You either love restaurant week or you hate it. And the truth is, it can really go both ways — it just depends on the restaurant. If the modified menu actually saves you money and offers dishes from the regular menu, then it’s a definite reason to go. But if you’re getting a mixed greens salad, chicken and chocolate mousse, then you're not maximizing your opportunity for deals. So here’s our guide to how to get the most out of Oakland Restaurant Week, which runs January 14 to 24 with nearly 75 restaurants offering prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus at $20, $30, $40 and $50 price points.
The Three Best Deals
Juhu Beach Club: Juhu’s deal is a $20 dinner of Bhel salad, curryleaf coriander shrimp or tamarind coconut curry and a Linden Street Beer. The curryleaf coriander shrimp curry is $23 alone, and the Bhel salad is $11. Add a $7 beer into the mix and you’d be looking at a $41 dinner, making your savings a whopping $21.
Penrose: This right here is a mega deal. Thirty dollars gets you a three-course dinner of a winter citrus salad, merguez sausage with farro salad and flatbread and chocolate pot de creme, plus a glass of house white or red wine. That would normally all rack up to about $49, saving you $19 at the end of the day. Update, 1/15, 3:06 p.m.: Unfortunately, it turns out you only get dessert or a glass of wine. Either way, you still save about $9.
Salsipuedes: Salsipuedes’ restaurant week menu can either be a deal or a fail, depending how you play it. Here’s how it works: For $30, you get your choice of appetizer and main course, chocolate pot de creme and a housemade agua fresca (normally $5) for good measure, and almost the entire menu is on offer. In order to maximize savings, the menu to get is: black cod tiradito to start (normally $18) and pork steak as your main (normally $21). That menu would normally cost you about $50, so that’s a $20 savings. On the other hand, if you ordered the butter clams or wedge salad (normally $9) to start and the winter vegetables (normally $11) as your main, you’d be about breaking even. Knowledge is power.
The Three Worst Deals
Marc 49: Marc 49’s $30 dinner of soup or ratatouille, chicken pot pie or vegetarian tamale pie and bread pudding or pear pomegranate crisp comes out to the same price on any old day.
Homestead: Homestead’s $50 menu is a pretty high price tag for three courses (though it does include gratuity), and while it ends up saving you about $10, there are some caveats to note. First off, a mixed greens salad is the appetizer option — a cop-out if we ever saw one. And the savings only kick in if you wanted persimmon cake in the first place, since $10 is exactly how much that persimmon cake costs.
Meritage: It’s actually possible to lose money at the Meritage’s $40 lunch. If you order the little gem lettuce (normally $16) and the rich egg tagliatelle (normally $22), you’d be paying $2 more than normal. Ordering the prawn saves you just $2 and the salmon saves you $4.