Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – The Observatory

Dine Out Vancouver is back and we’re on a mission to try as many restaurants as possible. The event, now in its sixth year, lets you savor Vancouver’s delectable food and wine scene. Enjoy a three-course dinner at over 180 of Vancouver’s hottest restaurants for $15, $25 or $35 per person, complemented by some fabulous BC VQA wine paring. Since our tastes run into the finner things in life, our dine outs will all be in the upper end of the price spectrum. And there’s no better place to start than at The Observatory.

The Observatory restaurant is at the top of Grouse Mountain. Normally, it offers an amazing view of Vancouver but every time we’ve dined there, a cloud descended on us to block the view. When there is no Dine Out going on, The Observatory is a very expensive restaurant. So expensive that Grouse Mountain waives the $37 lift ticket it takes to get up there. Tickets to the ice skating rink, sleigh rides and Grouse Mountain’s Theatre in the Sky are also complimentary with the dinner reservation.

Today was Sunny’s (Sally’s nanny) birthday so we invited her and two other friends to come along. Eleven months of the year, The Observatory is a very good second or third date restaurant. During Dine Out Vancouver month, it’s a really great first date restaurant because of all the complimentary perks you get for just $35.00 per person. The Skyride to the top of the mountain cost $37 so you’re already in the money. After dinner, you can go on a sleigh ride, take a spin around the outdoor ice rink and then take in a Theatre in the Sky show. Your date will think you spent a fortune on her when you’re really a cheap ass! 😈

Salad of Poached Bosc Pear and Roquefort


This was my starter dish. Made from organic winter greens, candied pecans and pear walnut vinaigrette. I had it paired with a Wild Goose Pinot Noir 2006. It was an excellent starter. Light and refreshing and the presentation was top notch.

Cream of Shallot Soup


Sarah had the Cream of Shallot soup as her starter. It was made from pancetta chantilly and orange vincotto. I like the soup but it didn’t go with my wine. It was meant to be served with a Riesling.

Roast Loin of Pork


Roast Loin of Pork served with spiced pear & parsnip puree, apple grape chutney and sage jus. There’s a lot of flavors working here and they all compliment each other. The pork was extremely tender and prepare just right. It was paired with a glass of Inniskillin Pinot Noir 2006.

Sea Scallops


Sea Scallops with butternut squash risotto, carrot blood orange emulsion and vegetable ribbons. I have to give Executive Chef Dino Gazzola props for the excellent presentation of this dish. The scallops was a tad overdone however. The dish was paired with a glass of Sumac Ridge Chardonnay 2005.

Sticky Toffee Pudding


Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla bean ice cream is the signature dessert at The Observatory. Sarah loves it because it’s not as sweet as the other desserts. It’s a good way to finish off the meal.

Assiette of Grapefruit


Assiette of Grapefruit tart, baked yogurt with grapefruit jelly & Campari granite, sorbet. The presentation of this dish was top notch all the way and it tasted as sweet as it looked. I had the dessert paired with a glass of Gehringer Late Harvest Riesling 2006.

Overall, The Observatory remains one of my favorite restaurants to dine at. If you visit Vancouver, you need to try it out, especially during Dine Out month. Dinner for five came to just $250 with tax and tip.

The Observatory on Urbanspoon

59 thoughts on “Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – The Observatory”

  1. Ronald Su says:

    Wow! I have been there before. It was nice but very very expensive. Now have dine out Vancouver i must go there again. Do you know when Dine Out Vancouver ends?

    1. John Chow says:

      It ends on Feb. 3. You should be able to get a reservation before it’s over.

    2. Kym Huynh says:

      Murphy’s law dictates this… but hey… if you want cheap food that is also delicious… look for the dirtiest chinese resturant you can find. The dirtier the place… the better the food taste. It’s true!!

  2. Food looks awesome. Damn I am so hungry now!

    1. I always seem to see these posts just before lunch time… 😑

      1. Kym Huynh says:

        Try a long car drive and all you’re talking about is the best dishes you’ve ever eaten. Pure torture!

  3. Ronald Su says:

    Thank you John. It ends just 1 day after my birthday. I will make my reservation tomorrow. :mrgreen:

  4. Slam Blogger says:

    You’re post is up John. Hope you enjoy. 😈

  5. Leo says:

    Too bad it was pork, I’d love to try some roast Lion with a side of panda.

    1. Kym Huynh says:

      Don’t forget the pregnant whale dessert and emu leg dressing.

  6. Joy says:

    That’s what I missed on my trip to Vancouver this year. I missed it by a week! I totally forgot. And it looks like I’m going to miss the Wine Festival this year, too.
    My friend and I went to the observatory after doing the Grouse Grind. Yeah, we felt like we deserved it. :mrgreen:

  7. KiwiPulse says:

    The Roast Loin of Pork seem to be yummy! I am passionate about a good cut of meat and this one looks perfect! πŸ˜›

  8. Mubin says:

    Wait a second… You both work at home, and yet you still need a nanny? Thats a bit disappointing.

    1. John Chow says:

      How disappointed would you be if I told you I’m hiring a personal assistant and a maid as well?

