Last January, my husband and I took a trip to the Rioja region of Spain. We sampled Rioja wines and visited underground cellars by day, and hopped from bar to bar snacking on tapas and drinking Rioja wines by night. We found that there were several Rioja wines that we loved, at that the tapas served there (while not incredibly creative like those offered in the Basque country) were simply delicious. So I was very excited to see that this week, October 18 to 25, is Rioja Restaurant Week both here in Chicago and in New York City.
From now until Sunday, dozens of restaurants in both cities will offer special deals and dishes to celebrate the wine and cuisine of the Rioja area. Some will offer $12 tapas and wine pairings and others will offer $25 or $50 prix fixe menus paired with wine. Other specials offered as part of the promotion include a 15% discount on dinner or a 20% discount on a bottle of Rioja wine. Not a bad deal. This means that at Eivissa, a Catalan tapas restaurant in Chicago (for example), you can either get a multi-course dinner for two for $50, or just nosh on their signature tapas, which are half off weekdays from 4pm-6pm, and enjoy a bottle of Rioja wine for as little as $30.
Over 50 restaurants in NYC are participating, along with nearly 30 in Chicago.
Nearly every major city has a Restaurant Week – one week per year when dining establishments all over the city offer multi-course menus at a deep discount. Restaurants see it as a way to pull in new customers or boost sales during a slow period, while diners jump at the chance to try out new places or revisit their favorites for a smaller price.
For the first time, Detroit will be running its own Restaurant Week. It will run for 10 days, from September 18 to 27, and encompass two weekends. 17 restaurants are participating, with each offering at least three courses for $27, not including tax and tip. Some are also running drinks specials during the time. Each menu is being created specially for the event but will be consistent with the restaurant’s usual fare.
If your travel plans are taking you to the Motor City, or if you live in Detroit, you’re in for some good eating. Restaurants participating in the promotion include: Atlas Global Bistro, The Whitney, Coach Insignia, and Cuisine. A three-course dinner at the posh Whitney could easily set you back $50 per person. A feast at Coach Insignia, on the top of the Renaissance Center, would cost even more. And the others aren’t exactly diner dives – these are some of the top restaurants in the D when it comes to fine dining, so $27 for three-courses is quite a deal.