With the Vancouver International Wine Festival now in full swing, the city is abuzz with events taking place daily until Sunday (March 3).
The 41st annual fest, which raises money for Bard on the Beach, features 1,450 wines from 160 wineries in 16 countries.
While there’s everything from trade gatherings to winery dinners, the fete’s flagship events are the International Festival Tastings.
This year, the tastings run Thursday through Saturday evenings (February 28 to March 2) as well as on Saturday afternoon at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
With 725 wines on offer, the tastings require a little bit of foresight. For one, you don’t need to swallow every last drop. There are buckets at every table to spit or pour out your wine after you’ve had a sip. The point is to find new favourites, not stagger home drunk.
While some food samples might be available here and there, the tastings aren’t culinary events. Pro tip: You gotta eat before and/or after!
Here are three spots within walking distance of the VCC to get your proper fill so you can truly enjoy your wine fill.
350 West Pender Street
The second location of Dustin Dockendorf and chef Lucais Syme’s casual Italian eatery has taken over the home of duo’s former gem, Cinara. Autostrada is all about simple, standout ingredients and unfussy, satisfying dishes. Highlights include white anchovy on house-made sourdough; vitello tonnato (shaved veal topped with tuna sauce and capers), and pastas like bucatini cacio e pepe and rigatoni alla Norma with eggplant.
Tired of wine? Try Strange Fellows Brewing Popinjay Westcoast Sour, with its tones of tropical fruit, or a Boulevardier Negroni with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Campari, and Cinzano Rosso.
Tableau Bar Bistro
1881 Melville Street
Chef de cuisine Catherine Stewart honed her culinary skills in France while cooking at several Michelin-starred restaurants before bringing them to downtown Vancouver. Here, look for classics like French onion soup, steak frites, lobster pot pie, and rotating plats du jour.
Tired of wine? Try the Powell Brewery x TBB collaboration beer, a hazy IPA, or the 1181 cocktail, with gin, elderflower syrup, lemonade, and sparkling wine.
550 Denman Street
The new Coal Harbour spot with a jewel-box design marks the Canadian return of internationally acclaimed chef Liam Breen, a Vancouver native who enlivens deep, rich French flavours with a touch of Mediterranean influence. There’s beef tartare; confit duck cassoulet; lobster tajarin; duck rillettes with red wine cherry compote; char-grilled octopus with anchovy-saffron butter, olives, and roasted garlic; and parmesan-crusted veal chop in a caper Marsala sauce, among many others.
Tired of wine? Go for Parallel 49’s Munich Helles Craft Lager, a classic pale craft lager, or the Duclair, with Captain Morgan aged rum, muroise, maple syrup, lemon, egg white. and Peychaud mist.