(image taken from OpenTable)
If you've never participated, what in the world are you waiting for? If you don't live in the Philadelphia area, no worries, many big cities (and local towns!) have restaurants that participate in RW at least once a year. It's a week (or two) where everyone can get dressed up and dine like you've never dined before, with 3 or more courses, and without breaking the bank. It's like Fashion Week in New York, except instead of starving ourselves to wear a gorgeous size 0 dress and celebrate with artistic designers in the fashion world, we get to eat amazing food, made by talented chefs, at the best restaurants! I attend both (when I can), but I find myself a bit more excited about dressing up for an amazing dining experience and stuffing my face with things that I might never get to eat again. I also enjoy researching restaurants (Yelp!) and looking at the RW dinner menus when reserving the perfect restaurant for the snobby foodie in me! Thankfully, they make it easy for weirdos like me by posting a list of all participating restaurants (and menus!) in Philly.
Some things to keep in mind for RW noobs:
1. The RW deal does NOT apply on Saturdays!
RW use to run all week to Saturday, but it was chaotic and they already get enough patrons on a normal Saturday. (I know, that's the only day that most people with busy schedules can venture out into the city for Restaurant Week)
2. BOOK ASAP!
OpenTable.com makes it so easy, you really have no excuses. (Don't wait until a week before because your chances of reserving a table for the restaurant on the top of your list & at a specific time quickly decrease the longer you procrastinate)
3. Not sure where to START?
Check out restaurants that are the most expensive of the bunch or have high ratings to get your money's worth! (But make sure to research because high prices on their regular menu does not mean "amazing, blow your mind" quality food)
4. Read MORE than one REVIEW!
This is exactly why I started this blog, to help those that want an incredible dining experience, but most reviews are so limited and you don't know who to listen to. (Everyone has a different palette, so it's nice to know who the person is behind the review, and food bloggers help a lot)
5. Plan with FRIENDS!
My favorite part of going out to eat, besides the food, is sharing the meal with friends and family. A party of 5 is more fun than table for 2, so find out which day everyone is free and agree on a place to eat TOGETHER! (It's more work, but worth it! Plus carpooling together lowers parking costs in Philly)
6. Have a BACKUP restaurant just in case!
You might not get your first or even second choice depending on when you decide to reserve a table. If you're planning with a big group, reserve a couple restaurants for different days and times in case people change their mind or something comes up. (There's no rule that you can't have backup reservatons, and most restaurants give you 24 hours to cancel at no charge)
Please share your Philly RW experience with me!
(Pictures are always welcome!)