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12 Hacks to Make the Most of Restaurant Week

Dining at Harper's Garden

Center City Restaurant Week is typically one of the most affordable times to visit Philadelphia restaurants and the ideal time to try new eateries. From Sunday, September 13 through Friday, September 25, more than 60 restaurants will offer 3-course lunches for $20 and dinners for $35. And, for the 1st time, it will include prix fixe take out meals too.

12 Hacks for Making the Most of Restaurant Week

  1. Make reservations. Restaurants typically sell out and that will be especially important with limited capacity.

  2. Don’t overeat. You can ask to take a course/dessert home.

  3. Do over tip. Remember you’re getting a deal but the server is doing the same amount of work. Tip on what the amount might be if it weren’t a special deal.

  4. Don’t linger. It’s hard for restaurants to survive with limited capacity. They need to turn tables. Order. Eat. Go.

  5. Experiment. This is a great opportunity to try a new restaurant - especially expensive places.

  6. Do the math. Some deals are better than others.

  7. Drink moderately. Cocktails, beer/wine, coffee/tea and soda are not included in the price.

  8. Respect your server. Wear a mask when you order and when plates are delivered and cleared. In fact, whenever you’re not putting food or drink in your mouth.

  9. Do your homework. Before you go, you’ll want to know if the restaurant is offering the prix fixe menu through the weekend, whether it is also offering its à la carte menu and whether everyone at the table must order from the same menu.

  10. Get discounted parking. During Restaurant Week, parking will discounted to $9 or less at some Philadelphia Parking Association and Philadelphia Parking Authority facilities. For details, visit Center City District's website.

  11. Win. Enter for a chance to win dinner for a year on Center City District's website.

  12. Snag hard-to-get-reservations. If a restaurant you’re yearning to try is not participating in Restaurant Week, it might be a good time to snag a reservation there.

More than 60 restaurants have signed up to participate and each restaurant will follow health and safety protocols set by CDC and city and state guidelines. Diners are asked to help keep workers safe by wearing masks until it’s time to eat or drink, stay six feet away from others when possible, and wash hands often. Take advantage of the take out option if you prefer to eat at home, if you feel sick, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days.

NOTE: I know not everyone is ready to dine out for health and/or financial reasons. These hacks will work now or in the future. If you're dining now, please wear a mask when interacting with staff.

Click here for blog posts with tips on how to help restaurants survive with limited capacity -- during Restaurant Week or during the other weeks of the year.


by Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. Both books are full of tips. For even more tips, visit Planning a staycation? Go to the website for signed copies of books. For free shipping, use promo code TheCityPulse.

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