It’s that time of year when Vancouver restaurants lure overfed, post-holiday crowds to their restaurants through the promise of affordable prix-fixe menus highlighting their fare. Starting out as a quiet attempt to boost restaurant revenues during a notoriously quiet time of year, the Dine Out Festival has become an unequivocal success – a much-anticipated annual dining event. Running January 18th to February 3rd this year, hundreds of lower mainland restaurants are participating so, chances are, there is something for everyone to enjoy. You’ll find new restaurants like Popina Canteen, Restaurant Yugo and Verre alongside Vancouver mainstays like Vij’s, L’Abbattoir, Chambar and Cactus Club (many locations) amongst the extensive list of participants.
A number of things are new this year. For example, there are now 4 price points – $15/$25/$35/$45, a variety of breakfast/brunch participants (including a divine Hawksworth option at $35) and 30 unique culinary experiences which go beyond simply feeding you. Here are a five that caught our eye:
1) For all you adventure seekers who welcome surprises, consider signing up for the Secret Supper Soiree. Taking place 3 times during the festival, this event sold out last year so register soon. You’ll jump aboard a trolley bus that will transport you to a secret location for delicious hors d’oevres, bevvies, and dinner. The theme this year is 30’s speakeasy so channel some old Hollywood glamour and don your Zoot suits, satin, and furs (faux preferred). Vegetarian options are available.
2) What better way to celebrate the Lunar Festival and Chinese New Year’s than honing up on your Dim Sum knowledge. The Introduction to Dim Sum event is presented by Wok around Chinatown, and lead by your host Thomas Robson, former host of Emmy-nominated show “Entrée to Asia”. You will meet at Jade Restaurant in Chinatown for this interactive discussion on dim sum. Don’t miss this opportunity to up your Dim Sum game.
3) Presented by the Fanny Bay Oyster Bar, Get Shucked Up will teach you how to master oyster shucking while you enjoy on a delicious selection of BC wines. Sip and slurp the night away!
4) If you are still recovering from a December of eating or trying to stick to January diet goals, consider signing up for a Vancouver Coffee Tour. Visit some of our best cafes all the while learning about the history and origins of the magic bean from a local guide. You’ll tour a roastery to better understand the science and craft behind that perfect cup of coffee and enjoy expertly crafted pour-overs, espressos, and brewed coffees.
5) The Vine & Hops Mash-up event, in turn, will tour participants around a selection of Vancouver’s urban wineries, breweries, and distilleries. You can expect to meet local producers, taste plenty of wine, beer and cocktail creations and get a peek behind the scenes of these unique facilities. Don’t worry there’ll be some delicious food pairings along the way to ensure some semblance of balance 😊 There is also an out of town Vine & Hops event on offer that features distilleries and wineries in the Fraser Valley.
There are a number of other events that we haven’t featured here so be sure to check out the Dine Out Event page. A number of them are already sold out including the Sweet & Simple Macaron making workshop and a Chinatown Dim Sum Tour but there are still plenty of events available…and of course, plenty of restaurants with open reservations. This is always the perfect, unpretentious way to try a new restaurant.