Diners no longer have to salivate all year for the chance to try some of Arizona’s most talked-about restaurants for a cut rate.
The first-ever spring edition of Arizona Restaurant Week — when dozens of local eateries offer special prix fixe menus — kicks off Friday. The 4-year-old event has previously taken place only in September.
“It’s been such a hit each fall, and we decided let’s try it in the spring and get that last hurrah before the summer comes,” says Sara Anderson of the Arizona Restaurant Association, the group that organizes the event.
Each restaurant will offer a three-course dinner menu for $30 or $40 per person, excluding tax, tip and, in most cases, beverages. There are vegetarian and gluten-free options, and one restaurant — Phoenix’s Fuego Tacos — offers a two-for-$30 meal.
Choices include dishes like wild turbot with Oregon morels at Petite Maison (Scottsdale); pork-cheek carne secca and pumpkin bread pudding with scotch and pepitas at The Mission (Scottsdale); and chocolate-dipped bacon s’mores with housemade caramel at Beckett’s Table (Phoenix).
More than 70 restaurants participate, but only five are in the East Valley.
“People like the price. It’s all the things they get for the price and the excuse to try someplace new you might not otherwise go for the price,” says Candy Ellis of The Landmark Restaurant in Mesa.
The eatery, which has operated for 30 years in a building dating from 1908, will serve pepperjack cheese-breaded ravioli with zesty dipping sauce, a garden or Caesar salad, a raspberry sherbert palate cleanser, the diner’s choice of an 8-ounce prime rib, artichoke chicken breast, cilantro-orange tilapia or beef medallions (all come with sides), and a dessert to share.
Restaurant Week diners tend to travel to and from all corners of the Valley — and even Tucson — to try restaurants outside their usual neighborhoods, says Anderson.
“People always like to dine out, but something like this is just giving people an event. It’s giving people time to plan on going out with their friends, plan on gettng dressed up and know what they’re getting and be able to choose a menu they know they’ll like ahead of time,” she says.
Arizona Restaurant Week runs through May 22. A full list of participating restaurants and their special prix-fixe menus are available at ArizonaRestaurantWeek.com. Reservations are recommended for prime dining hours at most restaurants.
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