Restaurant Week is always an exciting time for those of us obsessed with eating out — it’s our chance to try a hot spot that’s usually way too expensive for a random Tuesday indulgence.
More than 100 restaurants are participating in Center City Restaurant Week, Philly’s biggest version of the deal — so big it now stretches over two weeks: Jan. 17-22 and 24-29. Get a three-course dinner for just $35, or $20 for a three-course lunch at some spots. There’s even discounted parking; pick up a voucher at the restaurant to park in a nearby garage for $9 or less.
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We took the pressure out of choosing your reservations with four very different Restaurant Week suggestions that have one thing in common: You won’t have buyer’s remorse at any of them. Go to Center City District’s site for the full list, links to book through OpenTable, and details on where to park.
Chef-owners Andrew and Kristin Wood run this elegant-yet-homey BYOB that emphasizes local and seasonal ingredients and — crucially — simplicity. The menu changes often, but for Restaurant Week the appetizers and entrees are set; dessert will be a surprise based on what’s freshest. We’re eyeing the heirloom squash soup with bacon, sage and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the roasted rainbow trout with potatoes and salsa verde.
Bring a few friends and your table will overflow with plates of delectable Spanish tapas at this Old City staple from Iron Chef Jose Garces. All those small plates usually add up quick, so Restaurant Week will be a welcome break on the final bill. There’s a choice of two dishes for the first two courses, then either a Spanish custard or a dark chocolate tart for dessert.
You won’t go wrong at this upscale, always crowded BYOB in the Rittenhouse neighborhood. The Italian food here falls somewhere between hearty South Philly-style meals and more modern takes on tradition. Start with the polpette pork, veal and beef meatballs, move on to the lamb ossobucco or the ricotta gnudi (kale dumplings with butter, sage and pine nuts), then finish with the tiramisu, of course.
Our mouths are watering just thinking about the plates at sexy old-school steakhouse Butcher and Singer, one of acclaimed restaurateur Stephen Starr’s finest. You can’t order all of our favorites off the Restaurant Week menu, but it’s an opportunity to check out this high-end spot without spending big bucks. Make sure to end the meal with a tall slice of carrot cake.