Nothing quite says "throw off the winter blues" than Dine Out Vancouver, which starts Friday, Jan. 17. It's a win-win: restaurants remain busy throughout a traditionally slow period, and diners can eat out knowing they won't bust their post-holiday budget.

Hundreds of restaurants have signed up with the Tourism Vancouver program to offer three-course menus at $18, $28 or $38.

Check out a selection of dishes in gallery. Story continues below slideshow.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Bambudda <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Bambudda/37194/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Albacore tuna, apple, eggplant, smoky broth

  • Bambudda <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Bambudda/37194/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Carrots, soy milk, spiced brown butter

  • Bambudda <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Bambudda/37194/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Crispy pork belly

  • Bambudda <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Bambudda/37194/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> La mein, mushrooms, pea tips, egg

  • Bambudda <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Bambudda/37194/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Law bak go: radish cakes, beef brisket, daikon

  • Bambudda <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Bambudda/37194/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Squid salad

  • Atithi Indian Cuisine <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Atithi-Indian-Cuisine/22968/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 menu</a>

  • Atithi Indian Cuisine <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Atithi-Indian-Cuisine/22968/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 menu</a>

  • Beyond Restaurant & Lounge <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Beyond-Restaurant-and-Lounge-Century-Plaza-Hotel-Spa/17501/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Handmade potato gnocchi, butternut squash, toasted walnuts, 10 yr balsamic reduction

  • Beyond Restaurant & Lounge <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Beyond-Restaurant-and-Lounge-Century-Plaza-Hotel-Spa/17501/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Heirloom beets, housemade ricotta, pine nut hummus, watercress

  • Beyond Restaurant & Lounge <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Beyond-Restaurant-and-Lounge-Century-Plaza-Hotel-Spa/17501/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Pan seared sea bream, Tuscan cannellini beans, broccoli rabe, preserved lemon

  • Beyond Restaurant & Lounge <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Beyond-Restaurant-and-Lounge-Century-Plaza-Hotel-Spa/17501/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Rabbit terrine, pistachio, cocoa orange gastrique, pickled crudite

  • Cactus Club <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Cactus-Club-Cafe-Yaletown/32974/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> soy-dijon salmon, whole grain barley, snap peas, shiitake mushrooms, soy butter sauce, grape tomatoes, cilantro.

  • Cafe Il Nido <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Cafe-Il-Nido/19591/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> Pasta Bolognese

  • Cafe Il Nido <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Cafe-Il-Nido/19591/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> Gamberoni

  • Carver's Steakhouse<a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Carver-s-Steakhouse/22952/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank"> $38 Menu</a> Curry Braised Beef Chuck Flat, Jeera hash, sesame gai lan

  • Carver's Steakhouse<a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Carver-s-Steakhouse/22952/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank"> $38 Menu</a> Sweet & Spicy Beef Bites, ginger, garlic, scallions, sesame seeds

  • Ceili's Modern Irish Pub Granville <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Ceili-s-Modern-Irish-Pub-Granville/19208/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Alexander Keith’s Fish and Chips 1 piece of Ceili’s homemade Alexander Keith’s battered Pacific cod, shoestring fries, signature tartar sauce, dill pickle and coleslaw

  • Ceili's Modern Irish Pub Granville <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Ceili-s-Modern-Irish-Pub-Granville/19208/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Donut Sundae Warm house made donut, vanilla ice cream, Jameson whiskey caramel sauce, chocolate sauce

  • Chop Steak House And Bar <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Chop-Steakhouse-Bar/21096/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Mini Caribbean Rum Cake drenched in Appleton rum, served with vanilla bean gelato, cinnamon anglaise, walnuts and toasted coconut

  • Chop Steak House And Bar <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Chop-Steakhouse-Bar/21096/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Roasted Mushroom Ravioli in a creamy white wine, sage and butter sauce, finished with Asiago cheese

