The Dine Out Vancouver promotion that begins in two weeks is a good way to survey the best of our neighbor to the north, and get a mini-vacation in the bargain.

The restaurant promotion offers three-course, prix fixe menus at $18, $28 and $38 price levels (exclusive of taxes, alcohol and gratuity) at 215 restaurants across Metro Vancouver.

Now in its ninth year, the deal has blossomed to include paired BC wines (extra), hotel offers, and over a dozen food-themed events and activities including culinary tours, cooking lessons, dinner-theatre evenings and special dining events. Dine Out Vancouver 2011 is the largest dining event of its kind in Canada and runs from Monday, January 24 to Sunday, February 6.

The participating restaurants are all over the map, from the Old Spaghetti Factory and The Keg Steakhouse—in 14 locations!—to places you actually want to cross a border for, like Diva at the Met, where desserts rock, or Le Gavroche, one of the original charming French house-restaurants statesiders have always loved going to Vancouver for.

What about Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne? Or Vancouver’s heralded West, where Cascadian cuisine is being invented nightly? They’re on the program.

Me, if I go I’m heading straight for Salt Tasting Room, Gastown’s minimalist ode to charcuterie and good mustards, or Chambar, where Belgian moules-frites are complemented with intelligent cocktails and gorgeous patrons.

See you there.

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