Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2013

Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2013

It is Tourism Vancouver’s 11th Annual Dine Out Vancouver from January 18 – February 3, 2013. This is Canada’s largest restaurant festival featuring 200+ restaurants offering a set menu for $18, $28 or $38 – see the full list of restaurants and menus here. Adding to the festival are culinary-focused events, tours and activities.

I have an ongoing love-hate relationship with the Dine Out Vancouver Festival. I have expressed how I honestly feel about the festival to the point of exhaustion over the last couple years – see one post here, but I know most of you won’t click that, so I’ll just repeat myself to be fair.

Dine Out Vancouver is a food festival which aims to help restaurants at a slower time of year. For that reason I like it and it encourages people to try old and new restaurants. It gets people excited about Vancouver’s dining scene and gives locals and tourists something to look forward to during a rather grey and dull time of year. On that note, don’t forget about the non-participating restaurants and the restaurants outside of Vancouver too.

Also if you try a restaurant during Dine Out Vancouver, do not let that be a fair representation of what you can expect on a regular night. You are ordering from a set menu that has been designed for Dine Out Vancouver and this means it might not be exactly the same on a regular night. Many of the restaurants also experience increased traffic, so to keep up with the volume they have to prepare and plan accordingly.

Some restaurants really bring their game on Dine Out Vancouver and provide a memorable experience and others fall short. So if you try a restaurant during Dine Out, regardless of it being a good or underwhelming experience, I strongly suggest giving it another try on a regular night before judging it. (Personally it would be like reading one of my blog posts, it would only tell you so much depending on which one you clicked too… although I’m also not charging you).

For those that are on a tighter budget, don’t let the set menu and value of the event be the sole reason for participating in Dine Out Vancouver. Some of them are great deals, but some are actually just a few dollars less than ordering from the regular menu on a regular night. Do the math. Quite often it equals to basically a complimentary appetizer or dessert. So don’t be scared to try restaurants outside of Dine Out Vancouver Festival time if you are on a budget. However when you find those great offers, book quick!

And for those who are “anti-Dine Out” (meaning you cringe when it is DOV time because the restaurant you frequent is packed with non-regulars, or you can’t get your usual table, or you don’t like the concept of price fixe menus etc.) then check out the Dine Out Vancouver events. Those might interest you because they are one off events that are appropriate to do individually or with a group. The Dine Out festival overall is enjoyable on a social aspect. My past experiences at Dine Out Vancouver events include “Dinner in the Dark” at Culinary Capers Catering and Swallow Tail Supper Club’s Secret Supper Soiree (on again this year).

There are over 200 restaurants participating this year and the event has not even started yet so I can’t tell you my picks. However I did get to sample some restaurants during the Dine Out Vancouver media preview hosted at Vancouver FanClub.

The following is still not a proper representation of what these restaurants will be serving on Dine Out, but it might inspire you or give you ideas. For those who require a gluten free menu I also noticed a new “Gluten Free Menu” option this year.

Photos compliments of Sherman.

On the Dine Out Vancouver table:

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (1)Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) – Sustainable BC scallop, apple cider-infused beet purée, micro kale salad.

  • PICA is always a quick sell out every year because it is really a bang for your buck.
  • The food is prepared by culinary students and it is great to support one of Vancouver’s most prominent and respected culinary schools.
  • Neighborhood: Granville Island
  • Cuisine Type: West Coast
  • Dinner Menu Price: $18
  • See their Dine Out Menu here.

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (11)Vancouver FanClub – Tiger Prawn Corn Dogs Cornmeal crusted prawns, flash fried; served with honey Dijon aioli.

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (10)Vancouver FanClub – Smoked Chicken Sandwich In-house smoked, mixed with seared mushrooms and Provolone; topped with roasted peach and fig relish on a kaiser bun. Served with choice of in-house prepared potato chips, fries or green salad.

