By Mark Shelling
The new year has arrived, and while it’s sad to look into the rearview mirror, say goodbye to the year that was and reminisce about all the fantastic food we had, it’s important to face forward… towards NEW food.
Thankfully we have DineOut Vancouver on the horizon this month to help maintain a high standard of foodie memories.
Now in its 20th year, DineOut has been present through more food trends than you can shake a cakepop at. From gourmet sliders, to acai bowls, and who could forget those hors d’oeuvres with the little plastic squeeze bottle thing, where you have to fire a garnish into your mouth… Actually, that’s one memory we’re glad we’ve moved on from.
Throughout all these stepping stones though, one thing has remained constant across 20 years: DineOut is the pinnacle opportunity for date nights.
Why? Because for two solid weeks a year, every day is a special occasion. What better reason to celebrate than with customizable menus, special wine pairings, and multi-course meals of exclusive dishes.
Wherever you’re at in your relationship, you’re sure to find a nearby restaurant with the perfect accompaniment to your moment.
If you are in the part of the relationship where a hotel night isn’t presumptuous, the festival also has a number of hotels that are offering up to a $150 gift card when you book. You can use that towards even more date nights.
Here are just a few suggestions to lead the way:
Stylish, yet unpretentious each Kokoro location feels like an unassuming noodle shop, but with a splash of modernist personality. Mazesoba, literally means mixed noodle – soupless ramen, and while you may think you could never go without broth, one order of their savoury bowls will have you rethinking where you stand on the issue. Follow it up with a couple of the lightest, fluffiest soft serve for you and your date, and you’re certain to be setting the stage for romance… Or at least synchronized belly patting, while bellowing a satisfied, “oh mercy!”.
There’s good reason why this Yaletown eatery has hosted countless weddings, showers and engagement parties. Located in a 1912 heritage brick building, the ambience here is second to none. Enjoy delectable modern Canadian cuisine by candlelight with your date in their unique glass-covered courtyard. Whether you’re splitting a malted chocolate panna cotta, or having a couple of craft cocktails at the bar, a stop here will set a high standard for an evening of fine food.
Want to impress with your knowledge of the best new spots on Vancouver’s North Shore? Simply mysteriously say ” I know a place”, and then head out to Catina Norte. With the pedigree of this business being part of the family that brought the North Shore, Cafe Norte (what was one of Vancouver’s highest-rated Mexican restaurants back in the day), this new iteration is already living up to those lofty expectations. Having opened in early 2021, Cantina Norte has quickly established itself as the best place in North Van to spice things up. Take that how you will!
Another new name from the past year, Bruno is one of Richmond’s best restaurants to open in 2021. Located in the rapidly transforming area being called the Airport District, Bruno is the perfect spot to get a sensational meal post-romantic getaway, or to just to daydream about when you can take to the sky next. Focusing on the wealth of seafood options on the West Coast, Bruno’s fresh sheet is a marvel to behold. Local oysters, caviar, mussels, clams, scallops, and Dungeness crab, there’s no shortage of decadent options to pair with your big evening out.
One of our fave spots in Burnaby for take-out, Paella Guys really should market themselves as wingmen as well. There’s something inherently intimate about this famous Spanish dish, made even more so by their dedication to it. When a business strictly champions one thing, you know it better be good, and with one spoonful of this fresh seafood and authentic spices, you’ll know why they stand confidently behind every batch. Order freshly made, or pre-cooked so you can reheat later, an order from these guys will make for an easy and relaxing night in with a couple glasses of vino, and something with subtitles.
If Italians have taught us anything, it’s how to be passionate. And as one of Langley’s foremost Italian eateries, The Italian Osteria serves up a passionate joy of food with every order. Part cheese bar, part authentic Meditteranean bistro, this Walnut Grove spot exudes personality- a fantastic choice if you tend to be a touch soft-spoken on dates. Order a plate of Wagyu carpaccio or whipped ricotta raviolo, and you’ll be enunciating every syllable with a physical gesture from that point forward.
Get all the details, and a full list of participating restaurants: