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250 restaurants are participating in Restaurant Week. From August 13 to 19 (and for another week for some restaurants), you’ll be able to enjoy prix fixe brunch, lunch and dinners from some of D.C.’s best restaurants. But the $35 dinners and $22 lunches and brunches aren’t always a deal. These 18 picks are deals.

Ambar

A great atmosphere thanks to the decor and staff, Ambar is a very welcoming restaurant that offers a Restaurant Week-like special every night for $49. But Restaurant Week turns their $49 unlimited small plates special to a $35 unlimited small plates special for dinner, only $22 for lunch. If you’ve never had Balkan cuisine, Restaurant Week is an very good opportunity to sample a type of food that’s ideal for summer (think grilled meats and grilled vegetables). -Brandon Wetherbee

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Bar Charley

One of my favorite (vaguely) hidden bars and restaurants on 18th Street, Bar Charley serves double duty if you want to hide away from the crowds of Adams Morgan or Dupont. For drinks, you can expect a menu that leans heavy on the tiki options and the classic cocktails. If you’re an Old Fashioned person, there will be plenty of Old Fashioned. If you’re the kind of person who wants to suck down their very own Scorpion Bowl, they have that too. Foodwise, Bar Charley leans heavily on the meat with charcuterie platters piled high and steaks abounding, but I’m a simple girl, so I usually go for the burger. It’s the perfect compliment to your third Piña Colada in 30 minutes. -Kaylee Dugan

Bar Pilar

When it comes to Bar Pilar, it’s tough to be objective. This restaurant has been a personal go-to since 2011, and countless early mornings chasing coffee with whiskey have been lost at Pilar’s downstairs bar. Sentiments aside, Bar Pilar is one of the few restaurants in the city that has remained unpretentiously consistent since its opening; every dish on the menu is prepared with an understated complexity marrying flavors together more commonly found in a place with no TVs and white table clothes. For Restaurant Week, the main courses focus on locally-sourced staples like Maryland crab, while the first course has favorites like the chicken liver and sriracha pâté. Whatever you end up having, make sure you take a shot of whiskey to really live the full Pilar experience. -Ruben Gzirian

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Birch & Barley

Foodies and beer snobs, unite! Birch and Barley, the quaint palace of beers boasting 555 bottles and drafts, doesn’t just have an enticing tasting menu this year, but a bottle pairing for the lager lovers for just $18. Beer-centric restaurants can sometimes hit you over the head with lots of cured meats and fried foods (believe me, no one’s complaining), but Birch and Barley keeps things fresh with seasonal produce accompanying almost every item. Start with a tuna conserva with shaved fennel, round it out with a lamb porterhouse and summer squash ratatouille, then indulge in some Nutella stuffed doughnuts and berries. For the meat averse, you can also go totally vegetarian/pescatarian with their other options. But let’s all agree to end the night with those Nutella doughnuts, deal? -Emily Catino

Brothers & Sisters

If you haven’t tried Brothers & Sisters, Erik Bruner-Yang’s “concept” at The Line Hotel, then that really should be enough impetus for you to try it. The menu teeters between “wow that’s interesting” (the Octopus Hot Dog) and “wow that’s interesting” (Mushroom ‘Cacio E Pepe’). Nothing about this place screams “hotel restaurant” and that’s sort of the point. Erik Bruner-Yang’s sense of time, place, and curation leads you through a menu that’s as vibrant as the Wes Anderson-esc hotel it calls home. Moreover, the cocktail program is just as left,right, and center as Erik’s culinary vision, creating a restaurant unfairly derided as a hipster haven by those expecting something expectable. -Ruben Gzirian

Cava Mezze

Restaurant Week is truly best suited for tapas style if you’re going in a group. Most restaurants want everyone at the table to do the restaurant week menu. At a tapas place it’s an easy no brainer: Everyone does the special deal and you share everything. Cava Mezze is the perfect place for restaurant week because they keep their deal simple: Pick one dish from every category for the fixed price. If you did this deal in a big group, you could literally get to try almost everything on the menu at much less than you’d normally spend. It’s their same reliably great Greek tapas menu at a really stellar price point. FYI the deal is only offered for dinner. -Diana Metzger

Centrolina

Centrolina is the only / best reason to be at CityCenter. Sure, you could spend $600+ on Gucci slippers, but why would you when you could take that money and eat the entire kitchen out of pasta at Centrolina? Whatever you go for is sure to be delicious, but if you have a chance, get a Negroni and order a cheese plate. Just don’t have so many negronis that you end up stumbling into the Gucci store and buying these ridiculous situations. Always save your money for pasta. -Kaylee Dugan

China Chilcano

Their menus for restaurant week have yet to be posted but no matter what the lunch and dinner prices will be, they’ll probably be a whole lot more bang for your buck than normally at this expensive (but so worth it) Chinese/Japanese/Peruvian fusion tapas extravaganza by José Andrés. I’ve easily spent close to $75 on a few dishes shared at lunch there on a regular day. You’ll essentially be getting 50% off and Andres restaurants don’t do half price deals so get on it this week! -Diana Metzger

