10 Ways to Make the Most of Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2021

Photo credit: Hubert Kang

Dine Out Vancouver Festival, an annual bright spot in the middle of winter, has transformed this year into 31 days of events and multi-course menus for celebrating Vancouver’s culinary scene.

This is a great opportunity to support our local restaurants who have worked so tirelessly to survive during this pandemic, as well as to find some joy for ourselves in the city’s dining landscape. Running from February 5 to March 7, 2021, Dine Out Vancouver Festival promises to be a vibrant, safe, and of course, absolutely delicious month of eating and drinking.

Until further notice, in line with the public health order, non-essential travel into, within, and out of BC is not recommended. BC residents, let’s do our part by continuing to stay small and support local with your immediate household, in accordance with the latest guidelines.

 

Here are 10 ways to take part in this year’s fabulous Dine Out Vancouver Festival.

#1: Tour the world with a variety of multi-course menus at restaurants around the city

Photo: Tacofino Ocho – grilled chicken thigh tacos

From its modest launch back in 2002 when 57 restaurants took part in a campaign to liven up the new year doldrums, Dine Out Vancouver (DOVF) has grown exponentially to become the largest food and drink festival in the nation.

And this year, in its latest incarnation, despite the trials of this pandemic, DOVF is emerging with an even more exciting and expansive line-up of restaurants. A record-breaking over 330 restaurants are taking part, offering multi-course brunch, lunch, and dinner menus that range from $15 to $54 per person, giving you a dazzling array of options.

And even though we’re staying local right now, your palate can still escape to far-off places through your Dine Out Vancouver restaurant choices. Culinary options include Filipino fare at Max’s Restaurant, Mexican eats at Chancho Tortilleria, Nepalese/Tibetan platters at Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen, French bistro favorites at Jules, and aromatic Indian curries at Bombay Kitchen + Bar. There are also a host of restaurants, like Bar Gobo, that feature the best of west coast cuisine and local ingredients.

Over the course of the 31 days of DOVF, spin your mental globe and go to one of the restaurants that corresponds to where you land (and what you’re in the mood for eating).

#2: Get your multi-course meals to go

Photo: Heritage Asian Eatery takeout

Restaurants are taking every precaution and following every health protocol to ensure a safe and fun DOVF experience for everyone. As takeout has become much more sought after during the pandemic, many restaurants are offering multi-course menus that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. For example, the Mackenzie Room is featuring a five-course tasting menu ($108 for 2 people) that includes their signature chicken of the sea dish (uni parfait, hazelnut, pear, squid ink brioche, and charred onion) and comforting fig and date pudding for dessert. Water St. Café is offering a charming DineOutSide Picnic TOGO menu with the meat lovers version including Caesar salad, meatballs in rich tomato sauce, and tiramisu for your last course. These are just two of the many takeout options available from participating DOVF restaurants. Restaurants are currently taking reservations for DOVF.

#3: Find out how Dine Out Vancouver is meeting your dietary needs

As in previous years, DOVF is committed to making the festival as accessible as possible to a wide range of diners and dietary needs. Many restaurants are offering vegetarian and vegan options as part of their multi-course menus. Brix & Mortar, for instance, is serving a vegan harvest spotlighting seasonal fresh produce from local farms as their entrée, and Chewies Oyster Bar (Kitsilano) is featuring a veggie (and gluten free) jambalaya for their main course.

On February 5, 2021, at 5:30pm, Honeycomb.ai is hosting Dining Out with Dietary Needs a free Zoom webinar with a panel of experts (e.g., restaurateurs/chefs) who will talk about best practices for ordering at restaurants and for takeout when it comes to dietary needs; the ways DOVF is supporting those with dietary needs; as well chefs/restaurateurs own strategies when it comes to being more dietary-need conscious.

#4: Learn how to make dumplings, lasagne, and more

Photo: In My Kitchen: Fiorucci Family Lasagne

During the pandemic, you’ve probably been cooking a whole lot more – and getting tired of the same old dishes that you rely on for your household meals. DOVF has a bunch of virtual and interactive cooking classes that will see you rolling up your sleeves in your kitchen and making new items.

