If you live in or around Vancouver, you’ve probably heard that one of our favourite activities is returning to the city this month: Dine Out Vancouver! In a nutshell, Dine Out Vancouver is Canada’s largest food and drink festival, hosted over 17 days. Though the festival is focused around restaurants and food-centric events, select hotels are also offering special promotions for those who would like to visit Vancouver during this time.
With a whopping 277 Vancouver restaurants to choose from, foodies all over the city have begun making their lists of the best places to dine during the festival. That’s the fun part, so we’ll leave that to you. For our blog, we thought to share the best lessons we’ve learned from our years of Dine Out Vancouver.
Foodie 101: How to do “Dine Out Vancouver” like a Champion
1. Create your own short list
277 restaurants is a lot to look through, so we encourage you (as always) to let your stomach guide you! Before you peruse the hundreds of places to eat, ask yourself:
- What do I have a hankering for?
- What kind of cuisine would I like to try?
- What’s something I’d like to have made by a professional chef?
With this in mind, consult some food reviews – other spots on our blog, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon – to get some inspiration. This will give you a bit of direction before you delve into the list of participating restaurants.
2. Look at the Dine Out Vancouver menus
Obviously, you read the menu. But LOOK. LOOK real close at the menu. A critique we’ve heard from foodies who’ve eaten in past Dine Out festivals, is that sometimes the dishes on the “set menus” do not live up to the usual quality/standard of the restaurant. Sometimes the dishes are overly simple. Sometimes the ingredients are overly ambitious. You’re going to Dine Out Vancouver to have a sincere taste of the restaurant, so it’s helpful to look at the Dine Out menu and ask yourself:
- What food/element/cuisine is this restaurant known for?
- What is the restaurant like? Is it upscale French, Japanese tapas, or casual bar food?
3. Mind the space
Dine Out Vancouver is a really fun thing to do with friends. This might be an obvious one, but it’s good keep in mind the physical space of the restaurant you’ll be visiting. Because restaurants will likely be filled every night of the festival, you might be wary of echoing high-ceilings, wooden floors, or open kitchens if you’re looking to have intimate conversation.
4. Make a reservation
If reservations are available, make one! And make it quick, because the good ones will book up fast. There’s nothing worse than doing all the research and forgetting to reserve your spot. You’ll find yourself eating instant ramen at home while your friends feast and frolic all around town.
5. Don’t forget the events!
Dine Out Vancouver has become so much more than just eating out at restaurants! Check out their events page for other awesome foodie activities. The Street Food Festival is a VFT favourite – many of our food truck partners will be there! If you’re up for it, we’ll be running our Foodie Tours throughout the festival dates (and more) and we’d love to show you around!
Thanks for the read, foodies! Best of luck and happy feasting!