Canada’s largest food and drink festival, Dine Out Vancouver, has taken over the city! From January 17-31, 2016, 288 Vancouver restaurants are offering $20, $30 or $40 set menus, and at most places, reservations are very much required.
But what happens if you missed the boat? What if you love dining on whim? Is this 17-day festival a time for you to dine in?! Fret not, foodies, we feel your pain! You can still order what you want, when you want, just like the good ol’ days!
9 Rockin’ Restaurants in the #DineOutFreeZone
We first spotted the hashtag from Pourhouse’s Instagram feed, and we loved it!
1. Six Acres
Gastropub | GASTOWN
Nestled in Vancouver’s oldest building, Six Acres is a local favourite for mean cocktails, beers and savoury share plates. Open 7 days a week over lunch and dinner, it’s a trusty Gastown stop for serious sustenance like cheddar corn fritters, poutine, crab sliders and more.
2. The Sardine Can
Spanish Tapas | GASTOWN
The Sardine Can is a top pick for traditional Spanish small plates. To note, The Sardine Can’s dining room is rather petite, so arrive early (or late) if you’re hoping to waltz in!
3. Fable Restaurant
Canadian | KITSILANO
Fable is currently offering a $35, 3-course meal – not a Dine Out Menu, just a menu pairing of their own. However, the choice remains up to you, as the regular menu still exists. In fact, you can even order a single item from the 3-course meal options! The maple-brined pork chop looks like a promising selection…
Lebanese | VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Yes! Despite the spike in cauliflower pricing in Canada, Nuba has confirmed that their famous “Najib’s Special” (fried cauliflower with lemon, salt and pepper) is here to stay! With several locations around the city, Nuba is well regarded by locals as the best Lebanese fare in Vancouver. We recommend any of their shared “Feasts” which feature highlights from the menu like Najib’s Special, Garden Falafel and Baba Ghanooj!
5. Phnom Penh (Pronounced: Nom Pen)
Vietnamese | CHINATOWN
If you haven’t tried Phnom Penh’s chicken wings with lemon pepper sauce, my, you have not lived! The lively dining room is a Chinatown landmark. You’ll find traditional Vietnamese-Cambodian dishes, like luc lac (well marbled beef with rice and fried egg), butter beef, pho and endless curries. Let the staff know if you’re willing to share a round table with another party – it can seriously speed up the wait!
6. Ask For Luigi
Italian | RAILTOWN
We cannot say enough about the food at Ask For Luigi. The quality, care and authenticity in their handmade pastas and meatballs translates into sheer foodie bliss. The restaurant has a no-reservation policy, so be prepared to place your name at the door and grab a drink at a neighbouring watering hole!
Canadian | GASTOWN
To the originators of #DineOutFreeZone, we hail your wit! With scotch eggs and tuna nicoise for starters, braised beef bourguignon and burgers for mains, Pourhouse’s menu is solid through-and-through. There is character in the walls and creativity in the cocktails – the perfect Gastown combination!
Japanese Izakaya | W BROADWAY
Japanese small plates are a pretty serious game in Vancouver. Sure, sashimi is on the menu…as is deep-fried chicken karaage, oxtail ramen, and grilled sablefish. Suika is eternally upbeat – in volume and in flavour! The social atmosphere is fun for a progressive night of feasting with friends.
9. Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Italian | GASTOWN
Nicli’s Next Door (literally, next door to Nicli Antica Pizzeria) is participating in Dine Out Vancouver, so make sure you pop in the right door! The Pizzeria is “VPN certified,” meaning that their pizzas meet strict requirements that respect the tradition of the art of Neapolitan pizza making. The large wood-fired oven in the middle of the restaurant is a spectacle of its own!