The 18th annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival (January 17 to February 2) is fast approaching, and more than 300 restaurants will be offering highly anticipated, prix fixe dinner menus priced at $15, $25, $35, and $45.
It can be overwhelming trying to decide which eateries to book a reservation at during Canada’s largest food-and-drink celebration, but we’ve made it a little easier by rounding up some new and notable spots to check out this year.
From tasty plant-based fare to West African–meets–Pacific Northwest flavours, and from hearty Italian food to Japanese bites, here are 10 restaurants to keep on your radar for Dine Out Vancouver 2020.
1931 Gallery Bistro (750 Hornby Street, $45)
The Vancouver Art Gallery’s new in-house restaurant made its debut in November 2019, complete with an interior facelift that features a chic and contemporary setting. With a focus on using fresh and seasonal ingredients, guests will find Dine Out dishes like short-rib ravioli, heirloom salads, soy sablefish, and more. Finish off your meal with desserts like crème brûlée, chocolate mousse, or carrot cake.
Amaranthus (112–810 Quayside Drive, New Westminster; $25)
This vegetarian and vegan eatery in New West opened in May 2019, and food-lovers have been flocking here ever since. Its Dine Out dinner menu will feature plant-based creations like fried Brussel sprouts, arugula salad, roasted red-pepper tomato soup, beet risotto, and cauliflower steak, among others. Sweettooths will enjoy desserts like vegan chocolate pie, fig cheesecake, and rosemary-salt churros.
Arike Restaurant & Cocktail Bar (1725 Davie Street, $25)
When this Nigerian-meets-Pacific Northwest dining spot opened in English Bay last spring, it created a lot of curious chatter. This cuisine is not the usual grub you’d find on any other block in the city, but its menu has attracted many fans. Check out its Dine Out offerings, which include an oxtail boudin taster with cured pork belly, pickled veggies, and spicy agege crouton; fried jollof rice served with suya-beef skewers or marinated prawns; and Milo ice cream with salted caramel and peanut crumb.
Bells & Whistles (3296 Fraser Street, $25)
It has been serving up no-fuss grub for a few years, but this Fraserhood burger joint is a newcomer to this year’s Dine Out festival. Find satisfying Canadian bites like pretzel buns served with honey mustard, butternut squash soup, and Caesar salad to start. The stars of the show are undoubtedly its popular burgers, with options like the classic burger (with hand-formed beef patty and aged cheddar), veggie burger (quinoa, almond-and-chickpea patty, and feta), crispy chicken, and all-day breakfast burger. You can’t leave without a soft-serve twist cone, made with ice cream from Foothills Creamery.
Bufala Edgemont (3280 Edgemont Boulevard, North Vancouver; $35)
Originally located in Kerrisdale, Bufala’s sister spot on the North Shore has attracted plenty of attention. The spacious but cozy Italian restaurant will be offering a Dine Out menu filled with some of its top dishes like meatballs, arancini with mushroom risotto, kale Caesar salad, margherita pizza, finocchiona pizza (made with fennel sausage, caramelized onions, and smoked provolone), rigatoni (made with six-hour beef-and-pork bolognese), and more. For dessert, guests will tuck into Foothills Creamery vanilla-ice cream topped with chocolate sauce.
Izakaya Gon’s (854 Denman Street, $35)
In addition to sushi and sashimi, there is a lot more to Vancouver’s mouthwatering Japanese cuisine. Izakaya Gon’s is known for its teishoku (set meals), which include various dishes that range from salads to proteins to sweets. Some of the picks available on its Dine Out dinner menu include salmon carpaccio, savoury-egg custard, fried oysters, wagyu-beef sukiyaki and steamed rice, deep-fried skewers, and aburi (flame-seared) sushi. End-off your meal with desserts like green-tea tiramisu, yuzu sorbet-and-yuzu jelly, coffee jelly and soft-serve ice cream, and more.
Papi’s Seafood & Oyster Bar (1193 Denman Street, $35)
Located in a prime English Bay location, it’s hard to miss Papi’s when you’re going through the West End. A relatively new addition to the city’s dining scene, the eatery will be offering Dine Out plates like lobster squash soup, seafood tart, wild-mushroom risotto, and sturgeon roast. Desserts like rice pudding with hibiscus bubbles, and sticky toffee pudding with cereal ice cream round off the multicourse menu.
Pepino’s Spaghetti House (631 Commercial Drive, $45)
There’s no shortage of pasta spots in Vancouver’s designated “Little Italy”, but Pepino’s (which replaced longtime eatery Nick’s Spaghetti House) has become staple for city-dwellers since it opened in June 2018. Its entry into Dine Out won’t disappoint, with fan-favourite items like spaghetti and meatballs, Caesar salad with house-made dressing, chicken piccata, and sablefish oreganata on the menu. If you have a sweettooth, don’t forget to try its tiramisu or chocolate pudding.
Tasty Indian Bistro (1261 Hamilton Street, $45)
Similar to its sister establishment in Delta, this trendy Indian restaurant serves up traditional Indian fare and dishes with a modern twist. Its Yaletown location will be offering a Dine Out dinner menu that features appetizers like veggie pakora (deep-fried fritters), chicken tikka, and corn chops. Mains like butter chicken, aloo gobi (cauliflower with spices and potatoes), and lamb curry are available. Finish your meal with Indian-style desserts like gulabjamun (deep-fried dough soaked in sugar syrup and topped with pistachios) and a selection of ice-cream flavours like kulfi (rosewater and pistachio), mango, and vanilla.
Ubuntu Canteen (4194 Fraser Street, $45)
Vancouver chef David Gunawan’s newest culinary venture made its debut last spring, and follows his philosophy of cooking using seasonal, local, and organic ingredients. Ubuntu Canteen is also community focused, and we don’t doubt its Dine Out run will attract many hungry patrons. Find dishes like celeriac, apple, and pumpkin-seed pesto soup, lightly smoked coho salmon, cavatelli with mushroom ragout and parmesan, and dry-aged pork with roasted heirloom squash. Gianduja-ice cream with quince and yogurt is served for dessert.