- 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.
- 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.
- Stick to the plan. Remember that since the menus are prix fixe, substitutions are generally not allowed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!