Californians, it’s time to start revving up your appetite, because the winter season’s Restaurant Week is coming to two of our greatest “foodie” cities—San Francisco and Los Angeles. And it’s definitely something to get excited about. Participating restaurants view the two-week event as a fantastic way to bring in new customers with special prix-fixe lunch/dinner menus that showcase their food. For diners, it’s an opportunity like no other, where hot, new (and not-so-new) restaurants serve up delicious dishes at feel-good prices.

The January program features some of the most sought-after foodie destinations, including San Francisco’s elegant Spruce restaurant, the chic Chez Papa Bistrot in Portero Hill, Downtown Los Angeles’ famed Water Grill and Marina del Rey’s much-raved-about Paichẽ (to name a few). The menus for each restaurant will be available on the Dine About Town” and dineLA websites—so check them out.

Also check out our five Restaurant Week tips below. They’re just a few guidelines that will help you make the most of your LA and SF culinary experiences. Happy eating!

DETAILS

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San Francisco “Dine About Town” Restaurant Week—January 15–31
Fixed-priced 2-or 3-course lunch: $18.95
Fixed-priced 3-course dinner: $36.95
Over 100 restaurants are participating

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LA “dineLA” Restaurant Week—January 20–January 31
Fixed-priced lunch: $15–$25
Fixed-priced dinner: $25–$45
Over 300 restaurants are participating

RESTAURANT WEEK TIPS

1. Do Your Homework

San Francisco has over 100 restaurants participating and Los Angeles has over 300. That’s a lot of options. Take a look at the Restaurant Week websites (see above for links), narrow down your choices by type of cuisine (or neighborhood) and then click “View Menu” (for dineLA) or “Menus” (for SF’s Dine About Town) to check out the Restaurant Week menus. If you want to go a step further, ask your foodie friends for recommendations and/or check out restaurant review websites, as well.

2. Make Reservations Early

Reservations are often not required, but they are highly recommended when it comes to Restaurant Week. For dineLA, you can either make a reservation directly with the participating restaurant or by clicking “Book Now” on the dineLA website. For San Francisco’s Restaurant Week, either contact the participating restaurant directly or click “Lunch Reservations” or “Dinner Reservations on the Dine About Town website. Make the reservations soon—tables tend to book quickly.

3. Remember: “Fixed Price/Prix-Fixe” Is Not All-Inclusive

Yes, you’re getting a great deal on the food, but that doesn’t include your drinks, tax or tip. So be prepared to spend a little extra. Especially on the tip (see #5).

4. Set Realistic Expectations

Remember that Restaurant Week is set up to bring in customers, so it will likely be a very busy scene. That could mean that you need to wait a bit for your table and you might find the seating to be a bit crowded to accommodate more patrons. The secret to dealing with that minor annoyance is pretty straightforward: Be patient. It’s about food and fun—just enjoy the moment!

5. Be Generous With Your Server

Just because you’re saving on your meal doesn’t mean you should chintz on the tip. Restaurant Week can mean chaos for servers so if they provide decent service among the madness, tip them well. They deserve it.

Will you be eating your heart out at one of these Restaurant Week programs? Let us know about your experience!