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Best Restaurants of 2008 – Top 5

Yes, I know this post is kind of late, but here’s my pick of the top five places that I ate at in 2008. I’ve eaten at a lot of places around this city looking back on this last year, which is probably why I am trying to go on a diet now to recoup for my “gain”. This list isn’t necessarily ordered in any way, I could almost think of these five places as equals in most regards. All photography provided by the Medicine Hat Restaurants website.

1. Pho Dao Vietnamese Noodle House

Pho Dao is a very fresh and very fast Vietnamese-style restaurant. It’s not your typical Americanized Chinese restaurant, the food here seems very authentic, or at least different from some of the other restaurants in the city. It’s also very fast, sometimes me and my girlfriend get our food within minutes, way faster than any fast food place. The dishes consist of many different types of noodles with different combinations. Other traditional dishes are also available and combo meals, consisting of rice, pork, chicken, shrimp, vegetables and other things. Their spring/meat rolls are some of the most tastiest I’ve ever had. My favourite pick from Pho Dao is Combo #4: Steamed vegetables, rice, charbroiled pork & chicken, wonton soup and spring rolls.

Pho Dao - Spring Rolls

Pho Dao - Spring Rolls

2. Thai Orchid Room

Thai Orchid Room is a very nice place to eat and could definitely be considered fine dinning. They have many beautiful dishes most of which are on the pricier side but it’s definitely worth it. The food is truly an authentic Thai experience with a very large menu consisting of curries, stir-frys, vegetable dishes, noodles, rice, soups and salads. My girlfriend loves it because of all the different curry meals you can get (one of the only places in town for good curry), but I love some of the other stir-fry meals as well. They are definately a little different than what you are used to, especially if you get some of the hotter (spicy) dishes.

Thai Orchid Rom - Green Curry Pork

Thai Orchid Rom - Green Curry Pork

3. Dublin’s Pub

This is a listing you might find strange for one of these lists, with Dublin’s being a pub and all. Dublin’s Pub definitely has a different take on pub-style food. Most all dishes are Irish themed and feature some more traditionally Irish or European meals such as Shepherds’ Pie and Poor Boy. There’s still all your pub favourites though and my favourite meal would have to be the Danny’s Devil Burger which is a homemade-style hamburger (they prepare it from scratch) with bacon, cheese, and a BBQ sauce with spuds (their name for wedges) on the side. They have beer from all over the world, but unfortunately no Guiness on tap as one of my friends clearly pointed out.

4. Jungle Cafe

Jungle Cafe really takes buffet to a whole new, tasty level. Even though it’s on the expensive side, I think I always get my dollars worth just from the amount of food and deserts I eat. If you dine here (for the buffet), definitely bring your appetite. The great part about the buffet is it’s always changing and the different meats and dishes are quite diverse and always have a high quality. One day they could be serving honey glazed chicken breast in of the the dishes, the next they could be serving pasta and cheese dishes. There’s always a lot of variety too. If you don’t like one, there will always be lots of options – and if all else fails there’s plenty of (healthy) sides like steamed vegetables, rice, soups, fruits and a whole table of deserts including any type of pie/cake you can think of.

Jungle Cafe - Buffet

Jungle Cafe - Buffet

5. Samir’s Donair

I have only eaten here half a dozen times, but every once and awhile I get a craving. The options here might be a little weak, but they make up for the smaller menu with being truly authentic mediterranean food including, donairs (ofcourse), baklava, falafel and a variety of salads. There’s tons of different options for your dishes as well as sauces including sweet donair sauce, tzatzik sauce, chili sauce, hot sauce, death sauce, humus and more. The prices are very decent as well, and for people doing parties, or just people with big appetities there’s some pretty big sizes that you can get (Jumbo & T-Rex).

Samir's Donair - Beef Donair with Sweet Sauce

Samir's Donair - Beef Donair with Sweet Sauce

These are just my favourites – obviously I tried to source out some of the more localized places rather than featuring chain restaurants like McDonalds (I have an unholy passion for McNuggets). Now with “eating healthier” mentality for 2009, I am not sure what next year’s list will be like – maybe Sean can cover that one.

Best Medicine Hat Restaurant of 2008

  • Dublin's Pub (29%, 22 Votes)
  • Other (23%, 17 Votes)
  • Thai Orchid Room (20%, 15 Votes)
  • Pho Dao (16%, 12 Votes)
  • Samir's Donair (11%, 8 Votes)
  • Jungle Cafe (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 69

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User Comments

3 Responses to “Best Restaurants of 2008 – Top 5”

  1. January 14th, 2009 at 10:17 AM

    Sean says:

    I have eaten at three out of five of these restaurants, so here is what I have to say.

    Pho Dao:

    It is a fairly decent restaurant overall, there are almost always people there the three times I have gone. The bad thing is the food is prepared so quickly that it almost seems that as soon as you order it, it is coming out, which makes you wonder why and how. Even if the food is sitting in the back and needs only a minute or two to cook, it still does not create a good sense of trust in the food preparation as it comes out so fast.

    Dublin’s Pub:

    I think this is the best out of the three restaurants posted that I have been to. Food is a fair price for how much you get, and you almost always get quite a lot. I have never been disappointed in going there. The waitresses are usually pretty quick to fill your glass and ask how the food is. I have always left the building feeling like I am going to burst from all the good food.

    Samir’s Donair:

    We have went here a few times, or more than a few. The first time I went, it was something new and delicious and I ate it all. But now, I enjoy it for a few bites, then the combination of warm spiced beef and cold vegetables, and sauces, just just of turn me away from it. I would still finish it, but by the end it is kind of “meh”. Kyle Krug would eat it often, but when I would go with him, I would not get anything. Pretty quick he decided to try a T-Rex, which is like two feet of Donair. He somehow ate it all, and then never went back (as far as I am aware) and I have not either. It is an okay place every now and then I suppose for a restaurant paradigm shift.

  2. August 8th, 2009 at 4:32 AM

    gdeang says:

    My wife and I went to Thai Orchid Room late afternoon yesterday for an early supper to celebrate our 5th wedding Anniversary. Our first time there and we were not disappointed. We had looked at the menu on Medicine Hat Menus and had decided on our selections beforehand.

    My wife had a seafood dish with sweet basil, while I had seafood with green curry — both dishes accompanied by coconut rice. The service was fast and friendly, and the waitress was proud to work for the restaurant and knowledgeable about the origins of the ingredients.

    Excellent rating from both of us.

  3. June 1st, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Dean says:

    Samir’s Donair is garbage. Go to Antonio’s across from the Safeway in Crescent Heights. THAT is how a donair is done.

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