8 Tips to Get the Most out of Restaurant Week

by Patricia Keppel | Posted: Feb 22, 2016 | Updated: Feb 25, 2016

Comments: 7 Comments

Clementine Cafe

It is time to forget your diet (at least temporarily!). Restaurant Week season is in full swing, and with dozens of the finest Virginia restaurants participating, you need to put the calorie counting on hold. Find out which of your favorite local places to dine are taking part in this annual event and follow our helpful tips to ensure you get the most out of your Restaurant Week experience.

  1. Make reservations well ahead of time. While Restaurant Weeks do not require tickets, the events are very popular and reservations fill up quickly. Call as far in advance as possible to ensure you get a table at your preferred restaurants.
  2. Create a game plan. Research participating restaurants in your area. If the menus are listed, take a look ahead of time to get an idea of the available meal choices and what you may plan on ordering.
  3. Stick to the plan. Remember that since the menus are prix fixe, substitutions are generally not allowed.
  4. Go for lunch. Many Restaurant Week fans are not even aware of lunch options available at some of the participating locations. If you go during lunch, you have a better chance of missing the crowds that generally accompany Restaurant Week events. Plus, the lunch options tend to range from about $10-$15, while the dinner options cost around $20-$30, so you can save money and still get the fine dining experience.
  5. Pick a regional dish. Choose a restaurant that has meal options using locally harvested ingredients for which your region is well-known. For example, if you were doing Restaurant Week in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, or Newport News, you may want to order mouthwatering Virginia oysters if they are on the menu. Find out which foods are famous in your area.
  6. Don’t forget the fine print. In addition to the base price for your meal, you still need to factor in beverages, tax, and tip to determine approximately how much you will spend on your dinner. If you plan on getting wine or beer with dinner, your check may be significantly larger than expected.
  7. Try something new. Restaurant Weeks give foodies in Virginia the opportunity to try reputable restaurants that may otherwise be out of their price range. Instead of sticking to your “Old Faithful” menu selections, think outside the box and order something you wouldn’t typically try.
  8. Tip Well! While the meals are discounted, your server is still doing just as much work to wait on you as they would with a full-priced meal. Remember to leave a generous tip to show that you appreciate their hard work!


Utilize these useful bits of advice to create a game plan for your ultimate Restaurant Week experience.


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Bethel Smith says:

I really like your suggestion about trying something new on the menu. My husband and I love to try out new restaurants, but we tend to only order dishes that we are familiar with. This would be a fun way to broaden our pallet as well as try out some new foods that we have never tasted before.

john Mahoney says:

I agree that when going to a restaurant you should make sure to know how much money you want to spend since some extra services might make your bill larger. I can see how factoring this in can help you have a better idea about your bill. I wouldn’t want to be surprised with a large bill and not be able to pay it. I will make sure to remember this as I go out. Thank you

It’s so true that the lunch crowds are smaller than the dinner crowds. It’s also true that the food is cheaper. I’m trying to find good local places with great lunch menus, that’s when I’m mostly free.

My fiance and I are pretty big foodies, and we love going to fine dining restaurants. I like that you pointed out that one thing you can to get the most out of this event is to try new things. Even though I am a foodie I tend to go with things I know I will like. It seems like I should try to spread my wings and find more foods I like.

Sarah Smith says:

My husband and I are going traveling and need to find places to eat. Thanks for the advice about making reservations ahead of time so that you can get into a preferred restaurant. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find a nice steakhouse or sushi place to eat out at on our trip.

Your tips are excellent! Thanks for sharing this. I have founded great stuff on this blog.