A few weeks ago I had my first Dine Out Vancouver experience, and it was awesome. I don’t know why I haven’t been taking part in Dine Out Vancouver for years! Essentially, restaurants throughout Vancouver take part, and offer either an $18, $28, or $38 3-course menu. It gives people a chance to try a bit of everything at restaurants they may not normally go to.
Myself and two friends, Alexis & Janet, decided on Graze Vegetarian Restaurant. They offered a $28 3-course menu. Keep in mind, when Dine Out Vancouver is happening (usually late January until February), you MUST make a reservation with plenty of time in advance. Restaurants get packed!!
We arrived at 8pm, and all of us loved the decor and atmosphere of the restaurant. I believe that “I want to live here” was uttered a few times. They had cool lighting, wood beams, a mural wall, a vintage silver panelled wall, and a nice variety of booth and table seating. The place was busy but we were seated after waiting just a few minutes past our reservation time.
Even though we had all looked at the menu online, we still could not decide what to get- there were so many great sounding options! We ended up picking the Cheeseboard for an extra $15 to start. We were not disappointed! We joked about ordering another one for dessert and one more to take home. It was the “Chef’s selection of our finest nut-based, aged, cultured cheeses of the moment, served with herbed focaccia bread”. We chose to get the gluten free option they offered, with gluten free bread instead of focaccia.
*There are tons of gluten free options here.*
The cheeses were amazing- so “real” tasting. From a smoked almond cheese, to a pesto cheese reminiscent of goat cheese, to their dill “Boursin”, and even a blue cheese. There was also a fig pate sort of thing served on Apple slices with a salted caramel sauce. I can’t pick a favourite from the platter. The blue cheese was mind-blowing because of its likeness to real blue cheese, although not my top pick on the plate. I loved the almond cheese, and the Boursin, because it was just so much like the real thing, despite being coconut based, I believe.
Next, we had our starters. Janet had the kale Caesar salad which was “mixed kales in a creamy garlic-avocado dressing, with herbed croutons and crispy artichoke”. Of course we all shared everything and loved the garlicky dressing on this, and the unusual addition of artichokes. The croutons were served warm, and happened to be gluten-free, too!
Alexis had the flatbread, “freshly baked focaccia, featuring house-made walnut pesto, fall and winter vegetables, greens, and Graze’s nut-based Gouda cheese”. This was ridiculous, I mean lets get serious-; warm, nut-based Gouda, are you kidding me!? Amazing stuff here.
I had the winter beet salad, “balsamic caramelized red beets, confit white & yellow beets, tarragon purée, savoury granola”. The beets were the perfect texture, nice and sour with just enough sweetness to balance. The savoury granola was so good, in fact, I think it was on the cheeseboard as a garnish, and we ate it all! Tarragon purée was an awesome accompaniment to this dish. I loved it all.
For our main courses, Janet had the perogies. Yes, VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE perogies!!!! I think we were all a bit jealous of these “yam and eggplant perogies, sautéed oyster mushrooms, crispy shallot, pickled beet shred, marinated eggplant, smoky coconut cheddar sauce, spicy tomato jam”. The smokiness was so delicious, and really made these feel like actual perogies with smoky bacon and cheddar. There was a “sour cream” on the side that coconut-based, and so incredibly sour- in a good way. We all know sour cream and perogies = magic.
Alexis had the wild mushroom purse, “flaky phyllo purse filled with herbed wild mushrooms, in a creamy white bean sauce, braised leeks and fennel with lemon and capers, kombucha mustard”. I thought this tasted like Thanksgiving Dinner for a vegan. It was warm, filling, comforting, with a nice fall/winter feeling to it. I didn’t try the kombucha mustard but when Alexis did it went a little like this: “oh, it sweet! Oh, it’s spicy! It’s spicy!!”
I had the crepes, “sage and chickpea crepes, with roasted seasonal vegetables and sautéed mushrooms, atop dandelion and porcini-seasoned beluga lentils with saffron and fennel parsnip cream.” These were gluten-free, delicious, and filling! I didn’t think I could finish them, after all we had eaten! I enjoyed the crepes and the parsnip cream, as well as the crispy parsnip “chips” on top. I couldn’t taste the dandelion-porcini part of the beluga lentils. Mostly, just the lentils themselves.
By the time dessert rolled around, we were all stuffed! We had to get our desserts to go! Janet ordered a chocolate-raspberry cheesecake, which she found a bit too nutty. Alexis had the seasonal Apple pie, and I had the warm gingerbread cake. This cake was insane. From the spiced cake itself, to the vegan whipped cream, the candied orange strips, the candied ginger, and the salted caramel sauce. It was a dreaaaaaaam!! Get.this.dessert.at.Graze.
3980 Fraser St
Vancouver BC V5V 4E4