Restaurant Week pro tips: How to get the most bang for your buck

A meal at Veda in Center City
Photo credit Ian Shiver
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Not sure where to start when Center City District’s Restaurant Week returns on Sunday? The pros have some advice for the best approach to eating your way through Center City.

Irene Levy Baker, author of “Unique Eats and Eateries of Philadelphia” and “100 Things to Do in Philadelphia Before You Die,” said when it comes to Restaurant Week, the first thing you want to do is make reservations — now.

“Restaurants are very crowded during Restaurant Week. This is not a week when you can expect to walk in,” she said.

And when you do go, don't overeat.

“You don't have to eat it all. You can take some home — and you'll be happier later, especially at 3 a.m. when you eat the rest,” she quipped.

But she said make sure you do over-tip your servers, since the meals are prix fixe.

“Tip on what it might cost if it wasn't Restaurant Week,” she advised.

-- New participant alert! Sample flavorful Spanish tapas at Sabroso+Sorbo in @thenotaryhotel for CCD Restaurant Week. Warm Spanish Donuts with chocolate dipping sauce are on the menu! #CCDRW

A post shared by CCD Restaurant Week (@philarestweek) on Dec 23, 2019 at 2:30pm PST

Although a few of Philadelphia's award-winning restaurants are not participating in Restaurant Week, don't rule them out this week.

“If there are restaurants that you are dying to go to like Zahav, Vernick, Vedge, those restaurants don't necessarily participate in Restaurant Week. It's a very good time to try to get into restaurants that are non-participating that are usually hard to get into.”

But which restaurant offers you the best bang for your buck? Levy Baker recommends Spice Finch.

“It's not three courses for $35 — but four courses. They've added on flatbread for the table with all their different spreads.”

Several other participants also offer four courses instead of three for the same $35 check.

“, Ellen Yin's restaurant on 18th Street at Walnut; Gran Caffe L'Aquila, which is an authentic Italian restaurant at 17th and Chestnut; and Zama a really good sushi restaurant.”

Restaurant Week runs through Jan. 24. The Philadelphia Parking Authority also offers discounts at a few parking garages during the promotion. 

For more tips and recommendations, listen to the KYW Newsradio original podcast What’s Cooking on the RADIO.COM app.