The Ultimate Guide To Dine Out Vancouver
Just when you thought the holiday season was over, there’s another reason to celebrate: Dine Out Vancouver is approaching! The popular food festival is in its 17th year running and seems to get bigger and better every year.
Here is everything you need to know to have a memorable and delectable experience at Canada’s largest food and drink festival.
What is Dine Out Vancouver?
Dine Out Vancouver is a chance for Vancouverites and visitors to taste the best dishes the city has to offer. It’s a collection of food events, dining experiences and delicious menus that showcase the city’s vibrant multicultural heritage. This year it runs from January 18, 2019 to February 3, 2019.
The celebration started back in 2002. Recognizing that this time of year is typically slow for the restaurant industry, a group of foodies collaborated with Tourism Vancouver to offer fixed price menus. The goal was to attract customers into restaurants that are often neglected in the post-holiday period. During the first year 57 restaurants participated.
Now, nearly two decades later, hundreds of restaurants participate each year, and there are more than 30 events – ranging from tastings to tours – to choose from. Most menus are priced at $15, $25, $35 and $45 per person, not including beverages, taxes and gratuity. On January 10, 2019, the participating Dine Out Vancouver restaurants will be announced to the public.
For travellers coming in from out of town, check out Tourism Vancouver’s special package deals for staying, exploring and dining in the city.
How To Prepare For The Festival
While you can participate in the festival on your own, it’s more fun with friends. The festival runs for 17 days, so assemble your food buddy(ies) and get your calendars ready. Even before the restaurant list is announced, you can identify dates that you’re all free to indulge in some of Vancouver’s best food and drink.
Have a Collective Goal
Once you know who you’ll be dining with, come up with a collective goal for your experiences this year. If you always stick to the same restaurants, maybe you can use this time to try a new spot. If you always eat sushi, maybe aim to enjoy Singaporean food for a change. If you usually frequent restaurants, try a food tour. If you’ve never eaten at a fancy restaurant, now’s the time.
There are endless goals to set but having a few in mind can help you sort through all of the festival’s wonderful offerings.
Have a Criteria in Mind
One way to think about your experiences at Dine Out Vancouver is by considering what is most important for you in a food or drink experience. Rank these criteria based on their importance to you:
Type of Cuisine
Getting a sense of what criteria are most important to you and your food buddies can also help you sort through the plentiful offerings. If you or someone in your group has specific dining restrictions, be sure to contact the restaurants or event organizers directly to confirm that they have suitable options.
Although the restaurant list has not been published yet, tickets for festival events are already on sale. Five events are already sold out, so we recommend getting your tickets as soon as possible. These events allow you to learn more about a certain dish or type of cuisine, sample food from international chefs who are visiting Vancouver and meet other fans of quality dining experiences.
Once again, Vancouver will be welcoming five of the best chefs from around the world as part of the festival’s Vancouver World Chef Exchange. Here are a few of our recommended exchanges to try to get a ticket to:
Date: January 22, 2019
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Heritage Asian Eatery, 1108 W Pender St.
Details: Felix Zhou, Executive Chef and Owner of Heritage Asian Eatery, will be welcoming friend and former mentor, London Chef Warren Geraghty of rhubarb hospitality group for an internationally-inspired multi-course tasting menu. Both chefs will draw on their roots: Zhou honouring his Chinese heritage and Geraghty honouring his experiences working in London, Scotland, Dubai, Cannes and even here in Vancouver. Highlights of the menu include kona kanpachi two way; sturgeon, oyster and artichoke barigoule; slow cooked rib “reuben”, cheese and marmite sandwich; and truffle brie and honey, quince tarte fin. The all-inclusive ticket includes welcome beverage, multi-course dinner, tax, gratuity and ticketing fee.
Purchase tickets here.
Date: January 23, 2019
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: YEW seafood + bar, Four Seasons Hotel, 791 West Georgia St.
Details: Chef Edgar Kano of YEW will be collaborating with Sydney-based Chef Francesco Mannelli of Mode Kitchen & Bar (the restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney). Both chefs share a passion for seafood and fishing, although Chef Francesco leans more Mediterranean while Chef Kano cooks with Latin influences. Vancouver’s fresh seafood will be the star of this dinner, with a menu featuring dishes such as scallops crudo with lemon stracciatella (from Chef Francesco) and smoked hamachi tataki with northern divine caviar and micro greens (from Chef Kano). The ticket price is inclusive of welcome beverage, multi-course dinner, wine pairings, tax, gratuity and ticketing fees.
Purchase tickets here.
