in and around the district lifestyle

The Beginner’s Guide to D.C. Restaurant Week

If you know me, you know I love food, and I’m pretty excited about D.C. area restaurant week being here. And when I say D.C. area, I say it in the way that jobs in the suburbs posting positions online to lure unsuspecting young people to offices in the middle of nowhere. So even if you don’t live in DC, there are options out in the boonies if you don’t have the time or patience for trekking into the city — they’re just fewer and farther between. 


If you’re unfamiliar with it, a bunch of restaurants of all different calibers and cuisines offer discounts. Mexican, Mediterranean. Upscale, casual. If you can think of it, there are probably at least a couple of options for it at Restaurant Week. Most of them have something along the lines of “pay $XX for an appetizer, entree and dessert” and have a limited menu you can choose from, with maybe four or five options in each category. There are variations here and there, but almost every deal offers a $22 lunch special and a $35 dinner special. 


Depending on where you go and what they’re offering, the meal could be anywhere from 20-75% off. From my experience, most of the deals don’t include drinks — which is disappointing for the DC Area, but maybe part of growing up is being able to enjoy a meal without bottomless bloodies or $4 specials.


Restaurant Week is a time where I personally think it makes the most sense to visit restaurants that you usually wouldn’t because they’re on the fancier or pricier side. OpenTable groups restaurants in 3 categories: under $30, $31-$50, and $50 and over. For purposes of Restaurant Week, it obviously makes the most sense to seek out the $50+ bracket, or $31-$50 depending on what’s available.


It can be a great time for catching up with friends or even colleagues and clients in a nicer setting.


Don’t get me wrong — I’m someone who appreciates quality — but I’m also a shameless bargain hunter. From clothes, to beauty products, to the many meals of my Instagram, I’m always looking for the best bang for my buck. So while I can appreciate a surf and turf at a restaurant with white linen table cloths and valet parking, I’m usually dining somewhere where your buck goes a little farther. 


If you eat out a decent amount at restaurants that require reservations, you know that making last minute plans can be like a game of Russian Roulette — especially in D.C. Sometimes you can waltz right in, and sometimes getting a reservation turns into a modern yuppie hunger games. Some of the most popular restaurants are already booking up, so if you haven’t made any reservations I’d do that ASAP. I admit that I had a small meltdown when I realized that Filomena was booked for the week for any times after 4:30. 

For the most extensive list of Restaurant Week Specials, visit OpenTable. May the odds be ever in your favor, and may you get the five star meal that you probably won’t be able to justify until you get your next promotion.



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