My Dine Out Vancouver 2016 Eats Picks

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This 2016 Dine Out Vancouver Festival showcases 289 participating restaurants and it is the largest in its history, there is a challenge to find the best and most creative menu, unique flavours, value and most of all experience. To me Dine Out Vancouver is an experience, it gives the public, you and me a chance to try some new restaurants, it gives us a reason to go outside of our comfort zone and neighborhood to explore, savour and enjoy!

My picks this year are based on the most creative and unique dishes as well as those menus that provide a good value to the diners. Many of the chefs have spent countless hours designing their menus for this years Dine Out Vancouver festival of eating. I have provided you with restaurants and their standout dishes by price fixe categories which are $20, $30 and $40 this year. Ready to reserve your restaurant you can do so here.

$20 Category

 

Gyoza Bar

Unique dishes:

Roasted Beet Gyoza + Market Green Salad goat cheese, pickled beets, fresh orange, toasted almonds (AVAILABLE ON VEGETARIAN MENU ONLY)

BAO BOARD choice of one Chicken Nanban asian slaw, bok choy kimchee

 

Big Rock Urban Eatery

Unique dishes:

Poplette Di Birra Arrosto (Roasted Beer Meatballs) – Ground brisket, Rauchbier, rossa, lamb demi, taleggio

Brewpub Bento Box – Porter glazed sockeye, cauliflower tempura, tuna nigiri, centennial hop rice, dunkel goma-ae

Agnello e Paina La Pizza (Lamb & Rapini Pizza) – Stout lamb confit, rapini, fennel béchamel

Seadas (Sardinian Fritters) – “00” flour, asiago, romano, Strathcona honey, lemon

 

$30 category

 

Café Pacifica

Unique dishes:

BBQ Duck Consommé Shredded duck, Shitake mushroom, water chestnut, chives

Malaysian Style Bouillabaisse Salmon, Snapper, tiger prawns, coconut cream, shredded leeks

Roasted Pumpkin & salt spring Island Goat cheese ravioli Sautéed kale & oyster mushroom acorn squash chips, lemon butter sauce, balsamic glaze

 

Forage

Unique dishes:

Pacific Provider Spring Salmon ~ charred cabbage, spiced carrot puree, conifer gnocchi

Chermoula Spiced Ancient Grains ~ chickpea tempeh mousse, root vegetables, Meyer lemon yogurt chips

Chocolate Hazelnut Roulade ~ Gianduja buttercream, sesame tuille, Haskap berry custard

Lemon Verbena Neufchâtel Cheese Puff ~ ice cream, cordial, Unruly Gin-spiked blueberries

 

C Prime

Unique dishes:

VEAL Slow braised veal shank + soft polenta + gremolata

RISOTTO Sauteed B.C chantrelle mushrooms + asparagus + parmesan

CHOCOLATE BUDINO Dark chocolate pudding + praline + salted caramel

 

American Grill

Unique dishes:

Butternut Squash & Coconut Curry BisqueCrab Claw, Vanilla Foam, Chervil Leaves

Creole Prawns Sauteed Jumbo Prawns, Creole Butter, Cilantro, Lime Emulsion & Grilled Focaccia Bread

Rosemary Orange Glazed Duck Roasted Garlic, Yam Puree, Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Shallot Confit, Asparagus, Bing Cherry Jus

 

Carthage Café

Unique dishes:

Chicken raisin Tagine (braised chicken,golden raisin,Spanish paprika,potato,red and green bell pepper  in a saffron broth)

Lamb Shank Couscous (braised lamb shank served in tomato broth and vegetables)

Tunisian Makrouth (Delicate semolina pastry, filled with dates,brushed with honey and rose water

 

Fishworks

Unique dishes:

Crab Cannelloni, Orange Saffron , Toasted  Pistachio.

Icy Water Charr, Smoked Tomato Couli,  Mashed Potato Cake,  Pickled Beet, Haricot Verts.

 

Pink Elephant Thai

Unique dishes:

Homemade Yala Style Meatballs topped with panang curry sauce

Phuket Style BBQ Prawns topped with peanut sauce

Coconut Delight coconut ice cream, coconut meat & lychee topped with a touch of Thai tea syrup

 

Catch 122

Unique dishes:

Winter Vegetable Chowder | winter squash velouté | roasted winter vegetables (V, GF)(add smoked fish $3)

Winter Mushrooms | farro and oat “risotto” | cauliflower purée | roasted cauliflower (V)(add roasted scallops $8, house-made chorizo $5)

Dark Chocolate Pot de Crème | pickled raspberries | chocolate cookie crunch | whipped cream

Carrot Cake | cream cheese icing | walnut toffee crumble | maple glazed carrots

 

