Persistent Question: Is Dine About Town a good value?

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Dine About Town is one of the few things that Bay Area residents look forward to in January. After all, what is there to do in this rainy, cold winter month other than eat?

The first two out of the past three years that I’ve lived in the Bay Area, I partook in Dine About Town with a certain level of enthusiasm. It began to occur to me, however, that my meals had never amounted to anything above average. In fact, my track record seemed to demonstrate that the Dine About Town meals are unimaginative, generic and, quite frankly, not that great of a value. While I concluded that these average prix fixes were typical, I hoped that the subpar experiences at the restaurants I’d visited were atypical. Last year I decided that I would rather save my money and spend it on a standard meal at any of the participating restaurants.

I suppose the empirical action to take would be to visit all the restaurants I’ve gone to in the past for Dine About Town and have standard meals at all of them, to validate my suspicions. I’ve not had the time nor the budget to do that. However, given my renewed enthusiasm this year for exploring new restaurants, I’m finding that Dine About Town is tempting me again…

(For a complete list of restaurants participating in this year’s program, click here.)

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2 Responses to “Persistent Question: Is Dine About Town a good value?”

  1. I’ve participated in the same thing in DC and Philly (called “Restaurant Week”) there, and for the most part, it’s disappointing. Having worked in restaurants there, I know that a lot of kitchens don’t take that week seriously. Since there are so many reservations and limited menus, it becomes more a volume-based operation, which is about speed over quality. Still, once in a while, you find a good meal. I’d suggest prowling the blogs and Chowhound to see which places have a good reputation for upholding their standards during these weeks.

  2. I did check Chowhound boards but found nothing recent. Unless anyone suggests anything outstanding I think I am going to forgo it this year! I checked and all of the menus couldn’t be more boring…usually salad, chicken, and sorbet or a chocolate cake. It seemed this was the standard fare.
    One word: MEH.

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