Restaurant Week offers a more affordable opportunity for students to venture off–campus for fine dining. For $35, diners can choose from prix fixe dinner menus offering three (or more) courses. From Philly staples to up–and–coming hotspots, Center City District (CCD) Restaurant Week features some of the best of Philly food.
Most Vegetarian–Friendly: FARMiCiA
Most CCD restaurants only offer one obligatory meat–free option on their prix fixe menu. A sad starter salad and unimaginative grilled veggies will leave you unsatisfied even after three courses. Plus, you will have to watch all your carnivorous friends swapping and sharing dishes the entire night. Luckily, FARMiCiA in Old City offers MULTiPLE (get it?) creative, vegan–friendly options like beets and kale with veggie ricotta, risotto croquettes, and lemon ginger cake. Grab your fellow herbivores and enjoy a bite of everything.
Biggest Steal: Buddakan
It’s no secret that Restaurant Week allows for some of the best deals on high quality food. Some might be surprised that Butcher and Singer didn't win this one since their prix fixe menu features an 8oz filet that would normally cost you $42. However, steak isn't the only type of food that becomes a steal this week. If you are looking to eat outside of the box, Buddakan’s Restaurant Week deal is one of the best in the city. At the famous Steven Starr restaurant, an order of short ribs and scallion pancakes, pan seared sea bass, and “Dip Sum” doughnuts would normally ring up to a whopping $65. That should make you feel a little less guilty about splurging on one of their specialty cocktails like the Buddakan Bubble Tea: an alcoholic twist on your favorite drink.
Best BYO: Pumpkin
If you are going to spend $20+ on shitty food at your next club BYO, you might as well splurge a little extra for food you will actually eat. At Pumpkin, your dining experience will be more ritzy than ratchet. The New American cuisine BYO, located on South Street, changes its menu weekly with local offerings. Fish entrees like trout usually go for $30 and appetizers like the octopus for about $15. You will easily get your money’s worth, and you can even save by bringing your own bottle of vino.
Best for Sharing: Amada
For variety, look for spots that offer more than three courses to taste and try different plates. While restaurants like Harp & Crown and Sampan offer multiple courses for $35, they require all table guests to order the same item. At Amada, from Iron Chef Jose Garces, each diner has the choice of four different tapas. Chose wisely and you can come out with a meal worth over $40, not including the choice of dessert at the end. Double on plates that everyone will want like the piquillos rellonos (crab–stuffed pepper portioned for two people).
Most Photogenic: Barbuzzo
On every Philly food–stagram, you can find at least one picture of Bud and Marilyn’s Funfetti Cake or Continental’s Szechuan Shoestring Fries. Unfortunately, neither of those photogenic items made it on to their prix fixe menus for Restaurant Week. Luckily, the indulgent and iconic Salted Caramel Budino from Barbuzzo did. Between the dessert, the fresh ricotta, and the crisped–to–perfection pizza, Barbuzzo deserves a swipe–able post to show off every dish.