Your Priceless Guide to Restaurant Week in Washington, DC

Restaurant week is almost here! The biannual promotion featuring 250 restaurants is a foodies dream. It is also great if you’re like me and balling on a budget. Restaurants offer a three course prefix menu for lunch and brunch for $22 and dinner for $35. Considering a nice dinner out in this DC can be $200, this is a steal. However, if you aren’t careful you could still end up paying $200. No worries, I got you covered.  Here are my tips to get the most out of DC Restaurant Week.

steak, steakhouse, charlie palmer, restaurant week
Grilled New York strip loin with oxtail turnover, braised swiss chard, smoked potato puree I had at Charlie Palmer Steak last year during Restaurant Week. AMAZING!

Go to a seafood or steak restaurant

A dinner at a nice steak or seafood place can quickly turn into a $200 date. Restaurant week is the best time to try expensive restaurants because you get the most bang for your buck. A single entrée at many restaurants range from $30-$60, so getting three courses for $35 is definitely a deal. I recommend Charlie Palmer Steak.

Order dishes from the Regular Menu

This tip requires some research but it’s an important one. Some restaurants feature a different menu for restaurant week. I feel this makes them not worth trying. The reason I love Restaurant Week is because it gives me a chance to try something new. If the restaurant isn’t featuring items from their regular menu, then why bother? If they are serving a completely different menu, skip it.

Avoid Chain Restaurants

Be open to trying something new during restaurant week. Don’t use restaurant week to go to Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s, or any other well know national chain. Yes, they have delicious food, but I promise you there are plenty of local options that will leave you satisfied.

Drinks Add Up 

You’ll probably want to have a drink while you are enjoy your three-course meal. Sadly, drinks are not included in most restaurant week menu prices. Some restaurants may have optional specialty drinks or wine-pairing suggestions to go with your meal. Make sure you budget for these added expenses.

Don’t Just Try DC Restaurants

To better experience restaurant week, consider leaving the District. There are amazing restaurants all over the DMV waiting for you to try what they have to offer. If I weren’t willing to leave DC, I would not have discovered my favorite restaurant of all time- Chima Brazilian Steakhouse in Tyson’s Corner. However, you don’t have to go as far as Tyson’s to experience great food. Alexandria has its own restaurant week February 17-26.

Now comes the hard part: choosing a restaurant. To make the decision easier, there’s a website that has every participating restaurant and select menus available to view. Getting a reservation at popular restaurant can be difficult, so make one as early as possible. If you miss out on your first choice , no problem. Restaurant week comes around again in the summer.

Do you have a restaurant week in your city? What are some of your tips to get the most out of your experience? Share below in the comments!

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