Food & Drink

The Best Deals During DC Restaurant Week

Prather's on the Alley

If December shopping sprees and parties drained your January dining budget, some relief is on the way with the annual winter Restaurant Week. Held this year from January 13-19, the promotion includes hundreds of restaurants throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia will woo customers with $35 dinners and $22 lunches and brunches.

The options can seem overwhelming, and popular tables have a tendency to book up well in advance. On top of that, not every deal is as good as it seems. But we’ve found the best deals to take advantage of during DC Restaurant Week. So break out your OpenTable app and get ready to make a reservation at some of the best restaurants in town.

Bresca
Burrata and Winter Citrus – Bresca | Courtesy of Rey Lopez

Bresca

14th Street
Foie gras, burrata, short rib, and rockfish are all choices at this modern and inventive Michelin-starred kitchen. For dessert, go retro with a riff on ambrosia with passionfruit and coconut or a chocolate bar with earl grey accents. Given that Chef Ryan Ratino’s tasting menu normally runs $66 a person, with a la carte options starting around $15, this dinner becomes a relative value -- especially for adventurous eaters.

Cheesetique

Multiple locations
A true steal is grabbing the $35 dinner for two at one of the three Cheesetique locations across Northern Virginia. The casual cafe starts things off with a three-cheese plate, and mains get even cheesier, including three variations of the grilled cheese sandwich to pick from. While there, browse the on-site wine and cheese shop with a 10-percent discount.

Kingbird DC
Tuna Carpaccio – Kingbird | Courtesy of Kingbird

Kingbird

Foggy Bottom
There are few better ways to experience nostalgic DC than a meal inside the Watergate Hotel. And with lunch and dinner entrees that start near $30 a piece, the restaurant’s $35 pre-fixe meal special is easy money. Expect French-inspired plates like tuna carpaccio, braised short ribs or seared scallops, and a chocolate tart with Grand Marnier Chantilly cream.

Napoli Pasta Bar

Columbia Heights
Flexibility is a big advantage during Restaurant Week, and it’s even better when drinks are part of the deal. Neighborhood gem Napoli Pasta Bar is ready with a wide selection of appetizers, pastas, and desserts for its three-course, $35 deal. The restaurant is even throwing in a gratis glass of house wine. If sweets are not your thing, there’s the option to switch out dessert for a second glass of wine at no extra charge. That’s our kind of nightcap.

Pappe

Logan Circle
Prepare to come hungry for an Indian feast at Pappe, where diners can choose their own five-course adventure for $35. Things start with a snack -- vegetable samosas or dahi puri, for example -- before progressing to main proteins with a choice of a vegetable and a daal (lentil) side. Options include favorites like butter or tandoori chicken and palak paneer. Bringing along someone willing to share, and help conquer more of the menu, isn’t a bad idea, either.

The Pembroke

Dupont Circle
Mediterranean and American flavors come together at this elegant yet approachable space inside the Dupont Circle hotel. Restaurant Week highlights include beet salad with whipped goat cheese, miso glazed halibut with fried forbidden rice, and a Parisienne gnocchi with parsnip cream and roasted butternut squash. Entrees here normally around $30, making it a great option for a night out with a side of hotel-level service. 

Prather’s on the Alley

Mt. Vernon Triangle
It’s easy to miss this spot, tucked a couple of blocks off a busy stretch of Massachusetts Avenue. Executive chef Tim Ma is bringing elements of his Asian, French, and American cooking experience into a space designed to be both a refined dining destination and a comfortable spot for locals. You can always bet on some creative vegetarian offerings as well. For Restaurant Week, dive in with sakura pork cheeks, charred rapini with lemon gnocchi, bison steak, duck breast with herbed dirty rice, and other picks from the three-course menu.

Sushi Taro

Dupont Circle
Lunch is the go-to play for enjoying Michelin-starred sushi and Japanese cuisine at a fraction of the normal price. Make a reservation for the $22 menu and indulge in some of the freshest seafood in the city, prepared with expert precision and attention to detail.

Taberna del Alabardero
Salmon with Spinach and Spanish Cava Sauce | Courtesy of Taberna del Alabardero

Taberna del Alabardero 

Farragut West
DC has many options for Spanish cooking, but none are as traditional as this downtown dining room, where both the decor and cuisine echo Old World Spain. Starters include fried “patatas bravas” with spicy aioli and mussels with lobster cream and fresh cheese. From there, go with mahi mahi with creamy basil rice or classic stewed meatballs before finishing off with an order of warm churros with chocolate. A few of the menu choices have upcharges, but it’s still a hard deal to pass up, especially at lunch, when it’s available for $22.

Oyamel
Ceviche Con Citricos – Oyamel | Courtesy of Greg Powers

Oyamel

Penn Quarter
Chef José Andrés’ creative Mexican restaurant isn’t stopping Restaurant Week at three courses. Guests here can make a feast in five courses, with everything from ceviche to heirloom rebosero beans, fresno chiles, and seasonal vegetables in a mulato chile dressing. With three courses and a taco and dessert of your choosing, it’s a solid meal for larger groups looking to share without the hassle of dividing the check at the end. Oyamel is offering some drink specials, too, including a $12 house cocktail.

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Travis Mitchell is a DC-based food and drink writer. Follow his travels and eating adventures on Twitter at @travisjmitchell and Instagram at @_travisjmitchell.