Date: January 30, 2019
Time: 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Bauhaus Restaurant, 1 West Cordova
Cost: $199.30 meal only, $325.70 with wine
Details: The Bauhaus Executive Chef team will be joined by Dusseldorf’s Michelin Star Chef, Sascha Stemberg of Haus Stemberg, for a memorable feast. Be sure to select a dining option with or without wine pairings. The ticket otherwise includes a welcome beverage, multi-course dinner, tax, gratuity and ticketing fees. This five-course meal will showcase a creative blend of European cooking techniques, Canadian ingredients and Asian flavours. Standouts on the menu include marinated and flamed Japanese kingfish, black cod with leek onions and Canadian beef roasted on charcoal.
Purchase tickets here.
Food and Drink Tours
With so many great eats and drinks to try, it makes sense to do a tour to try and sample as much as possible. These tours usually have a few dates to choose from which can help with booking. The prices for both these tours include taxes, gratuity and ticketing surcharges. Be sure to arrive on time or else you might get left behind!
Here are a few tours we’re excited about:
Date: January 19, 2019; January 20, 2019; January 26, 2019; January 27, 2019; February 2, 2019; February 3, 2019
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: Meet at 999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC V6K 4T9
Details: Coffee may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to Dine Out Vancouver, but our coffee scene rivals that of major international coffee hubs. The group at Canadian Craft Tours has put together this three-hour tour so you can learn about the origins of coffee and importing and roasting processes. You’ll also get a chance to try pour-overs, espresso, brewed coffee and pastries.
Purchase tickets here.
Date: January 22, 2019; January 24, 2019; January 29, 2019; January 31, 2019
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Meet across from Starbucks on Mainland & Davie Street at Passenger loading zone
Details: This is not your average brewery tour. The team from Vine & Hops has put together this unique and fun tour to explore urban wine, distillery and brewery processes. You’ll get to taste local beverages and enjoy scrumptious food pairings. The tour will take you to some of the city’s best locations, so you can learn direct from the makers themselves. This tour is great for groups of friends who want to do something different than just going to happy hour.
Purchase tickets here.
A one of a kind dining road trip around Vancouver. Presented by Swallow Tail Culinary Adventures, you’ll join fellow food enthusiasts for a secret and exclusive tour of some of Vancouver’s best restaurants. The event has a speak-easy theme and 1930’s attire is encouraged. It sells out every year, so get your tickets now.
Early bird pricing is $110 plus tax, gratuity and ticketing charges. Regular tickets come to $181.05 all in. Ticket prices include greeting cocktail, wine or beer tastings, canapés, transportation, and a multi-course dinner.
The event will be held on four dates and the location and time vary based on the date.
January 19: Meet at Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, V6J 3J9 at 7:00 PM
January 26: Meet at Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, V6J 3J9 at 6:30 PM
February 1: Meet at Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, V6J 3J9 at 7:00 PM
February 2: Meet at Parking Lot 15, 595 West 6th Avenue (at Ash St), Vancouver, V5Z 1A1 at 6:30 PM
You may not know where you’ll be dining, but you can rest assured that it will be excellent.
Purchase your ticket here.
On the Day of the Restaurant List Launch
January 10, 2019. Put that date in your calendar. Send an appointment to your food buddies.
Restaurants get booked quickly, especially for prime weekend and evening spots, so you need to have a strategy for the day of the restaurant list launch. Here’s what we recommend:
Create a list of dates when everyone in your group is free to dine together
As soon as the restaurant list is published, have everyone create a shortlist of four to eight restaurants
Consolidate everyone’s lists and narrow the list down to five restaurants for the group
Make a reservation as soon as possible on one of the dates you determined in step one
If your first restaurant is booked, keep working your way down the list
If you strike out on all your preferred restaurants, here are a few tips to save your Dine Out Vancouver experience:
Consider a different meal time
Try to book on a different day of the week
Expand your list to try similar cuisines at different restaurants
And if all else fails, you can at least check out Street Food City. A collection of our city’s best food carts will gather outside the Vancouver Art Gallery (North Plaza on Georgia St.) from January 21st to 27th. This family-friendly event is free to enter, but the prices for the food at the trucks vary. Remember to bundle up so you can fully enjoy this mid-winter picnic.
Caveats to Dine Out
Dine Out is a wonderful time to meet up with friends, try new restaurants or revisit your favourite spots. But it’s good to keep in mind that your experience during this festival is not a complete indication of the restaurant’s service and taste. The large influx of patrons is wonderful for the business side of things, but as you can imagine, it can get quite busy! Also, when chefs are cooking to a set menu, you won’t get to try all the amazing dishes they are capable of delivering.
Think of it as a chance to experiment a bit and find places that you want to return to throughout the year. And as always, appreciate the experience of sharing good food and drink with friends and family.
See You at Dine Out Vancouver!
With these thoughts in mind, gather your fellow food and drink aficionados and start booking and strategizing now. January 18th is almost here! Let us know which Dine Out Vancouver restaurants or events you’re most excited about!
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