Virtual classes available are: a Virtual Dumpling Masterclass ($30) presented by Historical Chinatown Tours and Judy Lam Maxwell on February 5, 2021, from 5-6:30pm; In My Kitchen: Middle Eastern Inspired Cocktails and Mezes($32.10) on February 11, 2021, from 6-7:30pm; Belgard Kitchen’s Apron Club: Valentine’s Day Virtual Cooking Class with kits for 2 that can be picked up from February 12-14 ($95, includes a link to a YouTube video); Moxie’s Virtual Cooking Class (free) on February 20, 2021, from 3-4pm that will teach you to make roasted tomatoes and whipped feta, in addition to a Shaken Lime Margarita; and In My Kitchen: Fiorucci Family Lasagne ($53.50) on February 27, 2021, from 12pm to 5pm;

#5: Feast on special DOVF dinners (with drink pairings)

Photo: Belgard & Beers: Brewmaster’s Dinner

Select establishments will be hosting special DOVF dinners (with all the COVID-19 safety protocols in place). On February 9 and 23, 2021, you can take part in Belgard & Beers: Brewmaster’s Dinner ($80.59 per person) for a four-course tasting menu with beer pairings for 2-6 members of your household bubble.  

On March 5, 2021, from 6-10pm, Hart House Restaurants hosts an 8th Generation Vineyards Dinner ($138 per person), with a five-course dinner with wine pairings from Summerland’s 8th Generation Vineyards.

#6: Help be the change in the restaurant industry

Photo: Good Night Out 101: For Customers

This year, with movements like #BlackLivesMatter, our collective social conscious has been raised in terms of the continued injustices and inequalities that exist in our society and urgently need to be addressed. In response, DOVF features free online seminars to raise awareness of social justice issues in the restaurant industry.

Shift Change: Visibility of LGBTQ2+ in the Kitchen is a free online event on February 9, 2021, from 3-4:30pm, which is part of a “Speakers for Change” Zoom series led by Tacofino. Building on previous conversations about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, this talk will address obstacles faced by LGBTQ2+ individuals in the restaurant industry with keynote speaker Heat Laliberte, a Cree-Metis chef, whose career includes catering for the Olympics in 2016 and 2018, and starting his own company, One Arrow Meats. Tacofino is donating $1,250 to Laliberte’s charity of choice.

On February 18, 2021, from 7-8pm, Good Night Out Vancouver is presenting Good Night Out 101: For Customers, a by-donation seminar that will provide tips and strategies for making evenings out in Vancouver safer, especially in relation to gender-based violence and misconduct.

#7: Visit The Polygon Gallery to see thought provoking food photography

From March 4-30, 2021, The Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver is hosting Feast for the Eyes (by donation courtesy of BMO Financial Group), an exhibition that looks at how food has figured in photography over the past century. Artists included are Ed Ruscha, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Andy Warhol.

#8: Explore beer and wine pairings

Photo: Cookies & Beer?! With Callister Brewing x Half-Baked Cookie Co.

DOVF is keeping you in good spirits with multiple events centred on beer and wine pairings. On February 5, 6, 12, 19, 26, and March 6, Canadian Craft Tours is organizing Virtual Beer and Cheese Tastings (e.g., $90 per person for beer delivery and virtual happy hour, $30 per person for cheese pairing add-on). They’re also hosting Virtual Wine Tastings on February 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, and 20 (e.g, $150 per person + shipping for virtual happy hour with wine and cheese pairings).

And for other fun beer pairings, Callister Brewing Co. is presenting Cookies & Beer?! With Callister Brewing x Half-Baked Cookie Co. ($21.51 per person) on February 9, 17, and 25, 2021, and Freebird Table & Bar is co-presenting Chick ‘n Hops ($20) with Bomber Brewing on February 11, 2021, and with Central City Red Racer Brewing on March 4, 2021, for chicken tasting and cask tapping.

#9: Learn about cold brew coffee

Vancouver Coffee Snob and Prototype Coffee are hosting Virtual Coffee Tasting with Canadian Craft Tours ($90 per person), a virtual session where you can geek out on cold brew coffee, on February 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21, 2021. Try three cold brew based drinks and learn more about cold brew in entertaining ways.

#10: Make it a staycation

If you’re looking to channel the feeling of a getaway while still remaining local, consider booking a participating downtown Vancouver hotel during DOVF. You’ll receive a $50 prepaid VISA gift card for each night (up to 5).

 

In short, there is so much to do, eat, and drink at this year’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival. Make sure to book as soon as possible for restaurants and events to avoid disappointment. All info can be found on the DOV website.

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