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By Sheliza Mitha

Six tempting restaurants. Countless culinary experiences. One dynamic venue. Welcome to the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam.

A quick tour of the Hard Rock reveals a world of excitement and opportunity – including casino games, fun memorabilia, live entertainment and some remarkable cuisine. Along with slots, about a dozen table games and live shows (think comedy and concerts), you’ll also find innovative and eclectic restaurants with names that include: Asylum, Chip’s Sandwich Shop, Fú Express, Fuel Café, Roadies’ Burger Bar and (because this is a casino after all) The Buffet at Unlisted.

With a reputation for world-class dining and experiences, it should come as no surprise that Coquitlam’s Hard Rock Casino – the only one in Canada, by the way – delivers at every turn. Here, each of the seven restaurants is focused on sourcing fresh and local as much as possible. The idea is to satisfy your appetite regardless of your craving or preference – all in one place.

Since this is a casino, after all, it would be remiss not to highlight The Buffet. However, this is not your standard unidentifiable, heat-lamped lumps of food couching idly all day long in dull silver-hued bins. Rather, imagine vibrant dishes made from local, seasonal produce and perfectly-prepared cuts of meat and fish.

The Buffet at Unlisted
The Buffet at Unlisted

Visit on a Tuesday, and you’ll be whisked away to another part of the world with The Buffet’s internationally-themed menus. From Greek and Italian to Mexican and Chinese, there’s a world of flavour on offer. On Thursdays, specialty dinners are on the menu (think steak and lobster, and crab boil among other delights… yes at a buffet!) for just $24.99.

The Buffet at Unlisted
The Buffet at Unlisted

The Buffet is priced for lunch at $11.99 and dinner at $16.99 (quite a deal, especially if you are coming from the USA and factor in the exchange rate).   Considering the strong US dollar, there’s almost no better time to dine, play and experience Coquitlam’s Hard Rock Casino. Win or lose, at least you can feast like you’ve just hit the jackpot.

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The Hard Rock Casino is easily accessible off Highway 1, located at 2080 United Boulevard in Coquitlam (southeast of downtown Vancouver).

By Tim Pawsey

Only a few minutes from Richmond, YVR or downtown New Westminster, smart and sparkling Starlight Casino blends a range of dining options with everything from Blackjack to Roulette.

Wings at Match Eatery & Public House
Wings at Match Eatery & Public House

If you’re having a tough time leaving your favourite slot spot or roulette table, barely a few paces away, the Buffet at Starlight offers a set price brunch, lunch or dinner, with themed buffets that vary by the day, from Italian to Mediterranean and Mexican. Feeling a need to celebrate those winnings? Cozy in to a booth at the red velvet festooned Redbar Lounge, where you can also cut loose on the dance floor with live entertainment.

Beet salad at Match Eatery & Public House
Beet salad at Match Eatery & Public House

Adjoining the main casino, expansive Match Eatery & Public House offers a friendly welcome, along with an army of taps, featuring a full spectrum of local and imported brews, as well as good pub fare. Pasta, fish ‘n chips, gruyere stuffed meatballs, and nachos are mainstays, along with skillet roasted mussels, beef dip, pizza and plenty more. Moreover, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house if you’re there to watch a game; the restauraunt boasts no less than 27 high definition screens. Outside creature comforts include booths and fire tables, with overhead heaters for winter and misters for when the mercury climbs.

The Caesar at Match Eatery & Public House
The Caesar at Match Eatery & Public House

For a change of pace, all it takes is a short wander next door to Shang Noodle House, with its modern, light-wood trimmed decor and central bar with high stools, perfect for a quick snack. The choices here range from dim sum bites such as Shanghai style, wontons and spring rolls to substantial servings of stir fried ramen with prawn, scallop, chicken and barbecued pork. The house specialty, seven different kinds of nutritious and beneficial Japanese mushrooms are blended into hand pulled noodles and blended into the delicious house broth.

The jewel in the Starlight crown, however, is next door Kirin Restaurant, one of four Kirin across Greater Vancouver, which enjoy a well-deserved reputation for excellent cuisine. The menu is extensive, including a cornucopia of live seafood, and the presentation artfully exquisite. Among the lengthy list of “don’t miss” house specialties: creamy and nutty giant geoduck, sliced and shaved paper-thin; the chilled seafood appetizer platter; salt and pepper spiced Dungeness crab with onion, black bean and chili sauce; roast squab; classic Peking Duck and ‘Love Bird’ fried rice. No wonder, later in the week there’s rarely a spare table in this luxuriously appointed spot with its relaxing mood and polished service.

Starlight Casino
350 Gifford St
New Westminster, BC
www.starlightcasino.ca