I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about Philadelphia Restaurant Week, but I am not one of them. I thoroughly enjoy any excuse to get out to some of my favorite places in Philly. Restaurant Week dinners become traditions amongst friends, simple date ideas, and an easy way to further explore our city. Several years and many $35 dinners later, I have figured out a few ways to get the most out of one of my favorite times of year.
1. Do your research
As much as you may think a restaurant you’ve “oddly” never heard of that has bacon mac & cheese and an abundance of items including short ribs may sound amazing (because it does), resist temptation. Keep track of the places you really want to visit during the year, research their menus, listen to what your friends have to say about them, and make your educated picks. You will also want to make sure that the restaurant you are visiting has some sort of commercial HVAC as can you think of anything worse than having to sit and eat your food in bad room temperature? It may seem like a little thing, but you will be pleased that you checked for this when you’re enjoying your meal.
2. Just make the reservations
I always have a ton of places I want to try each time Restaurant Week rolls around, but linking up with friends and picking dates takes time . . . and then, oh wait, every reservation at Zahav is now gone. Trust your gut, make the reservation, and then fill in the friends for each date later. Most people will love that you have things already figured out for them!
3. Always use OpenTable
I love OpenTable for its simplicity, easy of use, and, of course, the freakin points. If you’ve never used the website/app, making a reservation at any restaurant gives you 100 points (Some restaurants have 1,000 point times during their slow hours, but that doesn’t happen during Restaurant Week). You can turn those points in for $$$ to use at any OT restaurant. And if you’re going out to eat a lot, they add up!
4. Don’t be afraid to box up
I’m a big fan of tapas and small plate options for Restaurant Week because I feel you get the most bang for your buck. But as I am chomping away on my first few plates, I frequently realize I am not going to make it to dessert. What do I do? Ask for a box, and start stashing. What, too embarrassing for you? Don’t worry, you won’t feel nearly as shameful when you’re pulling out your Amada leftovers for lunch at work the next day.
5. Go outside of your dining comfort zone
As much as I would love to continue to go to the places I have fallen in love with in this city over and over, I try to expand my horizons. Whether that be trying a new cuisine, a new chef, or a new neighborhood, our city has so much to enjoy . . . why not explore?
The next Philadelphia Restaurant Week is September 7-12th & 14-19th. Do you have your reservations yet? xx