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.