It’s that time of year again. Philadelphia’s Center City District Restaurant Week kicks off this Sunday and runs from January 20th-25th and January 27th-February 1st. More than 130 restaurants participate, offering diners an opportunity to eat out at a discounted price, with $35 three-course dinners and $20 three-course lunches. It’s a great time to try a restaurant you’ve been wanting to visit or a reason to go out with your friends, without breaking the bank.
However, there are opponents of this popular tradition, who believe the value is overstated or the service and quality suffer. That’s why it is important to choose your restaurant carefully. For the best value, choose a restaurant where the entrée would normally cost at least $25-$30 which will ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth. Choose restaurants known for their service, as they will be more inclined to handle an influx of customers. If your schedule permits, stop in on a weekday when it’s easier to get a reservation. And new for 2013, some restaurants will be offering the restaurant week menu on Saturdays.
Of course, there are the popular and trendy restaurants which are hard to get a reservation anytime of the year, and even more so, during Restaurant Week, like Buddakan, Amada and Barbuzzo. However, if you have not already made your reservations and are still trying to decide, here are some recommendations for Restaurant Week.
Steak House: Steak is always a good idea as entrees are expensive and sides are a la carte. Butcher and Singer (1500 Walnut) is offering their 8 oz filet (usually priced at $35 on its own) and includes a choice of side in addition to the 3 courses. Other steak places like Capital Grille, Del Frisco’s and the Palm offer similar value.
BYO: If the $35 is already a splurge for dinner, choose a BYO like Branzino (261 S. 17th St.) or Melograno (2012 Sansom St). With the set price and the ability to save money by bringing your own alcohol, you’ll be sure to keep your bill to exactly $35 per person.
High rollers: Now’s your chance to check out that place that’s out of your price range and you’ve been waiting for a special occasion for, like XIX-Nineteen (200 S. Broad St), R2L (50 S. 16th St) or Lacroix (210 W. Rittenhouse Sq). And you still get that priceless view with your $35 dinner.
For a full list of participating restaurants and menus, visit http://centercityphila.org/life/RWRestaurants.php