How to Attack Center City Restaurant Week


In the past, I’ve dealt with covering Center City District’s Restaurant Week (January 19-24 and 26-31, 2014) with a guide that helped bargain hunters to find the real deals of Restaurant Week, filtering out restaurants that didn’t offer much choice or offered boring selections like just steak, salmon or pasta. Unfortunately, the guide couldn’t be migrated to the new web site. So this year,  I had been putting off thinking about Restaurant Week until a co-worker asked for suggestions. Here’s my response to her, I think it will for you too.

Zahav is at the top of my list though they tend to sell out fast. Mike Solomonov’s modern Israeli restaurant does it right, lots of options and the staff can handle the flood of people, another thought in picking a Restaurant Week restaurant. Amada delivers in the same way. And with the small plates, you really do get a flavor of the restaurant.

Bistrot La Minette looks good this year. It’s the first time the French restaurant is participating and Peter Woolsey looks like he’s offering much of his menu.

Also new this year is High Street on Market. It’s been one of the most raved about restaurants of the year and there aren’t a lot of options, but they do look good.

If you’re a fan of Indian food, I’d consider Indeblue. I’ve had a couple of excellent meals there in the second half of 2013, and this RW week menu is intriguing and certainly not ordinary.

Italian? Little Nonna’s, Melograno, Mercato all work. Italian works well for bargain seekers. Many of the Italian restaurants that participate offer extra courses and are BYOB.

Big party? Zahav works great for that but it looks like Jose Garces’ Rosa Blanca will work well with a lot of variety.

Sampan is another restaurant that gets good feedback for its Restaurant Week approach. And with six courses, there’s a lot to try.

Another option is lunch. The lunch at Barbuzzo is always solid and a value at lunch. Same with Butcher & Singer if you find yourself craving a burger.

Other restaurants that aren’t in Center City or protest the week have some specials to be aware of as well. Matyson will offer a lobster tasting menu one week and probably a menu of favorites from the BYO’s regulars the other. Pizzeria Stella has traditionally offered a pizza deal for like $20.

Marc Vetri has been an outspoken critic of Restaurant Week, but his Amis is promising a sausage fest on January 29th.

It’s also a good couple of weeks to try a restaurant outside Center City. They tend to be quieter and appreciate the business.

Center City Restaurant Week [Official Site]

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  • Jeff

    thanks for the suggestions!

  • William Rhodes

    Estia is good during restaurant week from my experience as well.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Anyone else as sick and tired of Farmacias never changing menu? Not that that is where one should go but it has always irked me

    • Jaleh Najafali

      The only reason I go to Farmicias Restaurant Week is when a vegan friend of mine wants to go because as far as I know, they’re the only restaurant for RW that has multiple vegan options.

  • Anthony Danes

    Farmers Cabinet has some interesting cuts and I think it’s their full menu as well

  • Jaleh Najafali

    I had to make my reservation for Zahav a month and a half in advance…and I still ended up with a 5:30 timeslot.