Tourism Vancouver runs an annual, 17-day dining festival called Dine Out Vancouver, when many of the city's top restaurants offer bargain, fixed-priced menus. The winter event runs in conjunction with foodie tours and classes, and discount hotel room rates at many properties.
Dine Out Vancouver runs from Jan. 18 to Feb. 3, 2013. You can view restaurant menus, see the lists of participating restaurants, and find reservation information through the Dine Out Vancouver web site.
Additional festival events include culinary classes, long-table dinners, theater performances, and a weekend gathering of Vancouver's food trucks.
What is Dine Out Vancouver?
The main festival experience is dining on the set, fixed-price menus at many of Vancouver's top restaurants. Prices tend to be less that what you'd pay regularly, and the restaurants are grouped into three pricing levels: $18, $28, and $38.
Some 2013 top picks from the $18 price range:
- Bella Gelateria & Gelato: You can pick up award-winning gelato for two.
- Giovane Cafe and Wine Bar: You may come for the festival, but stay for the wine at this cafe in Fairmont Pan Pacific.
- Judas Goat Taberna: A tiny eatery in Gastown is home to great tapas.
- Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts - Bistro 101: Cooking-school students run this west-side restaurant.
- Wild Rice: Not far from downtown, this restaurant offers off-beat Chinese tapas.
Great deals from the $28 menus in 2013:
- Ciao Bella Restaurant & Piano Bar: This one's a little Italian eatery with great atmosphere on Denman Street.
- Edible Canada: The Canadian cuisine restaurant serves inventive fare on Granville Island.
- Forage: At the Listel Hotel, this restaurant crafts local cuisine with unusual ingredients.
- Maenam: Bright and modern, Maenam is Vancouver's best Thai restaurant.
- The Oakwood Canadian Bistro: You'll find well-reviewed Canadian cuisine in Kitsilano.
- Salmon 'N Bannock Bistro: Aboriginal dishes offer a tasty and interesting introduction to First Nations cuisine.
Fine dining menus in the $38 range, from the 2013 festival:
- Boneta Restaurant: The alley dining room is buzzing at Boneta, and it's close to Gastown nightlife.
- Cincin Ristorante: An intimate Italian restaurant, Cincin is located on Robson Street. The restaurant would make an ideal early Valentine's Day date.
- The Observatory: Take the Skyride gondola up Grouse Mountain to dine at this restaurant with a view.
- West Restaurant: This South Granville restaurant has attentive staff and a seasonally driven menu.
- Wildebeest: A Gastown hot spot with inspired Canadian-cuisine dishes.
Dine Out Hotel Rates
A more recent addition to the Tourism Vancouver festival, some Vancouver hotels offer reduced rates during the festival. In 2013, the pricing fell into three categories: $78, $108, and $138.
From the 2013 list, I'd recommend checking out the following $78 bargain rooms:
- The Burrard: A funky downtown hotel with tons of personality, punchy style, and a courtyard garden.
- Listel Hotel: An art-filled hotel that's got a newly opened restaurant, Forage.
In the mid-range $108 category in 2013:
- Georgian Court Hotel: This property is close to BC Place. There's a floor set-aside for female travelers, and these rooms come with curling irons, yoga mats, and spare pantyhose.
- Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver: Fancy your own doorbell? This Howe Street hotel offers polish and privacy.
Lovely luxury hotels at $138 for the 2013 festival:
- Westin Bayshore: The Westin Bayshore has pools and a marina. It's Vancouver's only resort and located close to Stanley Park and Denman Street.
- Sutton Place: This hotel puts you between Downtown and the West End. You'll find a lovely indoor pool plus elegant furnishings and a classy bar for a nightcap.