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:
- 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.
- Confirm with the restaurant when making a reservation that they are in fact participating in D.C. Restaurant Week.
- 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.
- 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!
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.