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Name: Cinetopia
Location: 11700 SE 7th Street Vancouver, WA 98683
Contact information: 360.213.2800
Web address: www.cinetopiatheaters.com
Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday-Sunday
Reservations Recommended: On Friday and Saturday Night
Good for: A little bit of class with your good ol’ fashioned movie
Insider tip: Expect very expensive, small plates! If you plan to dine in the Living Room, eat before you go so your stomach doesn’t growl through the whole movie (after scarfing down your meger portions)

Review: Cinetopia can’t really be classified as only a restaurant – and it’s not your average movie theatre either. This movie-foodie experience goes well beyond the “Brew and View” days of yesteryear – however, there are still a number of kinks that need to be worked out.

The Cinetopia complex can be divided into three parts: The tapas-style restaurant and wine bar Vinotopia, the Living Room Theatres and the High Definition (HD) Grand Auditoriums. The restaurant has a few seating areas and a seperate tasting room that features machines that dispense more than 70 tastes for a fee. However, what makes Cinetopia unique is their dine-and-view experience.

Movies in the 5 Grand Auditoriums feature plush seating and popular new releases. Movies in the 3 Living Room theatres are usually independents or more ‘artsy’ in nature. After 4 p.m., the Living Room is 21 and older only. Movies in the Living Room are not in HD, however, a variety of seating options are available and – more importantly – so is food. Waiters stop taking orders ten minutes before showtime, so make sure you get there early if you want to eat.

On my August visit, I was disappointed by the professionalism, service and performance of the waiters. On a whole, they appeared remarkably ill-informed about their offerings and inexperienced servers. They took an exceedingly long time to ask for orders, return with beverages and get silverware after forgetting to bring it with our food. In addition, we were serviced by a variety of people, so tracking down a check was difficult. It was finally presented ten minutes after the conclusion of the show, when we were able to find someone to ask about it. We could have easily left without paying.

Which, truth be told, I was tempted to do after seeing the meager portions and large prices. For $11-$15 a plate, I was expecting more than a few bites (confession: I was unaware of the small plate sizing before dining, but became suspicious when I noticed prices were a few dollars lower than expected for a full dish). Yes, it was good. However, if I am going to spend $100 on tapas, I’m going to do it while sitting at a table with white linen tablecloths, not in a chair, with the plate balanced precariously on my lap due due to the lack of a dining tray. The clutter of dishes that sat around us for the entirety of the movie was also slightly unsettling.

If you want the experience of upscale tv dinners, check out the Living Room. If you want the bizarre ambiance that comes with fine dining in a movie theatre, check out Vinetopia. If you just want a movie that looks good, skip the foodie stuff altogether and grab yourself a spot in the Grand Auditorium.

Matinee movie prices are $7.50 in the Grand Auditorium, $10.00 in the Living Room. Shows after 4 are $9.50 and $13.50, respectively.