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DC Restaurant Week Summer/August 2009

Restaurant Week The wait is over.  After what seemed like a longer delay than usual, DC Restaurant Week finally announced the dates and participants for their summer installment on Monday.  This time around, we'll be celebrating Restaurant Week from Monday, August 24th through Sunday, August 30th. 

Even in these tough economic times, the list seems to have grown again, even longer than it was for February's winter version.  We count almost 180 participating restaurants, and it's impressive to see that there are some newer restaurants that are already participating (Columbia Firehouse in Old Town won't even be open a month when Restaurant Week comes along).

For those of you new to the D.C. Metro area who are unfamiliar with what DC Restaurant Week is, here's a brief summary. DC Restaurant Week occurs twice a year during the slow restaurant season in the winter (usually January, though this year it was pushed back because of the Presidential inauguration) and the late summer (usually August). During this time, participating restaurants will offer three-course lunches for $20.09 and/or three-course dinners for $35.09. Some restaurants will offer their full menu while others will have a special Restaurant Week menu.

Choosing restaurants to visit can be a difficult decision - where are you going to get the most bang for your buck? 

Certainly there are some restaurants that do Restaurant Week very well and there are others that just plain disappoint. I strongly encourage people to do a search for past DC Restaurant Week posts on this web site (and others, though DC Foodies has been doing this longer than most others) where people have written comments about their experiences at different restaurants when deciding on where to dine. Here are some brief pointers to use when choosing restaurants:

  1. Avoid "special" menus unless you know exactly what the restaurant is offering and it actually sounds interesting to you. Restaurants offering most - or ideally all - of their normal menu are the restaurants to go to, as these are the best deals.
  2. Confirm with the restaurant when making a reservation that they are in fact participating in D.C. Restaurant Week.
  3. When choosing a restaurant, consider whether or not they always have a deal similar to the Restaurant Week offer. For instance, Cafe Atlantico always has a pre-theater prix-fixe menu.  Make sure a $35.09 three-course menu represents real value with respect to the restaurant's usual prices. 
  4. Some restaurants (as you can see in our previous menu lists below) participate in D.C. Restaurant Week for extended periods - sometimes as long as the entire month!  You might want to consider booking reservations at those restaurants outside the main Restaurant Week period. For most participating restaurants, D.C. Restaurant Weeks are the busiest times of the year, so they are likely to be crowded.

To simplify the process for people every six months, the D.C. Foodies writers compile a list of Restaurant Week menus for all of the participating restaurants...we'll be doing it again this time around, though most restaurants don't advertise (or even set) their menus until the week or so before.

For a comprehensive map of the roughly 180 restaurants taking part this time around, check out my post at Capital Spice yesterday.  It might help you find some participants in some of your favorite parts of town (or in places you've been meaning to explore).

Take a look back at some of our previous posts while we start collecting menus from the participating restaurants.  This year we'll be posting updates every few days as we get closer, so keep checking in to see if your restaurants have revealed their plans!

Past Restaurant Weeks:

Winter 2009 Menus
Summer 2008 Menus

January 2008 Menus
August 2007 Menus

January 2007 Menus
August 2006 Menus
January 2006 Menus
August 2005 Menus
January 2005 Menus

If you have any additional questions about Restaurant Week or participating restaurants, don't hesitate to ask in the comments section below or email us at your convenience.



Brandon Green

Not that it really matters, but was there any explanation for the delay in the announcement?


None that I know of. It was probably just a delay in getting the final list of restaurants together.


I'll be out of town that week so I was wondering if you have a list of places that are extending the deal for the following week. Can you offer any insights?

Wifey of a Foodaholic

Looking for the best - What's YOUR favorite restaurant week restaurant?

Mike Bober

Wifey - I've had really good Restaurant Week experiences at Dino and Bistro Bis.

It's hard to pick a 'best' or a 'favorite.' When it comes to doing Restaurant Week right, I look for places taht offer good menu selections with few upcharges.

The Passion Food Hospitality group (DC Coast, Ceiba, Acadiana, PassionFish, TenPenh) generally do a good job as well, so you might think about one of them.

Or you could go with one of the newer places on the list: Art & Soul, Columbia Firehouse, Adour, etc.


Black Salt has their menus online... now if only I could read them. I've never been able to view their menus in any browser on any OS. No idea what plugin they use:


Ok, apparently you can view it in IE with a certain Acrobat plugin. I guess I don't consider IE a browser these days... lol. Not very savvy on their part. Anyways, here is a link to the PDF file I found after looking through the page source:

looks to be much the same as last time, which was fantastic.


Art & Soul's menu:

pretty non-descriptive, anybody been for RW before?


Thank you for listing the restaurants that are extending/starting early, its very helpful.
Cafe Atlantico is also extending their restaurant week - but I'm on the search for more places that begin early!!



Wow .. really? I know that the food at Bistro Bis can be delicious, but I've gone there at least 4 separate times (weeks) for lunch during Restaurant Week and every time had the same experience: super slow service (yes, they are mobbed, but they should know it's coming, eh?) and so-so menu selections. I stopped recommending it to friends this year due to these factors. The food was good, but a 2 hr lunch, while desirable, isn't really practical for most people that work around the Capitol - now those who work IN the Capitol probably have more time :P

Thanks for the Black Salt recommendation, will have to try that - though only lunch way out there isn't too convenient ;) BTW, their menu displays fine for me in Firefox 3.0.13 with no special plugin.


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