      1. Mubin says:

        Well, that would not be disappointment but more of jealousy feeling 😈

      2. Mubin says:

        John, you seem to be getting very active in the comments lately? Whats the deal?

        1. Alan Johnson says:

          Answering comments is the most effective way to establish a relationship with your readers, that’s what makes blogging special in the first place and every blogger should understand that this aspect should never be neglected.

          Alan Johnson

        2. Kym Huynh says:

          It’s because I called him and I was like, “Dude! What’s the deal!?”
          John: “What?”
          Kym: “You’re not posting comments!”
          John: “Yes I am.”
          Kym: “No you’re not.”
          John: “Yes I am.”
          Kym: “No you’re not.”
          John: “Yes I am.”
          Kym: “OK prove it.”
          John: “Fine.”

    2. Working at home is still work and interruptions make you much less productive.

  9. Nice food pictures πŸ™‚

  10. Kabatology says:

    How much do spend a week dining out dude, and where the hell do you put all that stuff. ❓ I’ve never seen you at a pizza restaurant.

    1. John Chow says:

      I don’t track it but it’s easily in the thousands. I need to get back to the gym now.

      1. Matthew says:

        Thousands a week? Crikey πŸ™‚ Thats a lot of big eating there.

        1. John Chow says:

          Ops! I thought the question was per month.

          1. Kym Huynh says:

            And here I was thinking per day πŸ˜‰

  11. Contest Beat says:

    Food looks pretty dang good actually

  12. David Chew says:

    The food looks nice but sounds a bit expensive and the amount of food doesn’t look to be a lot. Probably the nice place and quality it has that is worth the price.

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Let’s just say that John would have to hit the gym a lot more often if they served even more food πŸ™‚

      Alan Johnson

  13. Kiltak says:

    $250 for 5? Wow, that’s very reasonable..

  14. Hi-Tech-It says:

    Should make this blog food network

  15. Simon Lau says:

    Toronto has a similar thing called winterlicious (starts this weekend or something like that) and they also have the same thing in the summer (summerlicious). It’s definitely a great deal but we don’t have as much variety. Prices are 15/25 for lunch and 25/35 for dinner, if I recall correctly. I went last year to some of the hot places in town and it really is a treat. If your in town John, you should check out a place called Canoe. It’s at the top of the TD Center, great view of the city and better food. When I went during winterlicious, it was 200 bucks for 4, 3 course meal @ 35 bucks + wine for all.

  16. leslie says:

    Wow… the food at Observatory looks good πŸ™‚ Must make it a point to have a meal there one of these days.

  17. Is it true you’re getting fat from your fine dining experiences, John? Some people think so. lol


    1. John Chow says:

      Yes, that post reminded me that I need to get back to the gym.

      1. Kym Huynh says:

        Rar! Time to hit the gym and become a monster.

    2. Will says:

      who wouldn’t gain weight after eating like a king everyday? 😯

  18. That food looks good 😯

    If only the pictures were real πŸ˜₯

  19. FameWord says:

    Damn that looks good, but I’ve got a cold πŸ™

  20. I’m a big fan of any type of food, this has just made me so hungry!!

  21. Iron Chef quality! Looks good 😎

  22. Great post. My husband and I took a trip to Vancouver in 2001….went up to Grouse Mountain but did not dine at The Observatory. Drat! Next time for sure!

  23. Will says:

    I love your taste for food πŸ˜€ everything you show looks so good.

  24. Nabloid.com says:

    I sure hope the reason you blog about these dinners is so you can expense them, and pay for the meal with BEFORE tax dollars…

    1. John Chow says:

      That is one of the advantages of blogging about it. 😈

  25. Rose says:

    Oh my goodness these food posts combined with pregnancy cravings are going to kill me. If I book a plane ticket to Vancouver I’m telling my husband it’s this blogs fault. πŸ™‚

  26. That food looks excellent! πŸ˜€ Yum!

  27. oh so you can expense your dinner if you blog about it. Maybe Ill take a picture of my $5 meal tomorrow to save some money.

  28. Mike Huang says:

    John John John…haven’t you read the post by Garry Conn about you getting a bit chunky?

    Less dining out and more eating in is what you should be doing to keep healthy. Blogging needs a lot of time in front of the computer and I recently had high cholesterol because of that too. Just watch what you’re eating and I hope for the best πŸ™‚


    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Actually, working out and having an active lifestyle is the name of the game. At my “dinosaur” age, the fact that I’ve reverted to healthier eating habits and the fact that I am running my brick&mortar business keeps me in shape but once my children are ready to take over and I focus exclusively on my online projects, well that’s when it can become problematic as far as weight is concerned πŸ™‚

      Alan Johnson

      1. Kym Huynh says:

        90% is what we eat. Don’t forget!! For example… if you all eat me… you will all become sexy beasts too woo!!

  29. Were those scallops an appetizer or an entree? Looks a bit tiny. πŸ˜‰

  30. CatherineL says:

    That looks really good. I feel like moving to Canada or America when I read some of the prices you pay for meals.

    The wine pairings can’t have been included in that price though were they?

  31. enovator says:

    These pictures of food always increase my hunger…. πŸ˜†

  32. They are really small servings huh, how can that fill you up??

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