It is that time of year again, Fall is in the air, temperatures plunging into the 70’s at night (do not laugh at us, Northerners, it has been a dry sauna of a summer here in Texas.) As a budget conscious (cheap) diner, I LOVE Austin Restaurant Week. It gives me a chance to try a wider range of menu items plus try places I have not gotten around to yet. At $35 for 3 courses for dinner, some places are a real bargain while for others it is pretty close to their price point on a regular evening, so it takes some research to locate the true bargains. With $15 lunch and some brunch options as well, I am able to justify a few extra tastes around town. I am a little worried that more of the menus are not posted yet with less than 2 weeks to plan but I will update as soon as more information is released.
Based on previous ARW dinners, some past favorites were Austin Land and Cattle, Carillon, Uchi, Uchiko, Fabi and Rosi, Green Pastures, Olivia, and Parkside. Some of the restaurants I would like to explore further are Braise, El Arbol, Foreign and Domestic, Kenichi, and III Forks. Restaurant I wish was on the list? Congress, of course. At least, Second Bar and Kitchen should be. I never thought I would see Uchi and Uchiko on the list but I believe this is their third time participating. Before ARW, I thought I could never afford Uchi. While I wish I could visit more often, I think the restaurant week menu encouraged me to explore and now I dine their on a semi regular basis.
Remember fellow bargain diners, whether it is a Groupon, Austin Restaurant Week, or other social media deal you are dining on, tip your waitstaff well. You are saving enough money on food, they should share in your windfall. I always tip at least 20% of the undiscounted cost or 30-40% of a specially priced menu. Tip in cash if you can, not on the card. Also be patient, Restaurant Week can be overwhelming to a place being swarmed by bargain hunters. Try to be understanding. If you must cancel a reservation, please do so as far in advance as you can, do not just pull a “no show” as this is not only rude but adds to an already confusing evening. Finally, use some of that savings to have an extra glass of wine. Be good diners so they will have us back next time.