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Cork

Back before Avocado Toast became the symbol of millennial financial mismanagement, the original Cork served some of the best around. Coupled with a wine program that still shames most, if not all places, in a 10 mile radius of 14th Street, Cork continues to set the standard for what a wine bar in D.C. should be. The dishes here won’t take you into another dimension, but act more as crafted bedfellows to the wine on offer—if you think the pan seared branzino doesn’t pair exceptionally well with a glass of a 2014 Domaine de Bérane, Côtes du Ventoux, “Les Blaques” then you haven’t lived. A lot of wine bars make the mistake of confusing wine knowledge with wine education. Since it’s opening in 2008, Cork has elegantly avoided this conundrum, instead creating a space (especially since its move next door to Garden District on 14th & S) where the unbelievable roster of wine is never overwhelming. -Ruben Gzirian

Daikaya

I’m sure your well acquainted with the first floor of Daikaya, where they serve up ramen so good it’ll break your heart, but how often do you pop up stairs to the Izakaya? Restaurant Week is the perfect excuse to fill yourself with salmon roe, fried octopus, curry chili and mochi ice cream all for the price of $35. Expand your culinary palate, without getting too far out of your comfort zone. -Kaylee Dugan

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Dino’s Grotto

Searching for sensible Italian in the heart of D.C.? Look no further than Dino’s Grotto in Shaw. The menu of this Ma & Pop shop features fresh, local artisan ingredients, curated with sustainability and your stomach in mind. The team at Dino’s breathes a love of food and drink, which is evident before you even take your seat. While the menu rotates based on season and D.C. farmers market offerings, the caprese is a must-have, and can be found at Dino’s yearlong. You can’t go wrong with their house made pasta, and for spice lovers who can’t seem to find the right “kick” in their food whilst dining out, Dino’s will have you covered. Take a swift departure from classical Italian with The Dino Burger for your second platter, and round your evening out with tiramisu and a cappuccino. -Sabrina Kent

Fish by José Andrés

Only offered at dinner, this restaurant week menu at the National Harbor may limit your apps and dessert choice but the seafood offerings for the main course are plentiful and you’d be likely to spend the full $35 on just a entree like the trout on a normal night. Wine pairings for all three courses are just $15, that’s $5 a glass. That’s a epic deal in itself. -Diana Metzger

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Fogo de Chao

You know what you’re going to get at Fogo de Chao. The Brazilian steakhouse chain delivers quality steak at a set price on an everyday basis. Except during Restaurant Week. It’s the exact same thing you’ll get everyday at a savings of $24. -Brandon Wetherbee

Kyirisan

One of the few places in The Shay complex that hasn’t failed, Kyirisan is a delightful spot that walks the tightrope between weird, high brow, deconstructed plates and classic dining. Lucky for you, their open for dinner and breakfast during Restaurant Week and if you’re feeling especially flush with chash, I recommend you hit up both. I also recommend you get the crème fraiche wings each time because my taste is 100% garbage and I’ve been fooling you all this whole time. P.S. Don’t skip out on dessert, it’s always killer. -Kaylee Dugan

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Maketto

When I think about the type of restaurant I would open if ever given the chance, Maketto is probably it. The fusion of accessible, delicious interpretations of Cambodian and Taiwanese cooking paired with a minimalist retail space adjoined to airy upstairs cafe is tantamount to a holy trinity. As with Brothers & Sisters, Erik Bruner-Yang has created a place that retains a one-of-one aura despite opening over three years ago. If this is your first time or 10th time, the Maketto Fried Chicken is a no-brainer. Other than that, I’d recommend asking the staff for suggestions; they are just as instrumental to the success of Maketto as any drink or dish. This is hands down my favorite place in the city for a slew of reasons, but mainly because Maketto serves as the perfect rebuttal for when anyone tries to say that D.C. restaurants don’t have character. -Ruben Gzirian

Osteria Morini

Offering menus (still yet to be posted) for brunch, lunch, and dinner for restaurant week at this normally very pricey, but very delicious Italian outpost. The waterfront view is as delicious as the food and what better time to enjoy both than mid August at a deep discount. -Diana Metzger

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Rasika

We tend to recommend the newest and buzziest restaurants participating in Restaurant Week. It’s important to remember the reliably fantastic. Rasika is reliably fantastic. -Brandon Wetherbee

Whaley’s

This chic seafood establishment on the water at Yard’s Park has brunch and dinner menus for restaurant week that feel inventive and generous. Oysters and clams some of the appetizer options alongside a variety of quality surf and turf choices for the entree and yummy desserts all for the $35 fixed price. The fact that they’re putting their best product and dishes on the special menu really shows they’re hoping for repeat customers after the week is over (as opposed to other restaurants that put their most mediocre dishes on there and call it a deal). This is another place that on an average night you’d spend the same price on an entree that you will spent for the full meal during restaurant week. -Diana Metzger

Waleys August 2016 Brunch-25

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