For local foodies who can’t afford to splurge at restaurants too often, Dine Downtown Restaurant Week might just be the most joyful time of the year. It’s a boon for restaurants too—with New Year’s resolutions and post-holiday hibernation in play, January is notoriously one of the slowest times of the year.
This year, 26 grid restaurants are offering three-course dinners for $31. One buck goes to the California Food Literacy Center. Start making reservations Thursday through January 24.
Some of these participating restaurants are among the fanciest and priciest in town: Ella Dining Room & Bar, Grange, Biba, the Firehouse Restaurant. Grange put its coffee-braised zabuton—the little-known, tender cut between the chuck and the rib eye—on its Dine Downtown menu, and the dish usually goes for $28 all on its own.
That dish, by the way, was featured in the Saveur 100. Big deal.
Many restaurants tout vegetarian-friendly options. Be careful though, as the designations on the Dine Downtown website appear to mean there is at least one vegetarian-friendly option, but not necessarily three courses. (Unless you’re—ahem—someone who counts fish as vegetarian…)
Ella is offering an enticing all-vegetarian menu for the second year in a row. Good luck choosing between hand-cut pappardelle with a poached egg, melted leeks, meyer lemon and mimolette and cauliflower gratin with roasted beets, harissa and smoked gouda for your entree. Yum.
Vegans should eye Blackbird Kitchen & Beer Gallery for its all-vegan truffle mushroom soup, risotto burger and dessert. Capital Dime has a vegan bolognese over egg-free pasta on its menu as well, and perhaps the restaurant could skip the cheese on its salads to achieve the full spectrum.
Note that the $31 doesn’t include tax or gratuity, and definitely not booze. Wine pairings are available at some spots for an additional cost. For the full list of restaurants and menus, click here.