With 240 particpating Dine Out restaurants, it’s not easy to pick the best menus. But don’t worry about doing your homework. We’ve done it for you
January is the month we all start working on our resolutions. So by all means, stick to those kale-fueled rainy runs. But it may prove hard to be austere with Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2013, Canada’s largest restaurant festival, taking place January 18 - February 3.
What is Dine Out, and why are so many connoisseurs, gluttons and budget-minded diners excited? During Dine Out, Vancouver’s best restaurants offer three-course, prix fixe menus at deep discounts. There are three menu price tiers: $18, $28 or $38.
Here are the 8 best deals during Dine Out Vancouver. Act fast. Reservations are now open.
Diva at the Met
Diva at the Met, $38
Diva at the Met receives rave reviews for molecular-gastronomy-style West Coast cuisine by award-winning chef Hamid Salimian. The prix fixe Dine Out menu features Humboldt squid with Moroccan sausages, and sweet-savoury flourishes such as carmelized stilton cheesecake with rhubarb.
Everyone's buzzing about the newest coolster on the Gastown restaurant scene, Wildebeest, with chef David Gunawan at the helm. Take the basic locally sourced cuisine concept and add a focus on whole-animal cookery. The Dine Out menu is really approachable (no awful offal) with a hearty winter ham hock soup topped with parsely pistou, and homey Angus short ribs with rutabaga mash.
Raincity Grill, $38
West End gem Raincity Grill started the 100-mile concept in Vancouver back in the good old days when "locavore" wasn't an annoying term. The quality of the cusine has stayed top notch outdoing many of the sweet, young restaurants of the moment. On the Dine Out dinner menu, we're loving the North Arm Farms beetroot salad with meringues and the seared scallops with bacon clouds. There's also a lunch menu.
L'Abattoir, ranked one of Canada's best restaurants, is known for its fine French-influenced West Coast fare, as well as its creative plating. Dine Out menu standouts include steak tartare with slow cooked egg yolk and horseradish cream. We're also keen on the housemade cavatelli with pumpkin and brown butter sage.
Newly opened Forage in the artsy Listel Hotel is making a name for itself by bringing a touch of the Main Street feel to downtown Van. As the name suggests, the chef is meticulous in his quest for the best local inputs. Dine Out menu pick: B.C. spot prawn and seafood chowder with soft-poached egg, smoked chicharrón and pork hock. It won the annual Chowder Chowdown.
Cork & Fin
Cork & Fin, $28
Of all the Vancouver seafood restaurants, fancy pants Cork & Fin in Gastown is offering the best Dine Out menu deal. Expect freshly shucked oysters and delights such as lobster and striped beetroot salad with pine nut brittle. As an added bonus: all three courses are savoury. Dessert is usually overrated.
Bitter Tasting Room
Best Restaurant Deals During Dine Out Vancouver 2013
Cozier than the well-loved Alibi Room, Bitter has stolen the Vancouver craft beer scene spotlight. In additon to its ususal gamut of clever beer snacks like brats and house made Scotch eggs, Bitter has added a slew of tempting comfort dishes to its Dine Out menu, including house-smoked pork loin with a creamy white bean and parsley stew.
Wild Rice, $18
Wild Rice, known for modernizing Chinese cuisine and treating vegetarians right, is offering a deeply discounted three-course Dine Out dinner menu with highlights including sauteed local mushrooms with baby bok choy and hoisin macaroni finished with truffle oil.
Taraneh Ghajar Jerven is a freelance writer and editor. She’s an insatiable culture sleuth. She specializes in profiling craftsmen and tracking food trends. Fashion brings her joy. Taraneh writes for Inside Vancouver, Montecristo, Vancouver Magazine, Western Living, Condo and GuestLife’s Vancouver City Guide. She also edits the hyper-local neighbourhood blog Kitsilano.ca. Email