Sunday, February 1, 2009

Recession Dining Deals: In Praise of

This is not a sponsored post, but after the awesome deal we got on our dinner Friday night, C begged me to blog about it, and even volunteered to write it himself. After some badgering, I told him to just go ahead and write it -- his post is below. :)

Restaurant deals are springing up everywhere, but most prix fixe menus just won't do. With limited selections, it's often hard to find three courses we'd actually enjoy, and even then the cost is usually out of our price range. Dinner-for-two deals are more affordable, and don't require us to eat an appetizer each plus dessert, which we rarely have room for.

Friday I discovered a great deal at an Italian restaurant I found through for two with a bottle of wine for $30. The selection wasn't from the full menu, but there were more options than one usually finds at a three-course prix fixe offering. After a quick browse of Yelp reviews and with OYRF's thumb's up, I booked a table for after work. I had the chicken parm with ziti, which was listed at $19 on the regular menu, and OYRF upgraded to a shrimp fra diavolo for $5 more. Those dishes alone would have cost us $45, so we saved ten bucks and got a full bottle of a nice pinot grigio to boot! Admittedly, the portions might have been a little smaller for the reduced price, but it was still a good deal.

The real kicker here is's dining rewards system. Anytime you book a reservation through the site you get 100 dining points. But if you're willing to eat a little early (or late), some restaurants offer 1,000 points for eating during non-peak hours. When you reach 2,000 points you can trade them in for $20 check toward dinner at any affiliated restaurant. After one meal, we're halfway there!

Now our plan is to book another 1,000-point dinner, cash in the points, and use our $20 for another 1,000-point dinner. Then we'll be one meal away from another $20 discount. We'll save big every other meal, and get to try new restaurants around the city. Luckily, OYRF and I live in a great area for restaurants, so there is no shortage of choices.

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