Vancouver has a thriving culinary scene. One need only go to Barbara Jos Books to Cooks, the foodie worlds cook book mecca and consult with matron de manger (Barbara Jo) to see the diverse chefs and restaurants creating phenomenal local meals. Bishops, Lumiere, Togos, the Hermitage, and the Four Seasons are just a couple of Vancouver's top culinary offers. But while these restaurants are tasty, they're also expensive.
So expensive that at first glance, it may seem the city's culinary community may be a bit exclusive. But if you delve a bit deeper there appears so many wonderful, and equally satisfying alterntives to dropping $200 on a fresh, local and gourmet meal for two.
For those of us who appreciate good food, but don't enjoy paying an arm and a leg for it, you should consider visiting one of Vancouver's culinary schools. Vancouver Community College downtown, the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, or the Northwest Culinary Academy each offer discount, and delicious food for a reasonable price. They offer sit down and cafeteria service. Last time I was there I feasted on salmon croquette, thin slice potato frites and tarragon glazed carrots. My friend purchased veal parmegon, cheese califlower, and buttered green beans. It came to a little less than $7 each. That's McDonalds value, but thankfully not McDonalds taste nor nutritional value.
For a more upscale dining experience you can sample all the food of rising four star chefs (as well as those destined for less glamourous appointments) at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. Full three course lunchs are a reasonable $24.00. That's a third of the price the meal might cost in some of Vancouver's more oppulent restaurants.
These are just a couple great spots to check out gourmet eating on a budget. If you have any other suggestions, ideas please comment on them below.