Dine Out Vancouver 2016

Dine Out Vancouver Festival - logoDine Out Vancouver Festival 2016 has already started and is more than halfway through!

Presented by Tourism Vancouver, Dine Out Vancouver is in its 14th year of bringing Canada’s largest annual food and drink festival to Vancouverites. Hundreds of restaurants participate and offer a three-course menu at set price points of $20, $30, or $40. Some restaurants also provide customizable options and supplements, and beverage pairings. This year, the event is running from January 15 – 31, 2016 for 17 days, and there’s only 4 days left!

I know I’m late to the show, but I’ve been trying to eat out less this year in hopes of not spending all my money on food and putting some money towards the piggy bank! It’s hard to resist food when it can be oh so good…

Regarding Dine Out, I find that restaurants can be a hit or a miss. I’ve gone a couple of times in the past few years to find some delightful surprises or unfortunate disappointments. Some restaurants are good during its normal operations but fall below its usual quality of food and service during Dine Out. Some restaurants have promising menus, but end up tasting just average or the portions are so small that I’m still hungry afterwards! And some restaurants might offer great value and amazing food. Either way, Dine Out is definitely a good time to try out some new restaurants.

This year, here are my choices for Dine Out in no particular order. We decided to do Dine Out last minute, so we pretty much based our decisions on what type of cuisine we wanted to eat, if the menus looked good, and what was available for reservations.

Cafe Kathmandu

Cuisine: Himalayan; Nepalese
Price Point: $20
Click here for its Dine Out Dinner Menu

Located on Commercial Drive, Cafe Kathmandu is known for its Himalayan cuisine. It is the first Nepalese restaurant in BC to offer flavours and textures of Nepal. With its three-course menu set at $20, the pricing looks reasonable for its choice of items. I have never tried Himalayan / Napelese food before, so I wanted to check it out.

On Saturday night, we went to Cafe Kathmandu. The momo in miso soup was quite spectacular, but the lentil appetizer was grainy and bland. We got the chicken and fish for our entrees, which weren’t bad but not great. I did like the desserts. Never had vermicelli as dessert before! I found the food to be average, but for $20, the pricing was reasonable for what we got, and the waitress is very cute!

The Fish Shack

Cuisine: West Coast; Seafood
Price Point: $30
Click here for its Dine Out Dinner Menu

Part of the Glowbal Restaurant Group, The Fish Shack features you named it, seafood. It is located on the club and pub strip Granville Street in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. With seafood offered for both its appetizer and entree, its menu looks promising and has a very appealing Fisherman’s Catch for Two (dungeness crab, snow crab, tiger prawns, mussels, clams, corn, chorizo). We stumbled across this find on Vandiary’s recommendations for $30 Dine Out restaurants (Note: Vandiary is in Chinese).

We went to The Fish Shack a few days ago on Monday night. On top of the set menu, we ordered add-ons. The raw oysters were good but a bit sandy. Meatballs came barely warm and the outside was hard. For appetizers, the prawns were good (too bad they came deep fried), and the oyster rockefellers were quite small with the spinach really salty. The key feature, the Fisherman’s Catch for Two, had barely any nice seafood, just clams and mussels. I got two tinyass crab legs. Dessert was good, but I noticed a few tables that got their desserts too frozen and couldn’t even put their spoons through them! I’m guessing they thawed out the dessert more before serving ours. All in all, the food was average and not worth the price. The service from our waitress was also very disappointing.

Horizons Restaurant

Cuisine: West Coast; Seafood
Price Point: $30
Click here for details on its Dine Out Dinner Menu

Horizons Restaurant is located in a picturesque setting on Burnaby Mountain Park and specializes in seafood and meat cooked on an alder wood grill. I have never heard of this restaurant before, but my coworker went to Horizons the past weekend and really enjoyed her dining experience. She said that the food offered on its $30 menu was great value, as the steak was huge, and the service was good as well.

As I trust her taste in food, I’ll be checking out Horizons this weekend and I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Where have you tried for Dine Out this year and were any of the restaurants good? Let me know!