The Full Return of San Diego Restaurant Week

The prix-fixe program remains the same; price points have been raised

For the first time since COVID restrictions became part of our daily lives, the full-flung version of the popular San Diego Restaurant Week program is returning.

The 2021 version of SDRW runs from September 26 to October 3. Countywide, between 140 and 180 restaurants are expected to participate.

In 2019, Restaurant Week had evolved to become a twice-yearly celebration of culinary offerings. The coordinated effort allows the public to order from lunch and dinner prix-fix menus at collectively set prices.

Many view the week—or in this case, eight days—as a chance to sample dishes from restaurants they’ve never tried before. Or, visit eateries normally considered out of their budget.

Organizers hope SDRW will be a boon to a restaurant industry beleaguered of late by COVID-related health restrictions and employee-retention issues.

“Since this is the first time fully back after the pandemic, we don’t know exactly how many participating restaurants are still in business,” says Estafania Cerda, marketing and public relations director for McFarlane Promotions.

The California Restaurant Association presents Restaurant Weeks all over the state. McFarlane Promotions runs the San Diego version.

What’s New for SDRW 2021

The price points for lunch and dinner have expanded for this fall’s SDRW.

Two-course prix-fixe lunch menus will range from $10, $15, $20 and $25 per person.

Three-course prix-fix dinner menus will range from $20, $30, $40, $50 and $60 per person.

All menus will be served for traditional in-house dining as well as in the expanded outdoor spaces that numerous restaurants created as a result of COVID-related indoor-dining restrictions.

As has always been the case, tickets are not required for SDRW, though reservations are highly recommended.

For a comprehensive listing of participating eateries, go to the SDRW website.

The site allows you to search for restaurants by: neighborhood; food type (American, Asian, etc.); and dining options (brunch, lunch, dinner, and drink as a course).

Note: Check back for the full list of participating restaurants as the September 26 start date nears. Many locations join the list at the last minute (often the week prior), according to Cerda.

A Rough Two Years

Pre-pandemic, the January 2020 SDRW went off without a hitch.

In the midst of state-mandated dining restrictions, The September 2020 version was scaled back. Dubbed “Dine Diego” (and held September 15 through October 15 last year), the initiative included daily promotion of outdoor dining and meals to-go.

Earlier this year, the January SDRW was postponed to April. That retrenched effort was called “Spring Harvest.”

Looking to 2022, Cerda says SDRW will return to twice-yearly status. She says polling showed that the public likes April better than January, so the rotation will resume with events being held in April and September. SDSun



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