The Ultimate Guide To Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2023

Just when you thought the holiday season was over, there’s another reason to celebrate: Dine Out Vancouver is approaching! The popular food festival is in its 21st year running and seems to get bigger and better every year.

Here is everything you need to know to have a memorable and delectable experience at Canada’s largest food and drink festival.

What is Dine Out Vancouver?

Dine Out Vancouver is a chance for Vancouverites and visitors to taste the best dishes the city has to offer. It’s a collection of food events, dining experiences and delicious menus that showcase the city’s vibrant multicultural heritage. This year it runs from January 20, 2023 to February 5, 2023. 

The celebration started in 2002. Recognizing that this time of year is typically slow for the restaurant industry, a group of foodies collaborated with Destination Vancouver to offer fixed-price menus. The goal was to attract customers into restaurants that are often neglected in the post-holiday period. During the first year, 57 Vancouver restaurants participated. 

Now, nearly two decades later, hundreds of restaurants participate each year, and there are more than 30 events – ranging from tastings to tours – to choose from. Menus go from $20 to $65 per person.

The list of participating restaurants and menus will be released January 11th, 2023.

You can find the full list of menus here.

For travelers coming in from out of town, check out Destination Vancouver’s special hotel deals for staying, exploring and dining in the city. 

How To Prepare For Dine Out Vancouver 2023

While you can participate in the festival on your own, it’s more fun with friends. The festival runs for 17 days, so assemble your food buddy(ies) and get your calendars ready. Even before the restaurant list is officially announced on January 11th, you can identify dates that you’re all free to indulge in some of Vancouver’s best food and drink.

Sign up for Dine Out Vancouver’s Newsletter to keep up to date with all developments. If you prefer social media to email, check out the event’s Instagram, Twitter or Facebook pages, #DOVF.

Have a Collective Goal

Once you know who you’ll be dining with, come up with a collective goal for your experiences this year. If you always stick to the same restaurants, maybe you can use this festival as an excuse to try a new spot. If you always eat sushi, maybe aim to enjoy Singaporean food for a change. If you usually frequent restaurants, try a food tour.

If you’ve never eaten at a fancy restaurant, now’s the time! 

There are endless goals to set but having a few in mind can help you sort through all of the festival’s wonderful offerings.

Have a Criteria in Mind

One way to think about your experiences at Dine Out Vancouver is by considering what is most important for you in a food or drink experience. Rank these criteria based on their importance to you:

  • Taste
  • Aesthetics
  • Service
  • Price
  • Chef
  • Type of Cuisine
  • Social Event
  • Intimate Dining
  • Group Outing

Getting a sense of what criteria are most important to you and your food buddies can also help you sort through the plentiful offerings (there are hundreds!).

If you or someone in your group has specific dietary restrictions, be sure to contact the restaurants or event organizers directly to confirm that they have suitable options. 

The faster you figure out your collective goals and criteria, the easier it is to sort through all the restaurants and menus. The longer you take, the higher the chance you’ll miss out as many of the popular restaurants get booked up FAST.

Dine Out Festival Events

Aside from restaurants offering curated multi-course menus during the festival, you’ll also find various special events happening as well. Tickets for festival events are already on sale. A few events are already sold out, so we recommend getting your tickets as soon as possible.

These events allow you to learn more about a certain dish or type of cuisine, sample food from international chefs who are visiting Vancouver and meet other fans of quality dining experiences. 

World Chef Exchange – Ernest & Annalena

Treat yourself to an evening of fine dining with Executive Chef & Co-Owner Mike Robbins of Michelin Starred Annalena and Brandon Rice, the Founder and Owner of Michelin Recommended Ernest Restaurant in San Francisco, as part of this year’s Vancouver World Chef Exchange. Get ready for a night to remember!

Date: January 24, 2023
Location: 1809 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6J 5B8
Cost: $225 plus tax and gratuity
Tickets: Here

Dim Sum Chinatown Tour

Take a stroll around Vancouver’s historic Chinatown neighbourhood and get a taste of Dim Sum, a popular Cantonese family tradition, Chinese BBQ, and experience a Tea Ceremony on this guided tour.

