Dinner With a View is a dining experience where people get to eat in exotic glass-like domes at West Vancouver’s Ambleside Beach in January and February.
In 2020 the event ran every evening between Wednesday, January 15th, and Sunday, February 16th. The event will not be taking place in Vancouver in 2021.
Dinner With a View in Vancouver and Elsewhere
Not to be confused with the Dine Out Vancouver Festival (which is different but takes place at roughly the same time), Dinner With a View is a series of outdoor pop-up events that feature unique dome-shaped eating areas and meals prepared by a celebrity chef in select cities across North America. Each event features three courses of food served to guests in intimate terrarium-like domes.
The original Dinner With a View event took place in Toronto in February 2019. It has since expanded to other Canadian cities including Montreal and Vancouver. Events were also planned in San Diego, Chicago and Washington later in 2020.
When and Where in Vancouver
Vancouver’s Dinner With a View event took place every day from January 15th until February 16th in 2020 (which included the Chinese New Year season and Valentine’s Day).
There were three time slots available each day: 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 pm. Each meal reservation lasts for up to one hour and forty-five minutes (so don’t be late).
The event happens on the grass (or snow) at West Vancouver‘s Ambleside Park between the Boatshed Ambleside canteen (where the beach change rooms are) and the children’s play area. The park itself is located at 1150 Marine Drive and its entrance is at the corner of 13th Street and Bellevue Avenue. Parking is available right beside the venue.
Groups of between four and six guests dine in each of the event’s 20 or so clear domes. The domes are scattered around the grass near the park’s main building and the area is cordoned off with a tasteful white-picket fence.
Some of the domes are on the north side of the building next to the road, a few are along the west side (facing the children’s play area) and about a half dozen or so are on the southwest side along the walkway next to the beach. Domes with the best views are, of course, the ones that face the beach (although after dark it doesn’t really make a difference).
How Much Does Dinner with a View Cost?
Dinner With a View isn’t inexpensive, but you’re paying for the experience (plus for the food prepared by the celebrity chef who, in the case of Vancouver in 2020, was brought in from out of town just for the event).
A dome could be reserved for a 105-minute time slot at a cost of about $200 for groups of between four and six people (who can then split the cost between them).
In addition to the dome reservation fee, dinners cost about $110 per person, plus taxes. Consequently, for half a dozen guests, the total comes to about $860 before drinks, taxes, tips and online processing fees. According to the event’s website, guests can expect to spend between about $15 and $30 per person on drinks on average (which includes bottled water).
It’s not every day you get to dine outdoors in a terrarium, surrounded by friends and exotic plants. If you can afford it, Dinner With a View is an experience you can tell your friends about and one that you likely won’t forget.
What to Expect
At the Dinner With a View event, each reservation is seated in their own private dome. The domes are made of clear plastic and each one looks like a bubble (or a clear giant golf ball). The event is located outdoors in an area with a view of other dome dinner-party groups and the surrounding area (which, in the case of the West Vancouver event, includes Ambleside Beach and the Pacific Ocean, at least for folk lucky enough to get a dome on the south side of the venue).
Decorated like a terrarium, each of the domes is designed to resemble a natural ecosystem such as a Boreal forest or Arctic tundra. Each unit is slightly different, but all include exotic plants.
Each bubble dome can accommodate a maximum of six guests. The domes are climate controlled, with heaters and blankets if the weather is cold (which it was in mid-January 2020).
The three-course dinners include an appetizer, main entree and dessert. The dinner is a blind menu, meaning guests don’t know what exactly is on the menu when ordering (which is done days in advance). Participants have a choice of three meal options: meat, fish or vegan. Gluten-free options are also available. Guests can also be assured that there are no shellfish, pork or nut products in the ingredients.
What We Experienced
We attended the Dinner With a View event on January 21st, 2020, and had a wonderful evening. By the time we went the snow had melted, so instead of white on the ground, as there had been just a few days previously, there were a few small puddles and muddy spots off the trails. The place looked magical though and we were warm and comfortable in our #3 glass dome.
Around our table were tropical plants and views of pretty lights both inside and out. There were blankets on our chairs had we needed them, but we didn’t.
Our lovely Irish-accented waitress greeted us and told us a bit about our event and took our drink orders. The first course was quickly served and delicious. It was “beets tartar,” so both vegetarian and vegan-friendly. We were told that everything in fact, except for the bread and accompanying seaweed butter, were both gluten and dairy-free too.
The main meat entrée was Fraser Valley chicken breast with potatoes and morel mushrooms. The fish option was maple and miso black cod. For dessert we had marinaded pineapple in Madagascar vanilla with coconut mouse. It was all very tasty.
Vancouver’s Celebrity Chef
Award-winning celebrity chef Paul Moran was scheduled to oversee the preparation of dishes at Vancouver’s inaugural Dinner With a View event in 2020. He was the winner of Top Chef Canada in 2019 and is currently the Executive Chef at both 1909 Kitchen and the Tofino Resort and Marina on Vancouver Island. Years ago Paul had lived in Vancouver and worked at Hawksworth which is one of the Lower Mainland’s fanciest restaurants.
For more details about the event in 2020 click Dinner With a View.
To learn about the area where the dinners take place see our articles about Ambleside Beach or West Vancouver.
Another dining event taking place in Vancouver around the same time is the Dine Out Vancouver Festival where a couple of hundred different restaurants offer special $25, $35 and $45 three-course dinner menus (and lunch and brunch menus in some cases too). Some of the region’s fanciest restaurants participate in the festival.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Dine Out Vancouver Restaurants with a View
- Dine Out Vancouver Festival
- Vancouver’s January Calendar of Events
- Vancouver’s February Calendar of Events
- Vancouver’s Best Restaurants
- Chinese New Year in Vancouver