Canadian diners have an appetite for appetizers
Top types of appetizers/starters on Canadian menus
Non-breaded proteins appear as the most frequently featured appetizer or starter on Canadian menus. Seafood is one of the most prevalent varieties of non-breaded protein appetizers, including offerings featuring shrimp, mussels, lobster, scallops and fish such as salmon and tuna.
Because they feature more protein and less fat than breaded appetizers, non-breaded proteins serve as an attractive starter option for increasingly health-conscious consumers. Many of these appetizers feature ethnic flavours and ingredients, such as Canyon Creek Chophouse’s Moroccan Meatballs made of spiced lamb with mint and mango; the Mediterranean Short Ribs served with tzatziki sauce at Original Joe’s Restaurant & Bar; and St-Hubert’s Thai Mini Chicken Brochettes.
Salads are also among the most frequently featured starters. Many salads offered as appetizers are traditional varieties including Caesar, garden, Greek and mixed greens. On the other hand, starter salads are also easily customized, providing restaurants opportunities to highlight trendy or seasonal ingredients and flavours. Joey’s Seafood Restaurants, for instance, offered a limited-time Summer Salad featuring romaine lettuce with Mandarin oranges, sunflower seeds and red-onion vinaigrette dressing.
Fries represent 166 of the 3,680 appetizers or starters featured on the 355 Canadian menus analyzed. Fries are an ideal opportunity for restaurants to get creative with ingredients and toppings. The Canadian specialty, poutine, is a popular appetizer, with toppings for the fries ranging from smoked meats to caramelized onions to mushrooms. Brewsters Brewing Company & Restaurant menus its Short Rib Poutine featuring braised short rib sourced from Alberta, cheese curds, green peppercorn sauce with sweet-potato and white-potato French fries.
Fries can also provide another opportunity for restaurants to highlight ethnic ingredients and toppings; for instance, ABC Country Restaurant’s Nachatos are waffle-cut fries topped with salsa and sour cream. Additionally, restaurants are putting an upscale twist on traditional fries and poutine appetizers with higher-quality ingredients and locally sourced toppings.