We headed for downtown Vancouver to soak up the Olympics vibe on Valentine’s Day, and what a scene it was. From where we were standing to get a look at the then-imprisoned Olympic cauldron, masses of humanity six-deep and more filled the sidewalks as far as the eye could see.

It was a day for ambling to the various event venues where Olympics-sized lineups caused us to keep walking. A great day in all, but we weren’t sure where we might sit down for a meal on what is normally the busiest restaurant night of the year, since our trip into the city was spur-of-the-moment and didn’t include reservations.

We did end up in Gastown and were early enough to snare one of two remaining tables at a restaurant that had squeezed in extra tables to accommodate the masses. The food was okay, though a little overpriced, and the service excellent, considering how busy the place was.

If you’re planning to head in for the same kind of once-in-a-lifetime experience that includes a nice meal, check out the Globe and Mail’s take on what to go for — and what to avoid — in terms of food, both that at the national and provincial pavilions, restaurants near Olympics event sites and even restaurants and bars where you might spot a celeb or two.

“I was able to confirm earlier reconnaissance: Vancouver is among the best eating towns in the history of the Winter Games.” SAM SIFTON, The New York Times

Okay, so it’s partly because Vancouver is one of the largest cities to host the Winter Games, so there are “a lot of people cooking here,” he points out. But Sifton, who was in Vancouver and Richmond in late January, literally swoons at the wide variety of great food that we who live here mostly take for granted. He lists the usual suspects (Vij’s, Tojo’s, Sun Sui Wah) plus a few places you might not yet know. Don’t be too hungry when you check out the multi-media offering on the left side of the page showing some of the restaurant dishes mentioned. Most of those photos are done by local pro Kim Stallknecht, who could make dirt look appetizing. You’ll be tempted to lick your computer. Oh, for one of those Celebration Rolls. . .