Are You In or Are You Out?

It’s that time of the year again when the city’s restaurants open their doors for the annual Dine-Out Vancouver. This year’s event runs from Jan 14 to Februrary 1, and it show cases the city’s amazing list of restaurants. From cheap eats to haute cuisine, for these next few weeks Vancouverites can endulge and experiment in culinary adventures. Fellow Foodist bloggers, Steph and Todd will be joining my husband at I at at least one of these fine establishments. We’ll post food sleuthing in the coming days with pictures.

But in the meantime, tell us about your Dine-Out experiences, past or present. Be they good or bad; and as always recommendations are always welcome.


10 Responses to “Are You In or Are You Out?”

  1. Posted on January 8th, 2009

    Oh, Dine-Out. I went along regularly in the first few years but nowadays I am more inclined to check the list and find out who is NOT doing Dine Out. Last year we had several occasions where we headed out for a nice meal last minute to find one of our favourite restaurants packed on a Tuesday night.

    On that note, here’s a short list of great restaurants not on the DIne-Out list, for crowd-avoidance purposes:

    Pied a Terre
    Le Faux Bourgeois

  2. Posted on January 8th, 2009

    I’m going to be going to Gastropod, DB Bistro Moderne, West and Le Gavroche, which is more than I usually go to. I usually end up going to one or 2 and I’ve had some good and bad experiences. Sometimes the service can suffer, although I find that the good restaurants usually have it down and it’s the mediocre ones that fall apart.

    Where are you guys headed?

  3. Posted on January 8th, 2009

    Joe & I are looking at the menus now. I still can’t believe Spaghetti Factory & Hon’s Wonton are on the list! We’re leaning towards our old faves So-Cial & Wild Rice or trying out Il Nido, DB Bistro Moderne or West. Not on the list, I still want to try La Buca, Vij’s & Boneta. If we bring Michael, Heron’s has a swanky Mac & Cheese.

  4. Posted on January 8th, 2009

    I got an entry at DB Bistro Moderne. I haven’t made it to Burgoo yet, so a good excuse to head over there.

  5. Posted on January 12th, 2009

    My $0.02:

    If you want to graze around town and an excuse to go out, Dine Out is a great initiative.

    If you actually want to try a new restaurant at its best, then Dine Out is a bad way to do it.

    Limited menus, fixed prices and crowded seating are not how I want to have a first experience at a restaurant I’ve been anticipating visiting.

  6. Posted on January 13th, 2009

    I plan to check out Elephant & Castle Restaurant at the Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel. Or not.

    Actually, I think it’s worth it to point out that not every restaurant participating in Dine Out is worth Dining At.


  7. Posted on January 14th, 2009

    I’m so out.

    I’ve tried various restaurants during Dine Out many times over many years, each experience worse than the last.

    My friends who work in the food and hospitality business have told me stories about how kitchen and wait staff really feel about Dine Out patrons and the corners cut in order to serve mediocre offerings as quickly and cheaply as possible.

    One year, we managed to get a table at Mistral, which is normally a decent French restaurant. They jammed us into a tiny table in a packed room. Served us re-heated food that was far from indicative of their normal standard. And literally suggested we hurry up so they could turn the table over to someone in the long line of bridge and tunnel crowd standing at the door staring at us, hoping they could try this mysterious thing called “cassoulet” (prepared days previously en masse).

    Restaurants participating like Blue Water, Cassis, Cin Cin, Cannery, Diva and the Met, Goldfish, Le Gavroche, Il Giardino, and West are normally decent dining spots, but don’t get your hopes up for a great meal or a exceptional service during Dine Out. They don’t even want you there.

    Yeah, sorry, but no—we WON’T be attending Dine Out this year. Good luck to all that dare!

  8. Posted on January 15th, 2009

    I’ve been to Dine Out in the past and have had mixed results. Lumiere was excellent, West was mediocre and the rest fell somewhere in between.

    We tend to go with a group of friends who wouldn’t normally visit these types of places, and that makes it quite a bit of fun, so I would go again.

  9. Posted on January 19th, 2009

    It’s a real tough call for restaurants to make I think. On the one hand Dine Out provides diners to restaurants during the typically slow period for the industry.

    Less well-known restaurants have the chance to get new diners in and wow them, and the more well known run the very likely risk that they will be inundated with atypical customers and not likely ones that will return. I imagine that a restaurant such as West has to put on their brave face and uphold a high standard knowing that for many of their Dine Out clientele this is the only way they are affording a meal there. So how to treat them then? Dine Out is hit and miss for sure and it’s been years since I’ve been.

    Note that Chambar has ads running playing heavily on the fact they are NOT participating.

  10. Posted on February 9th, 2009

    In Toronto this event happens twice a year and is called Winterlicious and Summerlicious. Here’s an interesting insider’s take on the two events.

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