Winter Restaurant Week Insider

Circle Bistro in DC’s West End will offer their full menu during January’s Restaurant Week. Photograph by Kathryn Norwood.

Washington’s twice-a-year Restaurant Week kicks off January 14. Participating restaurants—mostly in DC—offer three or more courses for $20.08 at lunch and $30.08 at dinner.

More places than ever are taking part (for a complete list and contact information, click here). Some restaurants give deal seekers just a few appetizer, entrée, and dessert choices that often sound less appealing than the regular menu’s more expensive fare. But others make the promotion truly worthwhile.

Chef Tom Power’s Corduroy, a foodie favorite hidden in a Sheraton on DC’s K Street, offers its full menu with a few upcharges for the most expensive dishes. Some others that do the same: the West End’s charming Circle Bistro and its sister restaurant Notti Bianche; Parisian-flavored Bistro Bis; sleek Zola in the International Spy Museum; and Georgetown’s Mendocino Grille, whose menu draws from the cuisines of France and California.

At Passion Food Hospitality restaurants—New Orleans–themed Acadiana, Nuevo Latino Ceiba, Southeast Asian TenPenh, and power spot DC Coast—Restaurant Week menus are almost as comprehensive as the regular menus, with just a few appetizers and desserts left off. A nearly full menu is also available at the elegant Italian Ristorante Tosca, the cozy Tabard Inn, and Jeff Buben’s Southern Vidalia. Arty, Modern American Viridian in Logan Circle offers its pretheater menu all evening during Restaurant Week, with a half dozen choices for each course.

A handful of places are extending the promotion. Visiting during this bonus period is a great way to avoid Restaurant Week crowds and often so-so service.

Rustic Italian Dino offers its full menu, with a few upcharges, starting January 2 and lasting the entire month. Romantic Butterfield 9 is starting the promotion a week early, on January 7, and extending it to the 26th. All of José Andrés’s area restaurants—Spanish tapas flagship Jaleo, Mediterranean-flavored Zaytinya, Modern Mexican Oyamel, and Latin-themed Café Atlántico—offer Restaurant Week for an extra week, through January 27.

The same goes for two places owned by restaurateur Ashok Bajaj—Cleveland Park’s neighborly Ardeo and its wine-bar sibling, Bardeo.

-This appears in the January, 2008 issue of the magazine.