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The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.


What are two things that almost everyone likes, a lot? Great food and discounts. When you combine the two, what do you get? You get restaurant "weeks," those marvelous nationwide promtional events where the finest restaurants in selected cities join forces to lower their prices offering price-fixed meals affordable to the masses for a week and sometimes more. In New York, where restaurant week lasts for two weeks, it's the only time a year when eating at restaurants such as Chanterelle or Danube costs less than the monthly rent on a studio apartment. Yes, we exaggerate, but one thing that can't be exaggerated is the fine food you'll enjoy during restaurant week in American cities from coast to coast. Here's a list of the "where, what, when, and how much" for major restaurant weeks going on nationwide this winter and some restaurants not to be missed.

  • Where: San Francisco
  • What: Dine About Town
  • When: January 1-31, 2006
  • How Much: $21.95 for lunches; $31.95 for dinner
  • How Many: 105
  • Information: www.sfdineabouttown.com

On for a full month, San Francisco's fifth annual restaurant week sponsored by Visa offers a reserve-more-than-one-night special that earns you a $50 gift bag with all sorts of discounts and goodies. Crustacean (tel. 415/776-2722), what some critics call the birthplace of fusion cuisine, highlights this year's list of restaurants.

  • Where: New York City
  • What: Winter Restaurant Week 2006
  • When: January 23-27 and January 30-Feb. 3, 2006
  • How Much: $24.07 lunches and $35 dinners
  • How Many: More Than 100
  • Information: www.nycvisit.com/RestaurantWeek

Dining venues for New York's world-famous restaurant week started taking reservations on December 26, 2005. Considered one of the busiest weeks to eat out in New York, if you're on the patient side and don't mine eating late, say towards 9:30pm, you can easily get in or make call-that-night-arrangements. Restaurant week in New York doesn't apply to weekends. While world-famous three-star Michelin restaurant Per Se might not be participating, renowned chef Jean George Vongerichten's new Perry Street (tel. 212/352-1900; www.jean-georges.com) restaurant on the ground floor of one of architect Richard Meier's glass towers, is available for lunch.

  • Where: Boston
  • What: First Annual Restaurant Week
  • When: March 5-10, 2006
  • How Much: $20.06 lunches and $30.06 dinners
  • How Many: To Be Determined
  • Information: www.bostonusa.com

We welcome with open mouths Boston's first ever Restaurant Week. Although specific restaurants haven't yet been announced, check the above Web site in early February for a full list. Look for one of Iron Chef Todd English's restaurants such as Olives (tel. 617/242-1999, www.toddenglish.com). You can't go wrong there.

Some food critics call the City of Brotherly Love America's second-best restaurant town. At these prices, you can decide for yourself. Marrakesh (tel. 215/925-5929), a Moroccan-themed restaurant where diners lounge back on low-slung couches and eat with their hands in a setting that after about one minute makes you think you've died and gone to Marrakesh is a Philadelphia gem.

  • Where: Washington, D.C.
  • What: Restaurant Week
  • When: January 9-15, 2006
  • How Much: $20.06 lunches and $30.06 dinners
  • How Many: 140
  • Information: www.washington.org/restaurantwk

Presented by the Washington, D.C. Convention and Tourism Corporation and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington for the ninth straight year, Washington's restaurant week tops in with a hefty amount of participants. The Capital Grill (tel. 202/737-6200; www.thecapitalgrille.com), available for lunch only, is one of the best restaurants in town where presidents, senators, Supreme Court justices and even visiting celebrities often dine. It's a Washington institution.

  • Where: Denver
  • What: Winter Restaurant Week 2006
  • When: February 25-March 3, 2006
  • How Much: $52.80 per twosome or $26.40 per person dinner
  • How Many: 112
  • Information: www.denver.org

Winter skiers can delight in Denver's second-ever restaurant week. Why not stay overnight in Denver before the drive or short flight to Aspen or Vail? While you're there, try Corridor 44 (tel. 303/893-0044). Dubbed a champagne bar, this stylish bar/restaurant combines d¿cor with haute cuisine. The steak tartar is allegedly divine.

  • Where: San Diego
  • What: Winter Restaurant Week 2006
  • When: January 15-20, 2006
  • How Much: Three courses for $30, dinner
  • How Many: 103 plus as of December 20, 2005
  • Information: www.sandiegorestaurantweek.com

Dining al fresco in San Diego is like surfing Hawaii, the thing to do. In its second year, the San Diego Winter Restaurant Week features such outdoor dining fine food hotspots as the Fish Market (tel. 619/232-3474, www.thefishmarket.com) known for its fresh catches and non-California-sized portions.

  • Where: Vancouver
  • What: Dine Out 2006
  • When: January 20-February 2, 2006
  • How Much: 3-course, prix fixe meals
  • How Many: 144
  • Information: www.tourismvancouver.com

Up in the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver's Fourth restaurant week chimes in with over 140 participating restaurants. Having become a major hub for filming Hollywood movies and television shows, the city has experienced a dining resurgence in the past decade placing it as one of North America's best eating towns. Chambar (tel. 604/879-7119), a Belgium restaurant, is one of the city's more popular and elegant bistros.

  • Where: Norfolk, VA
  • What: Downtown Restaurant Week
  • When: January 22-28, 2005
  • How Much: Either $20.06 or $30.06
  • How Many: 23
  • Information: www.downtownnorfolk.org

Not to be outdone by its larger counterparts, Norfolk, Virginia has a downtown eating extravaganza of its own. With 23 participating restaurants, you can hit slightly south of one-third of the participating spots in a week. Can't beat that.

A word of advice -- the price of the meals covers food only. Tip and the fine wine to accompany your meals are on you. For reservations at most of the restaurants, www.opentable.com allows you to reserve your table online.