Here's the scoop on three upcoming winter restaurant weeks. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, restaurant weeks are promotional periods (that often stretch for longer than a week) when participating restaurants in specific city offer fixed menus at a usually very reasonable price. It's a fun way to eat at restaurants you've been meaning to visit, and the fixed price menu makes it easy to plan for. Just beware the bill-inflating power of alcohol. I'm not saying you should let it stop you, just beware.
- New York: Winter Restaurant Week runs from January 22 to 26 and again from January 29 to February 2. Word on the street is that 200 restaurants will be included, and that three-course meals will be $24.07 for lunch and $35 for dinner. All the important information about participating restaurants will be posted on December 22.
- San Francisco: Dine About Town takes place from January 1 to 31. Three-course meals cost $21.95 for lunch and $31.95 for dinner, but you must pay with your VISA card to get the prix-fixe menu price. The San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau has a list of participating restaurants, as does Opentable.com. The CVB site is useful because there are sample Dine About Town menus for many of the restaurants. The Opentable list is convenient because you can see the restaurant's neighborhood and cuisine alongside its name, and you can book right there too.
- Vancouver: Dine Out Vancouver will run from January 19 to February 4. The promotion is for dinners only, and prices for fixed-menu, three-course meals will be either $15, $25, or $35, presumably based on how pricey the restaurant is normally. The list of participating restaurants will be posted on the Tourism Vancouver site during the first week in January. This one is sponsored by VISA too, but there's no information yet about whether you must pay with your VISA card to get the special price.