Dine Out Vancouver: Where, When and Why Not?

More than 200 restaurants are signed up for Dine Out Vancouver 2011, but the popular ones fill up quickly...

Credit: Michael Robertson

Poached sablefish with a miso broth, one of the dishes at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts for Dine Out Vancouver.

Above: Poached sablefish with a miso broth, one of the dishes at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts for Dine Out Vancouver.


In case you’re just coming to after a long leaden coma, or count yourself among the city’s struthio camelus population, and aren’t familiar with Dine Out Vancouver, here’s the deal:


·      Dine Out Vancouver is in its ninth year

·      There are 215 restaurants to choose from

·      It’s prix fixé (thank goodness Canada’s bi-lingual)

·      Three or four courses

·      Three price points: $18, $28, $38

·      It’s an awesome opportunity to broaden your horizons without narrowing your wallet

·      It’s incredibly popular so get your head out of the sand and pick your restaurants


Dine Out Vancouver media preview review

I am privileged enough to have sampled some of the menus from this year’s Dine Out Vancouver already. A few restaurants really stand out…


Dine Out Vancouver

January 24–February 6, 2011

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Many of you will be familiar with Bistro Pastis, and where better to spend an evening than dining in front of its fireplace. This year’s menu for the Dine Out stays true to the restaurant’s reputation for French comfort food; traditional recipes, like the coq au vin, are cooked to perfection. (Bistro Pastis prix fixé – $28)


Slightly less well known is Bistro 101 at the entrance to Granville Island. Bistro 101, as you may have inferred from the name, is part of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. The experience here goes beyond dining. I particularly enjoyed watching the chef make truffles in his glassed chocolate studio. And don’t think that because they’re at “school” you’ll be eating student-quality meals. My tastebuds are still angling for some more salted-nutmeg cream (which topped my roast winter squash soup), and the texture of the miso-poached sablefish (pictured above) had my whole table in rapture. (Bistro 101 prix fixé – $18)


Book your table for Dine Out Vancouver

Okay, time to book your seats. You can examine the various menus at the Vancouver Tourism Dine Out page. There’s even a filtered search if you’re looking for something near you or vegan options.


Sweet little extras also on during Dine Out Vancouver


Shhh, it’s a secret:

Secret Supper Soiree – Fridays, 6–10 p.m. January 14 and 28, February 4. Saturdays, 4–8 p.m. January 15 and 29, February 5. These sold out but rumour has it that more have been added. Swallow Tail Canada presents a culinary speakeasy tour that will see enterprising diners carted away in a Vancouver Trolley to a selection of undisclosed pop-up restaurants with food from talented Vancouver chefs. Pick up location: Pacific Central Train Station. $119 with wine; $79 without wine. Vegetarian menus are available.   


Brasserie Mystère – February 10. For more secretive dining fun, Kronenbourg 1664 is putting on Brasserie Mystère: secret location, undisclosed chef, all paired with Kronenbourg 1664. Go to k1664brasserie.ca to get on the guest list to this exclusive, complimentary event. Reservations begin January 24.


Food for the senses:

Dinner in the Dark – February 5 Culinary Capers Catering and Laughing Stock Winery present an eight-course dinner from chef de cuisine Jonathan Chovancek. Oh, and you’ll be blindfolded… so you’ll be able to really focus on the flavours.  


Act I, Eat 1 – January 27, 28, February 4. On the far end of the spectrum from a blindfolded dinner, the Arts Club Theatre Company and The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival pair two mouthwatering shows with dazzling meals at Cru, Red Door Pan Asian Grill and The Irish Heather Gastropub.


The future of dining:

Dine Academy – January 14 through February 11. Don’t feel you have to wait for next year’s Dine Out for more top-notch nosh. Check out the culinary classes, demos and market tours with The Dirty Apron Cooking School, Quince and the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts.


Best Bite Awards: Vote and you could Dine Out for a year!

Vote for your favourite Dine Out Vancouver 2011 experiences to win 52 meals at Vancouver restaurants. That’s a dinner a week (or one very extravagant night) and a $3,900 value! Voting begins January 24, 2011.


*Best $18 Dine Out Vancouver Menu
*Best $28 Dine Out Vancouver Menu
*Best $38 Dine Out Vancouver Menu
*Best Service
*Best Dine Out Experience
*Best BC VQA Wine Pairing


Tell us where you’re keen to try this year…