76°Mostly Cloudy

DC Restaurant Week: Love it… or Hate it?

by Borderstan.com August 16, 2010 at 8:15 am 1,427 6 Comments

Luis Gomez Photos DC Restaurant Week Connecticut Avenue NW

In Borderstan area, look for Restaurant Week participants on Connecticut, P, U, 9th, 14th and 17th Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Alejandra Owens at One Bite At A Time

The bi-annual DC Restaurant Week is upon us again with the summer event opening today. Depending on who you talk to it’s either the perfect week to dine out like a mad (wo)man or it’s the perfect week to cook at home. Some have even gone so far as to call it amateur week for diners. I wouldn’t go that far–but the week certainly has its pluses and minuses.

The complaints I hear most often about Restaurant Week are that service is slow, menus limited and the plates unimpressive. In turn, restaurant industry folks say people have unrealistic expectations, that restaurants are slammed with numbers far beyond usual and that it’s not a true showing of what a restaurant can give you. I can appreciate both perspectives.

Tips and Favorites

No matter how you feel about Restaurant Week, there are certainly some tips to getting it right. Here are my six tips:

  1. Dining in DC blog. Check out Lisa Shapiro’s Dining In DC blog (she’s a local food writer) for her take on menus–and the places worth checking out. Doing your homework is the first step in making sure you’re getting the most out of the week.
  2. Places to avoid. Don’t go to restaurants that are already good deals (read: tapas places or ones that have a portion of the menu on happy hour at the bar)… or ones that you have been to before. Or if you do, manage your expectations.
  3. Menu offerings. Hit up restaurants that have the majority of their menu up for grabs. Nothing is worse than sitting down only to find out the already limited menu is minuscule.
  4. Lunch.Try lunch reservations in your work neighborhood. Some of my best Restaurant Week experiences have been during lunch, not dinner.
  5. Ask around. Talk to friends and coworkers: What restaurants do a bang up job no matter what?
  6. Watch Twitter and follow the foodies. Reservations will be dropping like flies and generous folks will be offering them up. If you’re on Twitter, watch closely! Follow some foodies and pick up a few extra options.
  7. Six favorites.I put together half a dozen Restaurant Week favorites with help from my foodie friends on Twitter (find me @frijolita): Cafe Atlantico, Rasika, Bibiana, TenPenh, 1789 and Dino top the list.

Participating Restaurants

If you live in the Borderstan area, there lots of familiar eateries participating in Summer Restaurant Week–I counted 13 (most are on 9th, 14th, 17th, Connecticut P and U NW) plus many more in adjacent neighborhoods . In total, more than 200 restaurants in the DC metro area are on the list for Restaurant Week, which runs through Sunday the 22nd.

So… what are your Restaurant Week tips?

  • Great write up! I strongly agree with doing your research and managing your expectations. I’m checking out Rasika tonight. Can’t wait!

  • Lucky me, I’m in on that Rasika res 😉

  • JimG

    nice tips – also try sharing menus and contributing to the chatter as well

  • Jen

    Also be sure to check out capitolbite.blogspot.com!! They not only have great reviews but also have some amazing suggestions on where to eat out on a budget in DC!!

  • LJ

    Also, Rockville’s restaurant is coming up in about a month or so…

  • chris

    We servers hate restaurant week. Not only is it tons of “diners” who wouldnt’t normally be able to afford dining there, the management crams them in and adds tables to maximize profits. Get real people, RW is about profit, not about you trying a restaurant. Most RW guests don’t even drink wine, they just wanna pay their $30 and leave, and then write a blog about how it wasn’t up to their expectations. I wish they would scrap the whole nasty thing !


Subscribe to our mailing list