Reasons To Love Vancouver #10: Pandemic Restrictions Made Fancy Dinners Cheaper

Back in the day (a.k.a. February), dinner for two at Elisa would easily run you $200, depending how crazy you went on the beef. Want to go for the tableside service at the acclaimed Boulevard? Likewise, set aside a few C-notes. And a seat at Masayoshi’s legendary omakase menu—$130 a plate. But these paragons of fine dining all did a major pivot when COVID moved everything to takeout. Suddenly, these special occasion spots transformed into a treat for the everyman: a litre of potato and leek soup actually made by chef Roger Ma was $10—cheaper by volume than Tim Hortons. A Holstein striploin from Elisa was yours for $18, less than retail if you could ever get access to it. And Masa-san, God bless him, was selling Japanese stew at Masayoshi for $5 a serving. Some of our greatest chefs worked for no other reason than to keep their kitchens open and their hands busy—and we were the lucky recipients.