We at Intelligent Travel love Restaurant Week. The concept: Dine on a fixed-price, three-course lunch or dinner to sample a variety of cuisines at a fraction of the cost. Some restaurants let you select items from their full menu, others offer limited menu choices (check the website to see full menus) or specially prepared menus. Beverages, taxes, and gratuity aren’t included in the fixed price.

Tip: Lunch is usually the better value and it’s often easier to score reservations. New York City and Washington, DC, have been holding restaurant weeks for several years, but newcomers like Chicago and Portland, Maine, are catching on. San Francisco held its restaurant week in January and Los Angeles ends theirs on Feb. 6 (look for the summer versions). Check OpenTable and Chowhound for menus and restaurant reviews or the individual city’s restaurant week website. And if you have any cities to add or recommendations on which restaurants to check out, let us know.

  • New York City just extended its Restaurant Week from mid-January through February 27. The Dish: More than 150 restaurants are offering a three-course lunch for $24.07 or a three-course dinner for $35.00. Some restaurants serve menus for both meals; several only feature a lunch menu. Check with the individual restaurant whether weekends are included. Who’s In? Participating restaurants include Asia de Cuba, 21 Club, Le Cirque, Morimoto, Nobu, and Tabla.                                                                                                        
  • Some 130 Chicago

    eateries have signed on to the city’s second annual Restaurant Week held from February 20-27. The Dish: Lunch runs $22, dinner is $32. Who’s In?

    Brasserie Jo, Frontera Grill, Rosebuds on Taylor Street, the Palm, Cape Cod Room, NoMI, and One Sixtyblue.

  • In our own backyard, Washington, DC’s Restaurant Week will feature 180 restaurants offering multi-course meals from February 16-22. The Dish: Fixed-price lunch is $20.09, dinner is $35.09. Who’s In: Rasika, Art and Soul, 1789, Indebleu, Hook, Café MoZU, and Firefly.
  • Portland, Maine is hosting their first ever Restaurant Week for ten days from March 1-10. There will also be special events and cooking demonstrations at participating restaurants. The Dish: About 30 restaurants have signed on and the list is growing, They’ll feature fixed-price menus ($20.09, $30.09, and $40.09) for lunch and dinner. Who’s In: Vignola, Back Bay Grill, Inn on Peak’s Island, Bar Lola, and Fore Street. 
  • Boston will hold its Restaurant Week March 15-20 and again from March 22-27. Restaurants are still signing on and the list will be available mid-February. The Dish: Three-course lunch menu is $20.09, dinner is $33.09. New this year is a two-course lunch option for $15.09 that includes an entrée and appetizer or dessert. Who’s In: Stay tuned and check the website in a week or two.

Photo: asmythie via the Intelligent Travel Flickr pool