Chicha

Unique dishes:

Plantains with trio of Peruvian sauces~fried plantains, huacatay Peruvian mint, rocoto and aji Amarillo chili aioli’s (veg, gf)

Aji Amarillo Seafood Chowder~local assorted daily catch seafood, aji Amarillo chili cream chowder

Chocolate y Café Enamorados~coffee and chocolate pot de crème, spiked rocoto chili whip cream, canela sugared plantains (gf)

 

Torafuku

Unique dishes:

Call of duty (CoD) crispy ling cod, clams, root veggies, sake kumbu broth,handmade gnocchi

Kare kareseared beef blade steak, 3 grain risotto, pickled veggies, oxtail, peanut ragu

J-E-L-L-OOolong infused yuzu jello, condense milk ice cream, crispy salted caramel

 

Zend Conscious Lounge

Unique dishes:

Cooked Big Bite: Lemony-Ginger Kale and Almond ‘Ricotta’ Squash Roulade with Braised Carrot

Raw Big Bite: Carrot and Ginger Wrapped ‘Dumplings’, Squash, Walnut and Cranberry Rice, Sage and Carrot Cream

Cooked Dessert choice: Pumpkin Mousse, Ginger-Almond Tuile, Cranberry-Ginger Reduction

 

$40 Category

 

Federico’s

Unique dishes:

Zuppa di Pastinaca, Cavolo Nero e Peraroasted parsnip, kale and pear soup, chili oil garnish (V) (GF)

Gnocchi di Zucca con Crema di Ricotta house made roasted Kabocha squash gnocchi, fresh ricotta cream sauce, fried sage (V)

Semifreddo al Panettone con Ricotta panettone in a grand marnier ricotta mousse, dark chocolate shavings

 

Minami Yaletown

Unique dishes:

King Crab and Citrus Salad ING –  ikura, baby greens, sea asparagus, orange crema de balsamic reduction, shiso blossom & ABURI SUSHI Hamachi Nigiriponzu oroshi, yamagobo, chrysanthemumHotate Temarishiso, yuzu tobiko quinoa saladSpicy Tuna Hosomakipickled radish, moromi miso, hearts of fireEbi Oshipressed prawn, ume Miku sauce, lime zestSalmon Oshi  pressed BC wild sockeye salmon, Miku sauce, jalapeño

Sakekasu Baked Sablefishwasabi pea-panko crust, tiger prawn tortelloni, braised kabu, umami dashi, wasabi myoga relish

Pumpkin Ricotta Ravioli kabocha fondant, sunchoke crisps, shaved truffles, organic baby greens, truffle dashi sauce (AVAILABLE ON VEGETARIAN MENU ONLY)

Jasmine Tea Crème Brûlée spiced apple compote, candied pecan puff pastry

 

Vancouver Fish Co

Unique dishes:

Smoked sablefish chowder Juan de Fuca sablefish, bacon, nettle, horseradish lemon cream, lobster oil (GF)

Lobster corn dog cornmeal-battered lobster “hot dog”, creamed kale, ballpark tarragon mustard

Peanut butter mousse chocolate pudding, caramelized banana, peanut crunch (GF) (V)

 

Ancora

Unique dishes:

LOBSTER BISQUE chive crème fraiche

CRAB CAUSA yukon gold, kalamata olive emulsion, quail egg,huancaina sauce, yam chips

 

Sai Woo

Unique dishes:

VEGETARIAN LAKSA Spiced Coconut Broth, Rice Noodle, Charred Eggplant Mousseline, Tofu, Sambal, Herbs

CHOCOLATE BAR Dark, Milk, and White Chocolate, Almond Crust, Almond Bread, Kumquat Jam

BAKLAVA Pistachio Mousse, Honey Rose Pearls, Phyllo Chip, Toasted Nuts

 

Juniper

Unique dishes:

Smoked ling cod rilette, grilled sourdough, late harvest pickles

Vegan peanut butter nanaimo bar

 

Some Restaurant booking tips – choose different times than you would normally dine out, by selecting earlier 5pm or later after 8:30pm times you will have a better chance in getting in to some of the popular restaurants than hitting refresh on the 6-7pm time slot. If you have kids and you need to get a baby sitter so that you can enjoy date night, change the night and look at Monday-Wednesday so that you get the restaurant that you want as opposed to settling for the restaurant you don’t want on a Friday or Saturday night. Often people double up on their reservations for those popular restaurants and popular time-slots, check back closer to the date and time that you want and also check the restaurants twitter for reservations that open up closer to or on the day you want to dine.

For a full list of restaurants and menus, look HERE. Take a look at Street Food City as well as our Dine Out Fest Brunch Crawls and Art, Eat and Sip events.

By: Richard Wolak