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Time to make a SD Restaurant Week game plan

The 13th annual San Diego Restaurant Week returns to over 180 participating restaurants from Sunday, Sept. 24 through Sunday, Oct. 1.

San Diego Restaurant Week will take place form Jan. 15-22 with more than 180 participating restaurants. (Courtesy photo)

One of the best weeks of the year for foodies is back for its Fall edition. The 13th annual San Diego Restaurant Week returns to over 180 participating restaurants from Sunday, Sept. 24 through Sunday, Oct. 1.

New to Restaurant Week? Here’s the drill. Participating restaurants all over the county offer three-course prix-fixe dinner menus or two-course prix-fixe lunch menus (some offer both). Dinner menus are $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person and lunch menus are $10, 15 or $20 per person, so there’s something for every taste and budget. Tickets aren’t necessary, but reservations are highly recommended.

But, the more important questions are: How to make the most of this edible extravaganza? How do you keep your taste buds and bank account happy (because even with these great deals, eating out as much as you’ll want will still add up fast)? And how do you avoid long waits for tables?

A Restaurant Week game plan

Step one: Recruit a team. This year’s theme is “Eat. Laugh. Share.” Restaurant Week is all about bringing people together over food, so call up some friends and decide on one or two restaurants to visit together. Or split up the research: have everyone pick their favorites and figure out a way to reach a consensus.

Step two: Pick a theme. Maybe you’ll want to try a few new-to-you places in your neighborhood to make transportation easy. Or this could be your chance to sample a bunch of restaurants of a certain type — Mexican, Italian, Thai. The Restaurant Week website makes it easy to search for participating restaurants by location, type of cuisine and price. Having a focus will keep you from getting overwhelmed and feeling the need to try them all.

Step three: Try something new at familiar spots. Many use Restaurant Week as a chance to check out places they haven’t been to before, but odds are, you’ve already visited several of the participating restaurants — and have a favorite dish or two you always order. If those go-tos aren’t on the prix fixe menus, you’ll get to branch out and maybe find a new favorite at an old standby.

San Diego Restaurant Week stands out among other Restaurant Weeks because here, it’s run by a nonprofit organization. Restaurant Week supports a variety of culinary arts and garden programs throughout San Diego’s inner-city schools. The Food 4 Kids Backpack Program, which provides backpacks of food for chronically hungry elementary school students to take home over the weekend, has shown the true reach of SDRW’s ability to transform the lives of those in the community.

Don’t miss this chance to join 150,000 other diners to explore and celebrate San Diego’s culinary scene. Visit SanDiegoRestaurantWeek.com for more information, including a list of participating restaurants. Reservations can be made in advance through the website.

San Diego Restaurant Week Fall 2017.

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