Monday, April 26, 2010

Choosing restaurants for Dine Out Vancouver

Something that I've learned is that you can't assume you're getting a good deal with Dine Out. I'm not saying that Dine Out isn't worth it, you just have to know where to go and pick carefully in order to get the most value out of the event.

Here's how I choose:

1. Compare the prices between the Dine Out menu and the Regular menu
At times, DOV will be more expensive than if you ordered à la carte. Although, they toughened up on this by removing some of the culprit restaurants this year, especially in the $18 tier. More often, Dine Out sometimes only works out to be free dessert or free appetizer. Think about if it's really worth it to have to book in advance and deal with how busy the restaurants are, particularly if you don't normally order appetizers or desserts (like me).

2. Check if the restaurant has a prix fixe or early dining menu.
Some restaurants have deals that are on par or even better than Dine Out. One drawback is that these taster menus often have less selection than during DOV, but not always!

3. Check if the restaurant has entertainment coupons (or even coupons from the Georgia Straight).
Many restaurants often have 2-for-1 entree coupons in the entertainment book. So if you already have one, the coupons are often cheaper or equal to the discount from Dine Out, plus you get more selection. You can view the restaurants that have Entertainment coupons here (warning: huge list):

4. If you absolutely adore a menu that a restaurant has during Dine Out, #1-3 can be ignored. This particularly applies to restaurants that have items not normally found à la carte.

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