Creamy edamame soup topped with sake-infused sausage and drizzled with shiso oil.
Refreshing tofu salad garnished with crispy lotus roots and a bright citrus dressing.
Spicy ling cod perched atop a meltingly tender poached daikon slice, served with vegetable fritters and painted with a brushstroke of pureed nori.
With dishes like these (from upscale izakaya Hapa Umi) and hundreds more from restaurants all over the city, this year’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival is shaping up to be three weeks of delicious food fun.
Canada’s largest restaurant festival, Dine Out Vancouver 2012 kicks off January 20 and runs through February 5. More than 200 restaurants around the city are offering great-value three-course prix-fixe menus (at $18, $28, or $38 per person). This year, the festival also includes scads of special events, from food tours, cooking classes, and mystery suppers to theatre and dining nights. Plus, a new Street Food City event will let you sample from Vancouver’s growing number of food trucks, all in one place.
Read on for the festival details…
Where to Eat
With over 200 participating restaurants, choosing where to eat can be a little daunting. I’ve picked some especially interesting menus, along with a few old favorites, to help you decide.
The $38 menus include lots of first-rate choices. Book as soon as possible, since many of these dinners will sell out fast:
Cibo Trattoria (their menu is posted on their Facebook page)
“Salt and Pepper”
Several restaurants are hosting special events beyond the prix-fixe dining options, adding a dash of “Salt and Pepper” to this year’s festival. Save On Meats is hosting a “Social Feed” on January 27—a pork-centric “nose-to-tail” menu served family style at a long communal table. Hamilton Street Grill and British Columbia’s Township 7 Winery team up for a “Wine Country Luncheon” on February 2. Provence Mediterranean Restaurant transforms into a “Pop-Up Salsa Club” on January 29, pairing Cuban food with a night of dancing.
Street Food City
On January 24, 25, and 26, take your lunch break with Vancouver’s food trucks. Each day, at least eight different food trucks will park near the Vancouver Art Gallery, enabling you to sample the city’s street food bounty all in one place. And because this is January in Vancouver (rain, what rain?), there will be tents set up to provide shelter, as well as bands to entertain you while you eat.
Want to learn to prepare Chinese dim sum or Indian snack food? Tour Granville Island with a chef or take a guided walk through Chinatown? Shuck oysters and concoct cocktails with an expert bartender? Then check out these Dine Out “Dine Academy” events.
Even if you didn’t care about the food and restaurant events, this month would be a great time to visit Vancouver. Three dozen hotels are offering special Dine Out nightly rates of $78, $108, or $138 per room.
If you go…
Want more details about Dine Out Vancouver and the many more special events? Get the complete schedule, make your reservations, and book tickets online on the Tourism Vancouver Dine Out Festival website.
Have you come across a great food festival like Dine Out Vancouver in your travels? Please leave a comment and share the details with other WanderFood readers. And if you have a food post – on any culinary topic – that you’d like to highlight, you can link to that post here:
Taco truck photo courtesy of Cartel Taco
Other photos © Carolyn B. Heller