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Get your eat on (for good value!) and make the most out of Dine Out Vancouver 2014
It’s that time of year again when the Dine Out Festival wagon rides into town, and this month there are a record and gut-busting 263 restaurants that have hopped on-board. With a three-tier pricing structure of $18, $28 and $38 menus, January 17th until February 2nd is the best time to bag a tasty bargain. By picking new restaurants, heading out of town and looking out for added extras, you can get the best Dine Out deal on the table this year. Click through for our tips on making the most out of this year’s food festival.
Try something new for $28. Many of Vancouver’s recently opened restaurants have a Dine Out option in the mid-price point, offering a chance to try some of the hottest places for a fraction of the usual cost.
East Vancouver’s newly opened pasta joint Ask For Luigi is offering a three-course menu with options including beef carpaccio, tagliatelli and mussels and chocolate budino for $28 (no reservations).
Graze Restaurant, another new addition to the East Van food scene, is offering a $28 taster of their vegetarian menu with dishes such as fig and cashew-filled chard rolls and tea-smoked tofu and crusted portobello mushroom steak.
Over in Gastown, $28 will get you a taste of modern dim sum at Bambudda and a sample of the crispy pork belly or law bak go with radish cakes.
Most of the Dine Out deals include three courses with the option to upgrade to added extras.
Japanese restaurant Hapa Izakaya’s original Kitsilano outlet has an $18 four-course menu (other Hapas are offering a $28 four course option) and the Downtown Eastside’s PiDGiN has a seven-course tasting menu for two ($38), which includes favourite dishes such as Chef Makoto Ono’s sake-steamed clams.
One of the reasons Dine Out is so popular is that it gives diners the chance to try fine-dining restaurants for fewer dollars – and this year is no exception. West, MARKET, Chambar, ORU, C, Coast and CinCin are drawing in the foodies with three-course options for $38, which cost just a ittle more than a regular-priced entree.
Hawksworth Restaurant is running a series of side dishes events as part of Dine Out and is offering $48 three-course menus that feature favourite dishes from the restaurant’s past menus.
It’s not all about the food. Dine Out also has a range of events happening, from theatre themed nights to behind-the-scenes food tours and special film screenings.
Most are ticketed events, but on January 17 you can head to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts on Granville Island to take part in the free Chef Soup Experiment. Fifty chefs will be using 50 ingredients to create a giant soup, so head down there at 12.30 p.m. and grab a spoon.
At Yaletown’s Raw Canvas restaurant, painting is paired with plates of food for Dine Out – a 20 X 20 blank canvas usually costs $55 but for Dine Out a 10 X 10 canvas comes with your $38 menu choice of a cheese or meat platter and dessert.
Take a long lunch to get the best Dine Out deals. Japanese sister restaurants Miku and Minami are both offering a three-course lunchtime sampling of their signature aburi sushi menus for $28 – a slightly extended Dine Out menu will set you back $38 later on in the day.
The Fish House in Stanley Park is also offering a $28 lunch version of their $38 dinnertime Dine Out menu with fresh seafood dishes including Dungeness crab cakes making an appearance on both.
Even fine dining establishments are getting in on the act. South Granville’s West Restaurant + Bar is offering a $38 dinner and a $28 lunch option; both feature dishes such as braised veal breast and handmade caramelized parsnip agnolotti.
Downtown might be a focal point for Dine Out Vancouver, but heading to the North Shore can be the best way to uncover some off-the-radar restaurants.
Pier 7 Restaurant on the waterfront at Lonsdale Quay has a seafood-focused $38 menu that features dishes such as grilled rockfish and clam chowder with a side serving of superlative views of Vancouver.
Over in West Vancouver, the Village Taphouse is nestled in amongst the stores of the Park Royal shopping mall and they will be offering an excellent value $18 Dine Out deal and a chance to taste their short rib pappardelle or fish and chips for pub grub prices.
Some of the best restaurants taking part already offer a value option that nearly rivals a Dine Out deal.
If you can’t get a reso for Union Street’s popular vegetarian venue The Parker don’t despair, they are offering a $28 Dine Out deal that is similar to their $29pp chef’s tasting menu that you can catch another time.
Upscale restaurants that offer family-style shared dining are usually a good value option and places such as Campagnolo and La Pentola are worth visiting outside of the festival, especially as the former doesn’t take reservations.
Gastown’s award-winning carnivore capital Wildebeest is set to be a sell-out for Dine Out with a $38 menu showcasing favourite dishes such as lamb tartare and their exquisite quince ‘cheesecake’ – these are individual versions of the usual family-style platters, so depending on how much you like to share your food it might be worth the wait.