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San Francisco Restaurant Week's Best and Worst Dining Deals

Know before you go.

Les Clos
Les Clos
Patricia Chang

At first glance, it's easy to view the relatively low-cost prix fixe menus of Restaurant Week as a way to try some pricier restaurants on the cheap. Except, that's often not the case. Of course there are restaurants offering legitimate savings on the food served on their regular menu, but others actually cost you more than if you were to go in outside of this particular week. Don't let that that happen to you — use this guide to San Francisco Restaurant Week's (January 20-31) best and worst dining deals to get the most out of it. And if it's Oakland's deals you'd like to know, head here.

The Best Deals

Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar

Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar

Ichi landed on our worst list last year, but it has since reformed. The $65 dinner menu offers a smorgasbord of fish, dessert and a drink, and while it’s hard to fully know the savings since the restaurant has the ultimate decision over which fish it uses, the menu offers about a $15 savings.

Image credit: Patricia Chang

Les Clos

This is hands down the best deal of the whole shebang, thanks to complimentary wine pairings with each course. Without the wine pairings, the three-course $40 dinner is already an $11 savings, so adding in three glasses of wine only ups the ante. Same deal goes for lunch, with two courses saving you at least $5, pre-pairings.

Image credit: Patricia Chang

Spruce

Spruce

Spruce is another rehabilitated restaurant, having landed on our worst list as well last year. This year, however, the three-course $25 lunch saves you $27, and there’s a burger choice that’s not on offer on the regular menu. Score.

Image credit: Les W./Yelp

The Cavalier

The Cavalier

No matter what you choose from the three-course $25 lunch, you’ll save money. At best, you’ll save $16 by choosing the Cavalier salad and fish and chips, which would normally cost $41. At worst, savings are $4 if you opt for the hen egg hollandaise and chicken sandwich. There’s no bad way to go.

Image credit: Patricia Chang

Thirsty Bear Brewing

It’s impossible to say how much you’re saving with Thirsty Bear’s menu since all of the dishes are new, but it is no doubt significant. Normally an entirely new menu is a bad sign since you can’t get a true feel for a place, but this one is an exception. For $40, you get five courses, two 12-ounce beers and three 3-ounce beers, in honor of restaurant week coinciding with SF Beer Week. This one’s a definite cause for celebration.

Image credit: Thirsty Bear/Facebook

The Barrel Room

The Barrel Room

Another money loss menu on this $65 three-course dinner. At worst you’re $21 in the hole if you order the crispy Brussels sprouts, sea scallop pasta and sorbet. At best, if you order the poke, BBQ baby back ribs and Mexican chocolate cake, you’ll still lose $7. Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove The Barrel Room from the worst deals category and place it into the best. Our calculations didn’t take into consideration that each course comes with a wine pairing, which in fact makes it one of the best deals.

Image credit: The Barrel Room

The Worst Deals

AQ

AQ AQ

Okay, so you don’t lose money on AQ’s menu, but it’s only a $7 savings from its regular four course prix fixe, and most importantly, you lose your free will along with those $7. Normally AQ lets you choose from a variety of dishes for each course, but the restaurant week menu is set in stone.

Image credit: AQ

Bluestem Brasserie

Bluestem Brasserie

If you order the soup of the day, sweet potato gnocchi and dessert, you could lose $23 on this $65 three-course dinner. Even with the priciest options (baby lettuce salad, butter poached filet, dessert) you lose some money. Update, 1/14, 11:15 a.m.: Bluestem Brasserie's rep contacted Eater with a menu update: "All combos of selections [will] be offered for the $40 menu with the exception of ordering the filet, which would then be the $65 menu. [We] are working now to get this updated on the [SF Restaurant Week] site to make sure it's more clear." The rep also clarified that the amuse bouche — a choice of charcuterie or cheese — is a $10 value.

Image credit: Chris M./Yelp

Nostra Spaghetteria

Nostra Spaghetteria

There may only be a $3 loss for Nostra’s three-course $40 dinner, but money is money. You may as well go whenever you want and order as you please and save those $3.

Image credit: Nostra

The Dorian

The Dorian

It’s hard to 100 percent know your loss with this $40 three-course menu because first course options aren’t on the regular menu, but based on the average pricing, you stand to lose about $5.

Update, 1/14, 10:25 a.m.: The Dorian has updated its menu: "We have made an adjustment to the menu and added a complimentary glass of sparkling wine or a mocktail for those who do not drink," the restaurant wrote Eater.

Image credit: Patricia Chang

Zingari

Zingari Lounge

Zingari offers a lot of options on its three-course $65 dinner menu, but all of them will cost you. At best, you'll lose $2.50 if you order the rucola salad, gorgonzola filet mignon and any of the desserts. At worst, though? You can stand to lose $20.50 if you order the mixed greens salad, mushroom risotto and dessert.

Image credit: Zingari/Yelp

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