1 Hot Tips for Restaurant Week | The Billfold

Hot Tips for Restaurant Week

Twice a year, in Washington, D.C., we are graced with D.C. Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week—the week or so when restaurants you couldn’t normally afford to eat in create special affordable menus for diners—usually happens in the winter and summer seasons in cities across the country. In D.C., it started Aug. 13, and will end on Aug. 19. The prix-fixe dinner menu is a mere $35 (compared to the $100 or more you’d probably spend at these places). Total bargain! Of course, this doesn’t include a tip, and all those drinks you’re probably getting to celebrate this fine dining experience.

Choosing which restaurant you want to go can be a challenge. Plus, everyone and their mama will be making reservations, so you have to grab a timeslot quickly. Here’s some advice from past experiences I’ve had.

• Make reservations as early as you can. Restaurants vary on how far in advance you can do this, but calling and figuring out the earliest you can make one is the best tactic.

• Do Lunch. It’s cheaper ($20 bucks), and you’ll have a better chance of getting a reservation. You might be able to do a walk-in.

• TIP. TIP. TIP. Considerably. This is a tough week for waiters because of the crowds of people that will be churning in and out of these restaurants. And hey, these people are running around bringing food back and forth, and sometimes working doubles. Be nice. They’ll appreciate it and the experience will be so much better.

• Try not to go to restaurants that serve small plates, for example, tapas restaurants. It calculates to the same prices as if it wasn’t Restaurant Week. You’ll get less bang for your buck, and the point of this is to save money on good food.

• No big dinner parties. This is not the week to get together with all your friends you haven’t seen in ages. Large dinner parties make it complicated for everyone involved.

• Be aware that some restaurants extend their restaurant week specials for an additional week. So save room for more.

Restaurant Week is the time to try out places you can’t normally afford, or have never taken the opportunity to try out. Be adventurous, and dine well my friends.


Lourdes Diaz likes traveling, laughing, dancing and going for runs. You can catch her singing is her car and probably wearing lipstick. She sometimes tweets tweets. Photo: The Hungry Dudes


8 Comments / Post A Comment

Megano!@twitter (#1,923)

I think Toronto might have something similar in the fall?

OhMarie (#299)

@Megano!@twitter Yes! Tons of cities have it all throughout the year (I live in a really small city and we have one in February).

batgirl (#1,554)

@Megano!@twitter We have Summerlicious in July and Winterlicous in January. I’ve stopped bothering to go because I find the menu options boring and the quality of the food was pretty crappy.

cherrispryte (#19)

Also! Keep a close eye on the drinks menu. I went to a really nice steakhouse for lunch during restaurant week a few years ago, and asked for a glass of their house red without having seen the winelist. My one glass of wine wound up being almost as much as the entire rest of the meal. Yeah, I was an idiot for not checking prices first, but still, yikes!

kitten_witawip (#1,309)

@cherrispryte I had almost the same thing happen to me. I ordered the house red but the waiter served the featured red wine of the day which was $20 more. At another restaurant the waiter asked if I wanted water and then served a bottle of water which was $10. These both happened during restaurant week so I don’t know if they pull these stunts the rest of the year.

The other side of this though is that there are sometimes good wine deals – you can get a nice bottle of wine for 35 bucks at a lot of places. Not super cheap, but it can be worth it.

Sarah H. (#408)

Haha OOPS, I’m going to a tapas place on a Restaurant Week deal tonight.

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