If you like to savor local flavors and gourmet meals while on vacation, consider visiting a city during its restaurant week.
A number of U.S. cities participate and offer three-course meals at a reduced, set price. Because many restaurant weeks are during the slow winter travel period, you may find a cheap airfare to your destination and save on both flights and dining.
Restaurant week, which started in New York City in 1992 and has spread to many other cities, actually may run for more than a week — even up to a month. (In South Florida, they run a month or longer — in late summer.)
While the promotion offers a set price, usually for a three-course meals, it does not typically include beverages, taxes or tips.
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New York will offer restaurant week from Jan. 18 to Feb. 5, when more than 300 restaurants will serve three-course lunches for $25 and dinners for $38. Saturdays are excluded from this offer at most places.
In addition to the winter restaurant week, New York will also offer a summer restaurant promotion, from mid-July to mid-August. More details will be available when the winter offer ends. Visit www.nycgo.com/restaurant-week for details.
Many cities schedule their restaurant weeks in winter, when tourism is down and business is slower.
Denver is a destination that offers cheap flights from many U.S. cities, thanks to low fares from Spirit and Frontier and competing carriers who match their prices. Denver’s restaurant is Feb. 26-March 6, and participating restaurants will offer multiple-course meals for $30. Visit www.denver.org/denver-restaurant-week for details.
Dine Out Boston offers fixed-price deals in March and August. Spring dates are March 6-11 and 13-18. Prices vary by restaurant, and lunch will be available for $15, $20 or $25 and dinner will be available for $28, $33 or $38. Prices and menus will be available on www.dineoutboston.com in February.
Chicago’s restaurant week stretches from Jan. 22 to Feb. 4, and more than 250 restaurants will participate. Guests can enjoy fixed-price meals for $22 at lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner, depending on the restaurant. One thing to note is that not all restaurants offer the lunch deal. Visit www.EatItupchicago.com for details.
Portland, Oregon, celebrates for a month in March. Details will be available in early February. Go to www.travelportland.com/dining-month.
In the D.C. area, Baltimore’s restaurant week will be Jan. 22-31. Participating restaurants offer a two-course brunch or lunch for $15 or $20 and a three-course dinner for $25 or $35.
This deal overlaps with the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, Jan. 25-31 in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Fixed-price meals are $22 for lunch and $35 for dinner. Visit www.baltimorerestaurantweek.com and www.ramw.org/restaurantweek.
These offers are popular and many of these restaurants recommend making reservations for these deals. Once you know your travel dates, make your reservations so you can dine at your top choices.
Tom Parsons is CEO of www.bestfares.com.