. Their breakfasts are delicious, my personal favourite being their eggs benedict. Whether you want a classic ham and egg, or you’re feeling adventurous and decide to try the portabella mushroom and bacon, you won’t be disappointed. Also, their soups are all made in house, nothing coming from a box or package ensuring maximum flavour and quality. In terms of dinner, their rice and pasta dishes are exceptional, never scarce on veggies. Important to note, their menu also offers extensive gluten-free options as well as many vegetarian dishes. – A.S.

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