It was announced today that B.C.-based chain restaurant Cactus Club Cafe will be opening its first Ontario location at 100 King St. W. (at Bay) next year, just a short walk away from Earls (150 King St. W. at University) in the Financial District. Both casual chain restaurants hail from the west (and both have headquarters in Vancouver, though Earls was founded in Alberta) and have excellent, trophy-worthy washrooms. But which establishment deserves your dining dollars? Here’s a brief comparison of the two:
Earls: “Our culinary team travels the world to get the inside scoop on the best of the international food scene. Then they come home and go to crazy lengths to custom-create recipes and hand-craft dishes that will have you coming back for more.”
Cactus Club: “We travel the world to bring our guests an innovative and globally inspired menu. By pairing unmatched quality with addictive flavours, our goal is to offer tastes for every lifestyle.”
Advantage: The menus are, not surprisingly, similar. But the Cactus Club has chef Rob Feenie (pictured above)—the first Canadian to win Iron Chef—designing the menu so there’s that.
Washroom bragging rights
Earls: Currently in the running for the 2012 Canada’s Best Restroom contest
Cactus Club: Won the inaugural Canada’s Best Restroom contest
Advantage: Cactus Club for secured victory
Asian-ish noodles/rice dish
Earl’s: “Hunan Kung Pao”
Cactus Club: “Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl”
Advantage: Earl’s, because you can take the Salad King route and specify how many peppers you want to spice the dish.
Earl’s: Dominical fish tacos
Cactus Club: Lingcod fish tacos
Advantage: Tie. Because fish tacos are awesome.
Conclusion: Whether or not you’re a fan of big-box restos, you know both places will be packed with nearby office workers after work.—Karon Liu
Rob Feenie photo: Charla Jones/Toronto Star