February 26, 2019
Category: DT Advantage Spring 2019
How to Make the Most of Downtown Dining Week
March brings even more excuses to eat out with the return of Downtown Dining Week. Done right, you can explore plenty of restaurants without breaking the bank.
Research the restaurants
Menus for participating restaurants are listed on the Downtown Dining Week website. Some restaurants create special dishes just for the event while others offer select dishes from their regular menu.
Try something new
As much as you love your neighbourhood standbys, the whole point of Downtown Dining Week is to try restaurants that you typically wouldn’t. The past 12 months have been a banner year for restaurant openings in the core which will probably make whittling down a shortlist a bit of a challenge.
This is a busy time for everyone, even on Mondays and Tuesdays, days that are typically slow for restaurants. Book your table as far in advance as possible to ensure you can get in. When making the reservation, let the restaurant know that you’ll be ordering from their Downtown Dining Week menu so they know how many people will be ordering special dishes.
Go out for lunch
Leave the brown paper bag at home and head out for lunch. You get the same quality dishes cooked by the same chefs and cooks who prepare dinner service. Plus, if you’re not a big eater, the portions are a bit smaller and $18 is a great value for two dishes. Your waistline and wallet will thank you later.
Explore a new cuisine
In a city famed for its variety of world cuisine that runs the gamut from Turkish to Ukrainian to Portuguese, it’s almost sinful not to go globetrotting. Turkish restaurant Sofra offers succulent grilled meats and seafood and vegetable-rich dishes that are flavourful and generous in portion size. It’s the best of Vietnam at XO Bistro & Lounge, serving classics such as Pho, skewered beef and port wrapped in betel leaf and papaya salad.
Go as a group
Communal dining is the perfect way to try multiple menu items. Ideally, everyone in the group should have similar tastes so that there’s no guilt ordering dishes that one person can’t eat. Do appoint a point-person who can order all your food at the same time so you don’t run your server off their feet.
Factor in alcohol costs
Most fixed-price menus do not include beverages, tax or tips. Budget a little extra for wine and cocktails. Of course, ordering a bottle of wine instead of by-the-glass is always a better deal.