Date: January 20, 2023; January 21, 2023; January 27, 2023; January 28, 2023; February 3, 2023; February 4, 2023
Time: 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: Meet out front of the Chinese Cultural Center – 1:45 pm
Cost: $95
Ticket: Here

Gelato 101 Workshop

Photo credit: Dine Out Vancouver

Get a crash course into the world of gelato-making in Uno Gelato’s gelato and sorbetto making class – a fun and enjoyable indoor activity! Get the rundown of how gelato is made and whip up your very own batch. Then leave the class with a pint of gelato/sorbetto you made!

Date: January 4, 2023 – March 23, 2023
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Uno Gelato, 2579 West Broadway Street Vancouver BC
Cost: $79.99 (plus taxes) per person
Ticket: Here

Art, Eat & Sip on Granville Island

Explore Granville Island and all its unique offerings with this self-guided event! With your digital passport, visit local artists, sample craft beer and spirits from local producers, and savor dishes from some of Granville Island’s delicious restaurants.

Date: January 25, 2023
Time: 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Location: Granville Island Public Market, 1689 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9
Cost: Early-bird Tickets: $79 per person; Regular Tickets: $89 per person
Ticket: Here

Street Food City 11

The popular food truck festival is back for its 11th year outside Vancouver Art Gallery! With 17 food trucks for you to enjoy, you’ll for sure find one that you’ll fall in love with!

Confirmed food trucks in attendance:

  • Cazba
  • Chickpea
  • Disco Cheetah
  • El Cartel
  • Green Coast Coffee
  • Indish 
  • Mama’s Fish & Chips 
  • Melt City 
  • Mom’s Grilled Cheese 
  • Mr. Arancino 
  • Reel Mac & Cheese 
  • Shameless Buns 
  • Slavic Rolls
  • Super Thai 
  • Taste Malaysia 
  • Tornado Potato 
  • Via Tevere Pizzeria

Date: January 21, 2023 – January 29, 2023
Time: Weekdays 11:00AM to 2:00PM | Weekends 11:00AM to various
Location: šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square, West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7

On the Day of the Dine Out Restaurant List Launch

January 11, 2023. Put that date in your calendar. Send an appointment to your food buddies. 

Restaurants get booked quickly, especially for prime weekend and evening spots, so you need to have a strategy for the day of the restaurant list launch. Here’s what we recommend:

1.) Create a list of dates when everyone in your group is free to dine together.

2.) As soon as the restaurant list is published, have everyone create a shortlist of four to eight restaurants.

3.) Consolidate everyone’s lists and narrow the list down to five restaurants for the group.

4.) Make a reservation as soon as possible on one of the dates you determined in step one.

5.) If your first restaurant is booked, keep working your way down the list.

If you strike out on all your preferred restaurants, here are a few tips to save your Dine Out Vancouver experience:

1.) Consider a different mealtime.

2.) Try to book on a different day of the week.

3.) Expand your list to try similar cuisines at different restaurants.

And if all else fails, you can at least check out Street Food City or one of the ongoing festival events. A collection of our city’s best food carts will gather outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. This family-friendly event is free to enter, but the prices for the food at the trucks vary.

Remember to bundle up so you can fully enjoy this mid-winter picnic.

Caveats to Dine Out

Dine Out is a wonderful time to meet up with friends, try new restaurants or revisit your favourite spots. But it’s good to keep in mind that your experience during this festival is not a complete indication of the restaurant’s service and taste.

The large influx of patrons is wonderful for the business side of things, but as you can imagine, it can get quite busy! Also, when chefs are cooking on a set menu, you won’t get to try all the amazing dishes they are capable of delivering. 

Think of it as a chance to experiment a bit and find places that you want to return to throughout the year. And as always, appreciate the experience of sharing good food and drink with friends and family. 

See You at Dine Out Vancouver! 

With these thoughts in mind, gather your fellow food and drink aficionados and start booking and strategizing now. January 17th is almost here!