Bargain prix fixe lunches and dinners and special menus to be offered from coast-to-coast
In most cases, diners can go to one website to search restaurants and book reservations online. Restaurant weeks are usually offered in a city’s low season. Taxes, gratuities and (usually) beverages are additional. Upcoming weeks that I know of:
Dine About Town – January 15-31
San Francisco’s seventh annual restaurant week now extends for 16 days. That’s a dozen midweek days and two weekends, including the long MLK Weekend. The caveat is that some restaurants may opt out of some days or times (some, for instance, offer either lunch or dinner specials but not both). Still, scores of restaurants from Absinthe to Zingari Ristorante will be serving $21.95 lunches and/or $31.95 dinners. If there’s a better eating city in the country, I don’t know it.
Dine Out Vancouver – January 16-February 3
This “week” extends for 19 consecutive days and boasts 182 participating restaurants of all cuisines and styles that are offering CDN$15, $25 or $35 meals. Most restaurant also recommend pairings with British Columbia’s truly wonderful wines and many offer specials on those to accompany the dinner specials. New this year is the “Best Bite” awards, which allow diners to select their favorite courses, service, food and wine pairings, and best overall menu. Participants are eligible for prizes, including two tickets to anywhere in North America on Air Canada. Visitors who want to go to Vancouver just to eat (a worthy objective) can also check out hotel specials on the Dine Out Vancouver website.
New York City Restaurant Week – January 21-25 and January 28-February 1
I’m sure that I’m not the first writer to suggest that this event allows diners to take a bite out of the Big Apple at a reasonable price. Sorry. I couldn’t resist. More than 200 restaurants of all sorts in many parts of the city (Manhattan and outer boroughs) have signed up. The good news is that this promotion runs for 10 days. The bad news is that it is not offered on the weekend, when many people like to dine out. The price is $24.07 per person at lunch and $35 at dinner. American Express is donating 50 cents per diner to City Harvest, a New York anti-hunger agency. Sunday Stays is a concurrent lodging promotion with significant discounts at major hotels.
While other city’s restaurant weeks spread out into suburbia, Philadelphia’s concentrates on the heart of the city — the best part — with “a minimum” of three-course dinners for $35. In addition to more than 100 restaurants, parking facilities are offering concurrent specials of their own, not trivial in a city whose roots date back to colonial days and whose narrow streets reflect its horse-and-carriage history. All it the week that the City of Brotherly Love becomes the City of Brotherly Dining, and oh brother, is it expected to be a good one!
As of now, a month before it starts, Denver Restaurant Week has 175 restaurants signed up. These range from longtime classics as The Fort and the Buckhorn Exchange to such brand new restaurants as the Limelight Supper Club and Elway’s Downtown. The price is $26.40 per person, which comes out to $52.80 for two — which, without the dollar sign or decimal point, is Denver’s official elevation above sea level. If you’re planning a ski trip to Colorado in that time frame, you might want to spend a night or two in the Mile High City to sample its interesting restaurants.
Boston Restaurant Week – March 9-14 and March 16-21
Like New York’s promotion, Boston’s runs over two weeks with a weekend break between. Restaurants in Boston, Cambridge and the ‘burbs are offering $20.08 lunches and $30.08 dinners. Last year, 137 restaurants participated. This year’s website, including reservations capabilities, is expected to go live on February 11. In addition to the official listing, BostonChefs.com will offer an unofficial guide to Boston Restaurant week (right), which should be interesting supplementary reading.