Besides a number of food-focused festivals taking place around Metro Vancouver in the summer, the bountiful season also means local and regional restaurants can offer delicious food-and-drink events.
From a cross-country culinary celebration to seafood boils, and from a special chef collaboration dinner to an outdoor longtable feast, there’s no shortage of epicurean eats in B.C. during the hottest time of the year.
Here are nine mouthwatering summertime meals to find in Vancouver and beyond.
Food Day Canada is a national celebration of foods that come from this place we call home, from coast to coast to coast. August 3 is the day to dine on dishes made with exclusively Canadian ingredients, whether you cook at home or go out for a special meal. Restaurants all across the country are participating, including several throughout B.C.
In Vancouver, look for special menus at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts’ Blue Hat Bistro (where the menu includes Pacific lingcod cioppino with Fanny Bay mussels and Red Fyfe bannock; risotto made of Saskatchewan barley, Manitoba millet, and Newfoundland lobster; and Quebec maple-sugar tart), Bishop’s, Burdock & Co., Cibo Trattoria, Dosanko, Forage, L’Abattoir, Timber, West, and more.
Further afield in B.C., there’s some purely Canadian goodness being prepared at places like Ucluelet’s Pluvio, Sonora Resort, Victoria’s Part and Parcel, and the Wildflower at Fairmont Chateau Whistler, where the menu consists entirely of foods sourced from Whistler Farmers Market (from cherries to trotter) save for N’quatqua rainbow trout, a sustainable species from the Indigenous community situated at the head of Anderson Lake between Pemberton and Lillooet.
Pemberton’s North Arm Farm will once again play host to Araxi restaurant’s stunning longtable dinner in the field. In its ninth year, the unique culinary experience will take place on August 18 amongst a backdrop of mountains and greenery, and feature local and seasonal ingredients paired with B.C. wines.
Guests will be greeted with a cocktail reception before sitting down to enjoy the four-course family-style meal prepared by various Toptable Group establishments. Dishes like house made charcuterie (duck liver parfait, terrine, cured meats, and baked breads), fresh pasta with heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, and charcoal grilled beef striploin and slow-cooked beef cheeks will be served. The al-fresco dinner ends with lemon mousse cake and chocolate ice-cream bars, as well as assorted petit fours.
Tickets ($265 per person) and more details can be found online.
Feast Chef’s Table Dinner Series at Harmony Arts Festival
A first for the annual beachfront fest, Feast’s intimate dining experience for just 10 to 12 people takes place at a communal table overlooking the water in the heart of the art—exhibits, live music, and all.
Feast is a rustic farm-to-table restaurant in West Vancouver, and its French-born executive chef Johann Caner has created a three-course family-style menu for the Ambleside series. Available nightly from August 2 to 11 with the exception of August 7 (because of Harmony’s Best of the West), the meal includes heirloom tomatoes with burrata, basil leaf, and olive oil; a deluxe Surf ’n’ Turf platter with a king crab leg, lobster tail, and Tomahawk steak along with roasted veggies, Parmesan fries, chimichurri, and garlic aioli; and an Okanagan peach tart with vanilla pastry cream.
Tickets ($100 per person), with optional Haywire wine pairings for an additional $55.
The culinary mastermind behind 1909 Kitchen at Tofino Resort + Marina and winner of the latest season of Top Chef Canada, chef Paul Moran, will be hosting another edition of his #TofinoEats guest chef series dinner at the end of the summer.
On September 10, the renowned chef will be inviting Vancouver’s legendary Hidekazu Tojo of Tojo’s Restaurant to the Tofino dining establishment for a unique Tofitian-meets-Japanese collaboration.
The multicourse meal will include creations like albacore tuna and sesame gomae, wood-roasted wild salmon skin with tamago omelet, zucchini blossom tempura stuffed with flying fish, and Tojo’s signature sushi. Pistachio gelato with banana, infused with strawberry and tea ends off the meal.
Tickets ($99 per person) can be purchased by calling 250-726-6122.
Embracing the music of ’80s is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, the dream team at AnnaLena is celebrating the decade of “Tainted Love”, “Take on Me”, and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” when the Kitsilano restaurant hosts a seven-course modern picnic for the second installment of its dinner series, dubbed 808s and Picnic Plates. (A Roland TR-808 drum machine will be playing in the background.)
If the soundtrack is just plain fun, this is serious food. Inspired by summer gatherings and with so much outstanding local produce at its peak, the August 6 and 7 soirees consist of a seven-course modern picnic created by exec chef Michael Robbins. Wines from the Okanagan’s Nichol Vineyards and Lock & Worth will accompany dishes like summer-squash skewers, pork short ribs, and West Coast seafood boil.
Tickets ($119 per person) and more info can be found online.
Pride Disco Dumplings at Burdock & Co
Every week, this Mount Pleasant eatery hosts a popular Monday-night food event known as Disco & Dumplings—the name says it all.
In light of the Pride Vancouver season, Burdock & Co will be transforming its weekly food fete to fit in with the celebrations. On August 5, guest DJs will be spinning Pride-appropriate tunes underneath rainbow reflections from the disco ball.
As for the food, think fresh-made dumplings like goat Camembert-stuffed morels, and its classic pork and Burdock. Other bites like fried chicken with dill pickle mayo and fresh salads will also be on the menu.
Walk-ins only; reservations not accepted for regular dinner service on August 5.
YEW and Boulevard seafood boils
Speaking of these extravagant, festive feasts, there are a few to choose from this summer.
You get a fine-dining-style cotton bib to keep at YEW Seafood and Bar for its Dungeness Crab + Lobster Boil Dining Series. Taking place Sunday and Thursday evenings throughout the summer, the shared, family-style meals include flavourful sides like Chilliwack corn, heirloom potatoes, buttered beans, crispy Brussels sprouts, house-made focaccia, fresh cherry clafoutis, and more, plus a glass of B.C. wine to start.
Tickets ($78 per person) are available online.
Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar hauls out the lobster, jumbo prawns, clams, mussels, and Dungeness crab, along with all the fixings, for its Sunday Seafood Boil Series. Its signature cornbread and beignets are highlights of the meal.
Tickets ($68 per person) and more details are available online.
Ubuntu Canteen chef/owner David Gunawan and his team head to Zaklan Heritage Farm in Surrey on August 11 for the next installment of the Fraserhood restaurant’s Sunday Supper Series. Joining them is Portland, Oregon Tusk restaurant chef Kaylie Barfield, formerly head chef of Vancouver’s Nuba Restaurant Group.
The feast features a whole spit-roasted lamb plus up to 20 of the 40 different types of vegetables grown on the acclaimed 1.5-acre Surrey farm that will be harvested that day.
Tickets ($125 per person) and more info are available online.