15 budget-friendly bites during Dine Out Vancouver

Inflation? Dine Out Vancouver is more like deflation.

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Inflation? Dine Out Vancouver is more like deflation.

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Participating restaurants offer some awesome deals during the event, which goes until Feb. 5. The three-course menus don’t lie. Look at the CinCin Ristorante’s $55 three-course Dine Out menu. You’d pay a good $15 to $20 more on the regular menu.

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Hawksworth restaurant offers a budgeter’s dream for their high-end cuisine with a $29 three-course lunch. A main lunch dish alone could cost more on the regular menu.

Minami’s Dine Out lunch costs more at $45 but that’s for seven courses, including seven-piece sushi and three-piece sashimi courses.

At Bacchus, I wouldn’t say the $65 Dine Out menu is hugely discounted from the regular but that’s because the regular menu is already very reasonable.

And the big perk here? Iron Chef Rob Feenie’s in the house, and yes, the Dine Out menu is his, and yes, the choices include his famous way with ravioli.

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At Nox Italian restaurant, the $48 dinner includes braised oxtail with smoked tomato polenta and the ham hock and parsley terrine that I’ve tried — two thumbs up on that!

And some places do it their own way — like Torafuku. Their $62 pan-Asian menu offers five courses instead of the usual three for Dine Out — six, really, since there are two desserts.

Or, if you like the familiar and safe, opt for a Cactus Club or Earls where you’ll find some of your favorites for a few dollars less than usual.

And if I could eat my way through Dine Out without the waist inflation, these are some places I’d check out. There are three categories of prices: $20 to $34; $35 to $50; and $54 to $65, with over 360 restaurants on board. You’ll find them all at dineoutvancouver.com.

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Acorn

3995 Main St., Vancouver

theacornrestaurant.ca

I haven’t been here for ages but love a great vegetarian meal, which is what I’d totally expect here. They’ve tossed the three-course concept and offer eight dishes. Or, if you prefer, a six-course brunch is available. Brunch, $42. Dinner, $65.

afghan cuisine

16120-24th Ave., Surrey

aksurrey.com

The beloved restaurant is the hospitable, delightfully delicious side of Afghanistan. The menu includes items like fried chicken bites with Afghan chutneys, minced beef kebab with pickled onions, mint chutney and cumin rice. Dinner, $44.

Bacchus Restaurant

845 Hornby St., Vancouver

wedgewoodhotel.com/dining

If you skipped past the introduction, star Chef Rob Feenie’s in the house and the ricotta mascarpone ravioli with black truffle beurre blanc, Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano isn’t to be missed. Dinner, $65.

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Boulevard

845 Burrard St., Vancouver

boulevardvancouver.ca

Slow cooked Brant Lake wagyu beef, did you say? With polenta, chicory salad, charred cabbage, pickled radish, braisage? I’m there. And hey, I learned that braisage is French for braised. Dinner, $65.

Burdock

2702 Main St., Vancouver

burdockandco.com

I love the serendipity and outside-the-box thinking here. All normal to Chef Andrea Carlson, though. Oh, yes, please! to the roasted pork collar with wild rose honey vinegar glaze, celeriac remoulade, charred cabbage and hazelnut cake with meringue and caramelized parsnip purée. Dinner, $65.

Cask Vault

8400 West Rd., Richmond

clubversante.com/cask

It’s a whiskey bar in an affair with assertive Japanese food — I’m just imagining, slightly drooling, at the thought of whiskey paired with the robata skewers (wagyu, kurobata pork chasu, chicken), tempura and the two appies and dessert. Dinner, $59.

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CinCin Ristorante

1154 Robson St., Vancouver

cincin.net

Red wine braised beef shoulder, soft polenta, grilled rapini — perfect January food. And I’ll totally hear the zeppole with chocolate coffee sauce. Dinner, $55.

Collective Goods Bistro and Grocer

3532 Commercial St. Vancouver

collectivegoods.ca

I love the unapologetic allegiance to French bistro cuisine. For Dine Out, they color outside the lines offering six courses. Can there be room for profit with foie gras, steak and sablefish on the tasting menu? Dinner, $65.

Hawksworth

801 West Georgia St., Vancouver

hawksworthrestaurant.com

Insane deal! A three-course set lunch at this haute restaurant includes a braised beef cheek as the main dish. Lunch, $29.

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Mackenzie Room

415 Powell St., Vancouver

themackenzieroom.com

The food comes out of left field and on point. For Dine Out, chef offers a five-course tasting menu with cheeky names: Chicken of the Sean, Life’s a Biche, Sir Salmon Rushdie, Pork Crepinette, Quince of Darkness. Dinner, $65.

Notch 8

900 West Georgia St., Vancouver

notch8-dining.com

How long has it been since you dined at the iconic Hotel Vancouver? Here’s a reason to — the three-course menu option on the regular menu is $79. During Dine Out, it’s $50.

NOx

1575 West Georgia St., Vancouver

noxrestaurant.ca

As mentioned above, ham hock terrine! Braised oxtail with smoked tomato polenta! Add tiramisu with hazelnut meringue chip and you’re purring. Dinner, $48.

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Potluck Hawker Eatery

3424 Cambie St., Vancouver

potluckyvr.ca

Oh, just yum, yum, yum! I’ll have the prawn toast, Mama Cheung’s laksa and coconut panna cotta with black currant and pandan noodles, please and thank you! Dinner, $38.

Torafuku

958 Main St., Vancouver

torafuku.ca

It’s not just bang for the buck, I love the banging flavour. They offer five dishes, and it’s six if you can finish the second dessert. Main course choices include a whole fried sea bream with garlic prawns and Thai chili tamarind sauce. Anxious! Dinner, $62.

Zarak

2102 Main St., Vancouver

zarakvancouver.com

The owners warmly embrace guests here and at their South Surrey Afghan Kitchen, listed above. The modern Afghan/Middle Eastern food and cocktails are next-level. I order you to have the incomparable shir yakh rosewater gelato with pistachios, topped with frozen clotted cream, $55.

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