Upscale Baltimore restaurants are offering discounted lunches and dinners for winter Restaurant Week, which will continue through Feb. 28.
During Restaurant Week, which began on Sunday, participating restaurants pay a membership fee and partner with local organizations to receive promotions and other perks. These restaurants temporarily lower their prices and adopt a prix-fixe menu. They make up for the reduction in prices with an increase in their sales volume.
At Cinghiale, an upscale Italian restaurant in Harbor East, the prix fixe menu was $30 for three courses, including dessert, with an option of adding wine pairings to each course for an additional $24.
Baltimore resident Adam Roseberry, who ate at Cinghiale with his wife on Feb. 16, expressed his satisfaction with his meal.
“I’ve lived in Baltimore for around seven years now, and I never ate here before because it is so pricey, but we figured Restaurant Week would be a good deal,” he said. “We got the wine pairing too, and honestly, I very much enjoyed every single dish and every single glass. The Seafood Risotto entree was my favorite.”
Roseberry supports the concept of Restaurant Week.
“It’s pretty smart. I wouldn’t have come here normally, but now that I’ve been here and tried it, I think I would come back,” Roseberry said. “We were almost tempted away from the Restaurant Week menu by the other options on the menu and if the meal can be this good during a busy time like Restaurant Week, I think the food quality speaks for itself.”
However, some patrons were less satisfied. Victoria Mason, a Baltimore resident, was less than satisfied with her experience at Cinghiale.
“It wasn’t terrible, but I thought that in a restaurant as well established as Cinghiale, the experience would be more than ‘not terrible,’” she said. “The atmosphere of this place is nice and classy, but in my opinion the food was just too boring. I think restaurants do Restaurant Week to impress potential diners with their best, but this was a completely opposite experience for me.”
Pazo, a tapas-style Mediterranean restaurant in Fells Point, also participated in Restaurant Week. It offered a $30 prix fixe menu in which its customers could pair either two tapas or an appetizer with a main course and a dessert.
Alice Nam, a junior, thoroughly enjoyed the meal.
“I don’t eat out a lot because it can get expensive, especially if you go to places in the Inner Harbor or Fells, but for what we ate I feel like it was a really good deal,” Nam said. “All the food tasted great and the portions were a lot bigger than I would have expected. The service felt a little rushed, but I pretty much expected that during Restaurant week.”
She raved about Pazo’s pizza.
“The pizza really stood out and I might come back when it’s not Restaurant Week just for that because it was some of the best thin pizza I’ve had,” she said.
Paul Lindgren, a server at Pazo, believes that Restaurant Week has been a success so far.
“We’ve already had so many people, which is amazing considering what the weather was like as soon as the week started. I think this week is nice because it brings together the community. Everyone comes out to eat and it’s just a really nice atmosphere — even though it does get a little busy for us,” Lindgren said.
Victor Osio, a junior, also had a positive impression of Restaurant Week.
“I think Restaurant Week is a really great time to try restaurants you haven’t been to yet and might not otherwise go to because of the price,” Osio said. “Even if you don’t end up liking it as much as you thought, the experience doesn’t cost as much and you can end up finding really nice places.”
Osio said he has also taken advantage of Restaurant Week in previous years.
“It’s just a good time to go out to eat, especially as a student. In the past years I think they had fewer options, but they were still all good,” he said. “There’s a lot of good places to eat in Baltimore if you just go a bit off-campus, and Restaurant Week just gives you the added incentive to make an effort.”
Sophomore Spencer Han used Restaurant Week as an opportunity to revisit his favorite restaurants rather than trying out new ones.
“I actually didn’t go anywhere new and just went to Alchemy,” Han said. “I’ve been there a few times before and it’s one of my favorite places in Baltimore. I wanted to go during Restaurant Week because I knew I could get a better deal on it now than I would otherwise.”
A list of the 78 restaurants participating in Baltimore’s Winter Restaurant Week can be found on OpenTable.com.