San Diego Restaurant Week’s 5 best bargains


San Diego Restaurant Week comes around twice a year, and twice a year, my jaw drops, well, twice.

Once, for some restaurants unabashedly putting themselves in the top tier of $50. The second time, for all the great deals that are offered at 180-plus restaurants around the county.

In defense of those eateries that think their fixed priced meals are worth $50, the crowd-pleasing, dining room-filling biannual event isn’t known to be a money-maker. (Maybe they should just opt out?) But we come not to bury, but to praise, Restaurant Week, which begins Sunday. So in that spirit, here are five of the best bargains going.

Cicciotti’s Trattoria Italiana & Seafood

Lunch is just $15 (try the fettucine with shrimp and scallops) and dinner only $20 (ditto, plus the meatballs and cannoli), along with the Pacific out the window at the Cardiff location. 1933 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff by the Sea, (760) 634-2335; and 595 Grand Ave. Carlsbad, (760) 994-0553.

el Roy’s Tequila Bar + Kitchen

The latest project from Blue Bridge Hospitality (Stake, Leroy’s, Liberty Public Market), el Roy’s is an update of the former Candela’s space. Dinner from the Mexican-inspired menu is $30; the bay views for miles? Free. 1201 First St., Coronado. (619) 537-0195.

George’s California Modern

True fine dining with an ocean view for $50, George’s offers a creative, seasonal menu. Don’t miss the toasted baby beets with Chino Farms strawberries, fennel, feta, sorrel and ras el hanout spice blend-charred strawberry vinaigrette. 1250 Prospect St., La Jolla. (858) 454-4244.

Vintana Wine + Dine

Vintana’s addictive lobster bisque is on both the lunch ($20) and dinner ($30) menu. So is the sinful lobster mac n’ cheese with pepper bacon and blue cheese, for a $10 surcharge. It’s got arugula so that makes it healthy, right? 1205 Auto Park Way, Escondido. (760) 745- 7777.

The Butcher Shop Steakhouse and Prime Cut

Steak, period. We love beef short ribs as much as the next carnivore, but when we eat at a steakhouse for Restaurant Week, we want steak. The yin and yang of elegance, The Butcher Shop ($30) has old-world, red booth charm to spare, while Prime Cut ($40) is a contemporary haven with elevated flair. (Butcher Shop) 5255 Kearny Villa Road, Kearny Mesa. (858) 565-2272. (Prime Cut) 14145 Campo Road, Jamul. (619) 315-2279.

San Diego Restaurant Week

When: Sunday through Sept. 30

Where: At more than 180 participating restaurants

Cost: $10-$50


Twitter: @sdeditgirl