  • Cin Cin <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/CinCin-Ristorante-Bar/16848/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> Tiramisu with ladies fingers soaked in espresso and kahlua, mascarpone mousse

  • Copper Chimney - Hotel Le Soleil <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Copper-Chimney-Hotel-Le-Soleil/18942/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Tiger Prawn Curry steamed basmati rice, Indian seasonal veg, naan bread

  • Copper Club <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Copper-Club/23226/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Blackened tuna steak scallions, pork belly, Yukon gold potatoes, corn mango salsa, pomegranate molasses

  • Copper Club <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Copper-Club/23226/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Tuna tataki Seared rare Albacore tuna, cherry tomatoes, jalapenos, lemon & lime juice, sesame oil, daikon &carrot strings

  • Dunn's Famous <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Dunn-s-Famous-Restaurant-BC/21807/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Matzoh Ball Soup - Our house-made dill infused chicken broth with a hand-rolled matzoh ball.

  • Dunn's Famous <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Dunn-s-Famous-Restaurant-BC/21807/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Dunn's Appy Sampler Plate - A traditional potato latke fried up golden brown and two of our famous fried pickles served with a red pepper mayo.

  • Dunn's Famous <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Dunn-s-Famous-Restaurant-BC/21807/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Dunn's Miniature Reuben Sandwich - Montreal smoked meat stacked on dark rye with sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing. Served with coleslaw, dill pickle, and choice of fries or feature soup.

  • Dunn's Famous <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Dunn-s-Famous-Restaurant-BC/21807/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Apple Crumble - Apples topped with brown sugar butter crumble.

  • Dunn's Famous <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Dunn-s-Famous-Restaurant-BC/21807/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Chocolate Sundae - A large scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge sauce, topped whipped cream, cookie crumble & a maraschino cherry.

  • Forage <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Forage/17493/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Forage Award Winning Seafood Chowder Smoked Chicharon, Soft Quail's Egg

  • Forage <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Forage/17493/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu</a> Roasted Gelderman Farm Pork Belly with Crackling, Alpine juniper braised cabbage, Celeriac Potato Puree, Okanagan Apple Chutney

  • Hapa Izakaya West End <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Hapa-Izakaya-West-End/21053/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu </a> Pork Belly Lettuce Wrap

  • Hapa Izakaya West End <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Hapa-Izakaya-West-End/21053/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$28 Menu </a>

  • Hurricane Grill <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Hurricane-Grill-Yaletown/22871/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Pan-seared Cajun salmon with salsa verde, served with organic quinoa pilaf and grilled pineapple.

  • Hurricane Grill <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Hurricane-Grill-Yaletown/22871/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Panko-breaded chicken breast, topped with roasted-pepper marinara and smothered in mozzarella and parmigiano. Served with fettucini aglio, oilo e pepperoncini

  • Hurricane Grill <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Hurricane-Grill-Yaletown/22871/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Fennel and beets, in a warm orange dressing, with goat cheese

  • Hurricane Grill <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Hurricane-Grill-Yaletown/22871/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$18 Menu</a> Sakura pork tenderloin cooked to a medium, with wild mushroom and peppercorn sauce.

  • Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Joe-Fortes-Seafood-and-Chop-House/16801/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> Shrimp Ceviche - house made corn chips, jalapeno vinaigrette, pico de gallo

  • Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Joe-Fortes-Seafood-and-Chop-House/16801/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> New York Steak, garlic mashed potatoes, market vegetables

  • The Keg (Various Locations) <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/The-Keg-Steakhouse-Bar-Yaletown/20839/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> KEG CAESAR Crisp romaine and aged Parmesan cheese in our creamy dressing.

  • The Keg (Various Locations) <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/The-Keg-Steakhouse-Bar-Yaletown/20839/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> FILET MIGNON Tenderloin wrapped in applewood smoked bacon.

