Restaurant Week is almost here. The twice-annual event — when many restaurants across the area offer customers wallet-friendly prix fixe menus — starts again on Sunday, April 7, and runs through April 18. There are more than 165 restaurants participating this spring, charging $35 per person for three-course dinners and $20 for two-course lunches (up a couple of bucks from previous seasons, due to an increase in the minimum wage and rising costs; prices do not include, beverage, tax and tip). According to the Seattle Times — which is a sponsor — participating restaurants “are required to provide prix fixe dinner options regularly valued at $42 or more.” So bargain hunters are salivating.
But not all seasoned diners love Restaurant Week. From clogged reservation lines, to limited menu options, to crowds of tourists packing neighborhood favorites, there are some downsides. And remember that most places suspend the promotion on Fridays and Saturdays, and during Sunday brunch.
The Seattle Times offers a user-friendly way to sift through everything by neighborhood and cuisine. But let’s whittle it down even more, giving you some Eater Seattle-approved options to consider as you brave the coming restaurant storm.
Why check it out: One of Eater Seattle’s 38 Essential Restaurants, this gem in Pioneer Square provides masterful upscale Indian fare, which is rare around here. Plus, its Restaurant Week offerings are more extensive than those of many participants.
What’s on the Restaurant Week menu: The dish to get is specialty dhingri mutter: mushrooms and green peas in a rich cashew tomato sauce flavored with fennel.
Why check it out: This hot Ballard spot (a 2019 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant) features a friendly staff, and puts a fun spin on familiar food.
What’s on the Restaurant Week menu: Steamed pork buns with caramelized onion cream cheese and confit chicken with Buffalo sauce follow Sawyer’s vibe to a tee.
Why check it out: The prices at this bright, bustling modern Greek food spot in Capitol Hill can sometimes be prohibitive — $35 for three courses here is a good bargain.
What’s on the Restaurant Week menu: Like many Greek places, Omega Ouzeri knows its lamb, so consider the lamb shoulder stifado with Sifnian chickpeas and wild herbs as the main course.
Why check it out: This fine-dining newbie to Restaurant Week near the Market — on our list of hottest places to try for April — has great views and dishes with Northwest-sourced produce, along with ingredients from its own custom farming operation.
What’s on the Restaurant Week menu: Marinated beets with lemon thyme chevre, potato gnocchi with spring onions and nettle pesto, and a dark chocolate brownie sundae for dessert highlight the restaurant’s strengths.
Why check it out: The bayside views at this classy-but-unpretentious West Seattle spot are stunning, and — since it’s still not quite beach season in Alki — the Restaurant Week hoards may not bother to make the long trek out.
What’s on the Restaurant Week menu: Local Columbia River steelhead with spring vegetable ragout should be a good bet.