When Richmond’s River Rock Casino Resort decided its food court needed refreshing, they didn’t just change a dish or two.
Instead, the dining area adjoining its bustling gaming floor was completely revamped with new outlets, elevated and expanded menus, and a far more welcoming ambiance.
The results were unveiled in February 2018, and we recently dropped by for an all-important taste-test (yes, we love our job). Suddenly hungry? Check out your options below.
The Italian word for ‘uncle,’ Zio’s is perfect for pizza fans. Centered on a snazzy, flame-licked stone oven, its crisp, thin-crust pies are made-to-order on fresh-pressed 8 or 12-inch dough bases.
Menu mainstays include margheritas and meat lovers, but build-your-own is the way to go here – toppings range from provolone to pork belly and from chicken to roasted garlic. Craving a pesto, pineapple and prosciutto pie? This is your chance to create one.
Zio’s isn’t all about pizza, though. There are also oven-toasted sandwiches and bottled pop from historic New York producer Boylan – we recommend the creamy Birch Beer.
Zio's | Photo: River Rock Casino Resort
Rock House has transformed the food court’s old burger bar into a gourmet spot committed to quality meat free of antibiotics and hormones. Also serving Boylans – plus Granville Island Brewing beers – the result is a surprisingly diverse menu.
The Canadian burger adds Canadian bacon (peameal bacon to the locals) to its quarter-pounder; the Kimchi burger includes Korea’s favourite fermented vegetable side as a fixin’; and the Farmhouse adds egg and aged cheddar. Vegetarian? The aptly-named, quinoa-based Bacon Hater is for you.
In fact, each Rock House burger can be made with a salmon, free-range chicken or quinoa patty – add fries, poutine or onion rings if you’re really hungry. Need more? Save room for a luscious craft soda float, made with premium Alberta ice cream.
Rock House | Photo: River Rock Casino Resort
Not everything changed completely with the revamp. The food court’s old noodle bar was so popular, it’s been brought back – with a new name, new kitchen and new menu. Chopsticks is the busiest eatery here, and it’s also the only one open 24/7.
Renowned for heaping, good-value portions, its menu combines popular Cantonese-style dishes like barbecue pork noodle soup and shrimp wonton noodle soup with a greatest hits roster of additional Asian favourites. These include congee, Singapore fried vermicelli and house-prepared sushi and sashimi.
Keep in mind that there are occasionally line-ups at Chopsticks. But if you dine off-peak, you’ll easily sidestep the queues.
Chopsticks | Photo: River Rock Casino Resort
Number 3 Chinese Restaurant
If the Chopsticks line-up is too long, try next door’s Number 3. Unlike the other food court options, this is a brand new casual restaurant with table service and a designated seating area.
Sharing its kitchen with Chopsticks, the menu is mostly Cantonese with some Szechuan options – expect everything from noodles to wok options to dim sum. Its build-your-own noodle bowl is popular, with toppings including squid, tofu or beef brisket. But while you’re polishing off your meal, look beyond the bowl. More than 400,000 recycled chopsticks were cleverly cleaned, shaped and polished to surface the tables at Number 3.
The problem with River Rock's shiny new food court? Deciding where to dine first. But if you cherry pick an item or three from each of the menus, you can create your own tailor-made feast – the perfect way to fuel-up for the nearby slots. Just make sure you don't spend all your winnings on gourmet pizza and steaming noodle bowls...