  • The Keg (Various Locations) <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/The-Keg-Steakhouse-Bar-Yaletown/20839/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> KEG CHEESECAKE Thick and creamy, with a fruit topping

  • Kobe Steakhouse <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Kobe-Japanese-Steak-House/16806/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a>

  • Kobe Steakhouse <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Kobe-Japanese-Steak-House/16806/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a>

  • Kobe Steakhouse <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Kobe-Japanese-Steak-House/16806/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a>

  • Kobe Steakhouse <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Kobe-Japanese-Steak-House/16806/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a>

  • La Pentola Della Quercia <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/La-Pentola-della-Quercia-Opus-Hotel/19233/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> House cured wild pacific salmon, creme fraiche

  • La Pentola Della Quercia <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/La-Pentola-della-Quercia-Opus-Hotel/19233/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> Carne salada 'carpaccio', arugula and pine nuts

  • La Pentola Della Quercia <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/La-Pentola-della-Quercia-Opus-Hotel/19233/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> Braised beef short ribs

  • La Pentola Della Quercia <a href="http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/La-Pentola-della-Quercia-Opus-Hotel/19233/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu" target="_blank">$38 Menu</a> Chocolate mousse, aerated chocolate


But how do you narrow down the choice? Do you pick somewhere new to you? Or take advantage of a bargain at one of your favourite spots? Do you stay local? Or is a good deal enough temptation for you to cross town?

Restaurant critic Lee Man thinks Dine Out is the time to try something new on your tastebuds. "Go get a sense of a restaurant that you have not been to before," he recommends, although he cautions against obsessing about getting a bargain. "Don't focus on the price, but the experience. Now is not the time to try to wring out every last bit of value from your set menu."

One thing to bear in mind is that restaurants will expect to flip tables at least once an evening during the festival, and your reservation may have a time limit. If you show up late, you're straining the system, and chances are the experience will slide downhill from there.

"Be patient and generous, especially to the staff working at the restaurant," Man says. "They are working doubly hard to get you served in a quick and friendly manner. Reward their hard work with a good tip, and respect time limits as others are lining up for their turn also."

Lee Man's Top Three Picks For Dine Out Vancouver 2014

  • L'Abbatoir

    This is one of the most consistently stellar and interesting restaurants in Vancouver. Chef Lee Cooper really delivers on delicious innovation while general manager Paul Grunberg has the front of house firing on all pistons. Treat yourself to one of their awesome cocktails during DOV.

  • Pidgin
    Chef Makato Ono really knows how to play with restrained Asian flavors using lush French technique. The resulting food is beautiful, smart, and tasty.
  • West Restaurant + Bar
    Quang Dang is an absolute genius when it comes to small composed plates, with really vigorous and alive flavors. This is a chance to dine in one Vancouver's premier rooms and get a taste of Quang's cooking.

And, as if the swath of restaurants taking part in Dine Out proper weren't enough, Vancouverites can take their experience one step further by taking advantage of one of the many special events this year.

At one of the city's most exclusive rooms, Hawksworth, diners are being offered the chance to try some of Chef David Hawksworth's signature dishes at a fraction of the a la carte prices.

Kristian Eligh, the restuarant's chef de cuisine, says the idea for "Side Dishes" — which seats diners at "harvest tables" in one of the private dining rooms within the Hotel Georgia — is a way to offer a taste of what the restaurant is about to those who might find the regular menu prohibitively expensive, or who prefer a slightly more casual atmosphere.

"There are the actual dishes, albeit with less formal service," he notes. "We are not making any money on this."

If straight up dining sounds a bit dull, there are a number of opportunities to take in dinner and a show, including live jazz at the soon to close and much-loved Cellar Jazz Club, with the Weeds/Minemoto Quartet or an evening of high wire action and burlesque with Night Circus's Atlantis.

Whatever tickles your fancy, don't delay in booking as dates are selling out fast. Dine Out Vancouver ends on Feb. 2.

Like this article? Follow our Facebook page

Or follow us on Twitter




Also on HuffPost: