Restaurant Week (or Dining on a Budget)

Last weekend we headed up to Charleston for the Charleston 1/2 Marathon. The race happened to fall on the first weekend of Charleston Restaurant Week. Lots of cities have restaurant weeks this time of year, and most of the time it is a great value.

Case in point . . .

We made a reservation at Chai’s Lounge. It’s advertised as 3 courses for $30. We were delighted to discover that their three course menu was actually only $25! We feasted on house made bacon with cornbread ice cream, beet and goat cheese salad, braised beef short ribs with grits, tres leches cake, and pumpkin tart with bourbon infused ice cream. The food was incredible. We probably would not have tried Chai’s for dinner without the restaurant week menu, so it was a great discovery.

A few tips for making the most of restaurant week, wherever you live:

  • To get the best value out of restaurant week, its worth comparing the special menu to the regular menu. I want to be wow’d by the special menu, not lusting after something on the regular menu.
  • In my experience, restaurant week usually means you get three courses for the price of two regular menu courses. If you don’t want all three courses, you can probably afford to go on any old night. In the case of Chai’s the value was better than usual.
  • It’s also worth checking to see if any of your preferred restaurants are offering drink specials. Half-price bottles of wine aren’t uncommon.
  • Finally, make your reservation early if there’s a particular restaurant you want to try. Dining mid-week instead of the weekend also helps.  We waited until the last minute for a Saturday reservation, and many places were already full. We took at 5:30 reservation (a little early for us) just to get in at Chai’s.  Thankfully we were delighted with our choice.

Happy Dining!

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