Cooking is underway in restaurants throughout Vancouver. Fresh pasta is being made, meat is being braised, soups are simmering, and veggies are being meticulously chopped. But, today is not just any regular day of service for 284 restaurants in our lovely city, today marks the first day of Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2017.
Over the next 17 days, select restaurants will be taking local, national, and international foodies on a culinary adventure, celebrating Vancouver’s culinary scene. While Vancouver is known world-wide for it’s West Coast seafood and sushi, there are many more aspects of the food scene that are coming forward in this years festival. Many Vancouver restaurants are focusing on sustainability and local foods (yay!) and of course, fusion and true Canadian cooking (ever tried seal meat before?) are on every chef’s and foodie’s radar.
Sponsored by Tourism Vancouver, this festival offers people the chance to get out and enjoy the local food and talent we have in our city. During this event, Vancouver restaurants offer three-course lunch and dinner menus at three price points: $20, $30 and $40. BC VQA, craft beer and cocktail parings are also offered with the meal (at an additional cost though). With 284 restaurants in and around Vancouver participating in this event, there is something for everyone- Canadian, French, Italian, Latin American, South-East Asian, German, African, Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Aboriginal- just to name a few! Basically, you would be hard-pressed to find something that isn’t delicious in your neighbourhood.
Once you review the menus and select your restaurant, simply book through Dine Out Vancouver’s website and you’re ready to go! ProTip: book early! You don’t want to be disappointed if a restaurant you have been meaning to go to is all booked up, especially if you are coming in from out of town.
This year, my plan of attack is as follows
- Homer Street Cafe and Bar (Yaletown, Canadian cuisine)
- Salmon ‘N Bannock Bistro (South Granville, Aboriginal cuisine)
- Frederico’s Supper Club (Commercial Drive, Italian cuisine)
I was instantly sold on Homer Street Cafe. I live three blocks away and had originally planned to go there to celebrate when I got a permanent job. Seeing that I won’t be getting off that Struggle Bus yet, I caved and booked it. Also, the ricotta gnudi was calling my name!
Now, Salmon ‘N Bannock Bistro. I had never heard this restaurant before but I checked up on it and it has amazing reviews. It’s actually Vancouver’s only First Nations restaurant and serves up traditional Aboriginal cuisine with a modern twist. I’ve never eaten traditional First Nation food (other than some life-changing smoked salmon bellies and fresh-caught halibut in Prince Rupert), but I can’t wait to try the Wild Sockeye Tartar and the Bison Flank Steak!
Last but no least we have Frederico’s Supper Club. This place is FAAANNCCYY… like old school Italian! And they are going all out, offering their full menu for Dine Out. Located in Little Italy on Commercial Drive, Frederico’s offers traditional Italian food <3 with live music and dancing. Of course I couldn’t say no to that!
For me, I’m just going to restaurants for dinners, but there are also lots of fun food events that will be hosted throughout the city during the festival. There are Craft Beer Tours, Brunch Crawls, Pop-Up Bistros, Food Cart Festivals, Chef Exchange Meet-ups, and even a Pig Roast! I may have to reconsider and go to at least one of these events. You never know who you will meet there!
Now, of course with anything fun that happens in the city, there always has to be some haters- don’t ask me, I don’t understand why people like to complain– and of course the Dine Out Festival is getting some #hate. I’d like to clear the air.
In some people’s opinions, Dine Out is considered to be “amateur hour”, with restaurants serving sub-par food to new, inexperienced customers. First, I don’t understand why people think restaurants would serve sub-par food during this time. These chefs would never serve sub-par food in the first place…they’re a far beyond that and would not risk their reputation. So don’t worry about it. Secondly, it’s true that there will be some new clients in-house, but it doesn’t mean they are inexperienced (shout out to the foodies who can’t afford to drop anywhere between $40 to $100+ on dinner on a regular basis!). For some, Dine Out is a God-send. Not only can people celebrate food and the beautiful city, people get to re-connect with it and the talented chefs that live here- without hurting their wallets. I mean when else can I get a three course meal at L’Abbatoir for $40? Um…never.
So with that, if you are in Vancouver anywhere between January 20 to February 5, make a stop at one or more of these restaurants and events and celebrate the amazing food and talent we have in the city!
See you around!