The high anticipated list of restaurants and menus for this year’s Dine Out Vancouver (January 18-February 3, 2019) has just been released. The festival, which began in 2002 with 57 restaurants, has now grown into a 17-day celebration of food, drink, and unique experiences that involves over 300 establishments, such as restaurants, breweries, wineries, and top food suppliers.
Today is a big day with the menus now available for browsing
on-line. Here are some recommendations on how to choose which restaurants to
At first, the restaurant list can feel daunting, with a seemingly endless array of restaurants to choose from. However, with some useful strategies, you can start booking in no time.
1. Restaurant menus come in four price points: $15, $25, $35, and $45, with places offering brunch, lunch, and/or dinner options. A good starting point is to consider how much you want to spend, which can help narrow down the selections. Some of the lower price points can be an ideal way to experience more casual restaurants and great dining deals (e.g. Heritage Asian Eatery at $15; Chutney Villa at $15).
2. Fine dining can be pricey, which means that there may be
certain restaurants that you’ve been saving up to visit. Fortunately, Dine Out
offers an affordable way to try out an establishment without waiting for your
anniversary or another special occasion. Restaurants you might want to consider
booking include Ancora Waterfront Dining Patio, Boulevard Kitchen
Oyster Bar, Cincin Ristorante + Bar, L’Abattoir Restaurant, Market by
Jean-Georges, West Restaurant + Bar, and Hawksworth Restaurant (offering
3. You know that list of new restaurants that you’ve been
dying to try but haven’t quite got around to tackling? Dine Out is a great
motivator to check those names off that list. This is one New Year’s resolution
that will be easy to keep! Some new restaurants in the city participating in
Dine Out include CENTRO Ristorante, Coquille, Escobar, Popina Cantina, Sopra
Sotto Pizzeria, and Verre Restaurant.
4. Certain restaurants tend to be really popular for Dine Out and book up rapidly. In short, it’s always advisable to reserve sooner than later if there’s a restaurant you’re dying to go to (which many other people might also have their hearts set on). However, if it’s all booked up, don’t despair since restaurants often have last minute cancellations. Keep on checking and a time slot may very well open up. Going for a non-peak reservation time also tends to help. That being said, try to be respectful of the restaurants when it comes to booking. Only book ones that you are serious about visiting, and avoid leaving them in the lurch.
5. Go for restaurants that are slightly under the radar. That means establishments that may not get quite as much (social) media attention, or ones that are not the new darlings in the dining landscape. They will offer exemplary dining experiences without the frenzy of trying to get a reservation. Restaurants that come to mind include Afghan Horseman Restaurant, Copper Chimney, Kaya Malay Bistro, Sula Indian Restaurant, and Nammos Estiatorio.
6. Look beyond the obvious geographic areas. Many people will be flocking to the restaurants in the downtown core, but what about venturing to restaurants further afield? This year’s festival includes restaurants located across the Lower Mainland. Some recommendations include Maru Korean Bistro in North Vancouver, Spacco Napoli Pizzeria in Port Moody, el Santo in New Westminster, Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant in Steveston, Salmon House on the Hill in West Vancouver, and The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar in Langley.
7. Dine Out Vancouver doesn’t have to involve the traditional multi course dinner. Breakfast/brunch menus are available this year at a variety of establishments, like Juke Fried Chicken (chicken and waffles for brunch, oh yes!), Chickpea, and The Victor (e.g. steak and eggs).
8. Go veggie! There are more options than ever for vegan and
vegetarian diners. Not only are most restaurant offering vegetarian options,
but veggie favourites like the Acorn and Chickpea are participating.
9. Go for what you’re craving. The list of restaurant is organized by price point, neighbourhood, as well as type of cuisine. If you’re in the mood for Lebanese, there’s Jamjar on South Granville; if you’re up for Caribbean fare, the Reef Restaurant is participating; and if you’re wanting hot pot, Hotpot Palace in Richmond would be a good pick.
10. Finally, there are really interesting (and delicious) events that are also on offer that might be good for the indecisive. The Grand Tasting ($99) on January 17, 2019 will allow you to sample from a variety of restaurants (e.g. Cibo Trattoria, Wildebeest, La Mezcaleria), as well as from beer, wine, cider, spirit, and coffee companies (e.g. Evolve Cellars, Wards Cider). In addition, The Italian Brewery and Culinary Tour ($99) that takes place January 19, 22, 25-26, 29, February 1-2 will see you visiting Luppolo Brewing Co., La Grotto del Formaggio, Marcello’s Ristorante Pizzeria, as well as a secret sweet location.
Further information about all menus and events are available on-line.