Everything you need to know about Dine Out Vancouver 2012

Whether you’re feeling spicy and want some Mexican or are feeling proud and want some West Coast cuisine there’s something for everyone at Dine Out 2012.

If you've made a resolution this year to eat more delicious food, try new things or treat yourself more often to a night out then you're in luck; it's time for Dine Out Vancouver 2012.

Dine Out Vancouver 2011

This year’s Dine Out highlights 231 participating restaurants from all over Greater Vancouver. However this year is special in that it marks the festival's 10th year running while also being the 1st year that food carts have been included.

Whether you’re feeling spicy and want some Mexican or are feeling proud and want some West Coast Cuisine there’s something for everyone in Dine Out. This is one of the reasons why the event has become so popular in Vancouver; there are so many choices that it’s impossible to just go to one! From Ojibway wild rice with Indian Candy and bannock crackers to baked tofu with citrus soy dressing and deep fried lotus roots, the sky is the limit when it comes to choices and restaurants involved. Be you one who eats it from the bone or an advocate for PETA there’s something delicious waiting for you. This is the perfect opportunity to try a new place or maybe just escape the walls of your home and the less than satisfying convenience of TV dinners or boxed pizza.

Dine out details

If you're not familiar with how it works, let me explain. All 231 participating restaurants concoct a menu in the $18, $28, or $38 range based upon their regular menus with some throwing in something special as well. (Regional Tasting Lounge adds Sablefish to theirs). This typically includes an appie, entree and a dessert but there are always some exceptions. An example of this is Cobre a Nuevo Latino restaurant participating again this year. To my surprise they offered solely savory items and skipped the sweet finish. There was the option to purchase that at the end but in this case nothing caught my eye. That said, of what was offered I could not complain. All of the dishes were unique, wonderfully prepared and clearly left an impression on me because I'm still talking about the restaurant experience a year later. (My favorite was the Maple chipotle tamarind glazed wild boar belly).

Many restaurants offer 2 or 3 choices for each course but don't be surprised if you get to a restaurant and there are only one or two options as it is often dependant on the price range or simply the chef’s choice.

Dine out secrets

The best way to decide if you’ll find something you like is by viewing the menu online prior to dining there. This is where you can also reserve a table, for most restaurants, which is almost necessary unless you want to wait until a table opens up at 11pm (Dine Out really is that popular). The secret is to choose different times than you would normally dine out, like an early dinner at 5pm or a later dinner after 8:30pm. At these times you will have a better chance in getting in to some of the popular restaurants than if you chose the typical 6-7pm dinner times.

Vancouver spoils the food lover in me, and the thousands of “foodies” here who dig in regularly at the array of top-notch restaurants that Vancouver has to offer. But let’s face it eating out all the time can tear a big hole in the pocket. In Vancouver, people are looking for quality and value, which is why Dine Out presents such a great opportunity to try a restaurant you've been dying to go to but that may be out of your price range, as well as the opportunity to have a "sharing" dining experience. It’s hard to not want to dipple and dapple in every dish that is presented to you or your dinner date(s).

"The quality of a restaurant can definitely be judged by the quality of ingredients they have access to and that they use," C Restaurant's Robert Clark affirms. He believes that B.C.'s ingredients "are some of the best of Canada, and for a lot of things, some of the best in the world".

Many world-class chefs, such as Clark, eagerly open their restaurant doors for Dine Out. Notable are Jefferson Alvarez, Executive Chef at Fraîche Restaurant, Dan Craig, Executive Chef, at EBO and Jennifer Dodd, the Chef de Cuisine at Edible at the Market.   

In addition to the fine dining many of the restaurants are offering BC VQA Wine Pairings as well as Kronenbourg Beer Pairings for an extra cost with the meals. This may seem like a way for them to bring in more revenue but in truth it tends to complete the meal and really enhance the flavors of each dish. And by highlighting VQA Wines its shows the pride Vancouver has in having local ingredients.

Check out Dine Out Vancouver from Jan 20th to Feb 5th.

On the Tourism Vancouver Website you can make the selection process easier by choosing by type of cuisine, neighborhood, price range, gluten-friendly, or vegetarian.

Last year customers voted Provence Mediterranean Grill the best overall Dine Out Vancouver experience…who will it be this year?

Make your reservation today.

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