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (6)Vancouver FanClub – Prepared in-house. Served plain or rolled in cinnamon sugar with a chocolate Kahlua dipping sauce on the side.

  • Vancouver FanClub is first and foremost a live music venue club, so a cover charge may apply.
  • I haven’t been here since the last restaurant/club called Circa, but it is a lively, swanky and youthful venue on Granville Street.
  • Neighborhood: Downtown
  • Cuisine Type: BBQ
  • Dinner Menu Price: $18
  • See their Dine Out Menu here.

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (9)Hapa Izakaya – Scallop Tartare Chopped scallops, house made bacon, karashi mustard mayonnaise, served with wonton chips.

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (8)The Observatory – Red Wine Braised Pemberton Meadows Beef Short Rib roasted garlic mashed potatoes, baby carrots, turnips.

  • This was my favourite plate of the night, but that doesn’t really say much due to the nature of the event.
  • I still haven’t been to The Observatory yet, but along with a gluten free menu they have vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Neighborhood: North Shore
  • Cuisine Type: West Coast
  • Dinner Menu Price: $38
  • Gluten-Free Menu Option: Yes
  • See their Dine Out Menu here.

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (5)Edible Canada at The Market – Grangeland Leg of Elk with Creamy Grits, Glazed Carrots and Hunter Sauce.

  • They have a new Executive Chef since my last visit (it is now the previous sous chef at Edible Canada), but see my last experience here.
  • They also have a list of Edible Canada Dine Out Vancouver events called “Edible Canada Speaker Series“.
  • Neighborhood: Granville Island
  • Cuisine Type: Canadian
  • Dinner Menu Price: $28
  • Gluten-Free Menu Option: Yes
  • See their Dine Out Menu here.

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (4)Forage (Listel Hotel) – Game Terrine with IPA mustard, house made pickled vegetables, pickled walnuts.

  • Chef Chris Whittaker won the OceanWise Seafood Chowder Chowdown last year and he is featuring his award winning chowder as an appetizer choice on the Dine Out Menu. You can also try his chowder on a regular night.
  • Forage is relatively new and is one of Vancouver’s leaders when it comes to sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives in the restaurant industry.
  • Neighborhood: Downtown
  • Cuisine Type: West Coast
  • Dinner Menu Price: $28
  • See their full menu here.

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (3)

Cibo Trattoria (MODA Hotel) – Duck liver toscana with housemade pickles.

  • I was actually surprised Cibo Trattoria was in the $28 category and not the $38.
  • I talked to Chef and he recommended the roast suckling pork, which is a featured main that requires a $5 supplement to the $28 menu.
  • The supplement has become quite a popular option with the higher priced restaurants.
  • Neighborhood: Downtown
  • Cuisine Type: Italian
  • Dinner Menu Price: $28
  • Lunch Menu Price: $20 for 2 courses, $28 for 3
  • Gluten-Free Menu Option: Yes
  • See their full menu here.

Dine Out Vancouver Menu 2013 (2)Market by Jean-Georges – Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop Steamed Mushrooms and XO Sauce

  • I talked to Chef Wayne Harris and the pork will be prepared sous-vide which means it will be guaranteed moist and tender.
  • This is likely going to be a popular one because $38 seems like a bargain at Market by Jean-Georges.
  • $38 for 3 courses is a good deal at this fine dining restaurant, but also try it on a regular night. The brunch/lunch might be more affordable than you think too.
  • I’ve come here on a regular day (here), and the famous Warm Chocolate Cake I had will be making an appearance as a dessert option on the Dine Out Menu.
  • Neighborhood: Downtown
  • Cuisine Type: International
  • Dinner Menu Price: $38
  • Gluten-Free Menu Option: Yes
  • See their full menu here.

To see all 200+ restaurants and their Dine Out Menus – see here.

For out of town visitors: Participating hotels will offer rooms priced at $78, $108 and $138 per night. Keep an eye out for special Dine Out packages, too.

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