The Best & Worst Deals of SF Restaurant Week 2017

Put your money where your mouth is.

Photo Credit: Pexels

It’s that time of the year again — SF Restaurant Week! If you’re new to the Bay or simply haven’t been that interested in food (gasp), SF Restaurant Week is an annual event where participating local restaurants (see full list) offer prix-fixe 2-course lunches and 3-course dinners. This year, both options come with 2 possible price tiers: $15 & $25 for lunch and $40 & $65 for dinner.

With SF Restaurant Week kicking off in less than a week (Jan 19–29), I dug through over 180 menus across 122 restaurants* to estimate the relative value of each deal. Check out the summarized spreadsheet here.

Otherwise, read on for best and worst dining deals of 2017.

*Note: As of publication, 3 restaurants (Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, The Fine Mousse, and Vicoletto) have not yet posted their Restaurant Week menus. These omissions have not been included in the below rankings.

The Best

1. DOSA on Fillmore & DOSA on Valencia ($163, $150 value for $65 prix-fixe)

Indian | Fillmore/Mission (respectively) | Yelp Fillmore | Yelp Valencia

Slaying the competition this year is a duo — both DOSA locations on Fillmore & Valencia beat out the rest with their phenomenally generous prix-fixe menus. For $40, you will receive your choice of 3 small plates, 2 dosas, and 3 curries. Don’t miss out on the Lamb “Keema” Dosa ($15.5), Hyderabadi Lamb Chops ($36) and the Goan Prawn Masala ($29.5) to get your money’s worth!

2. Maruya ($122 for $65 prix-fixe)

Japanese | Mission | Yelp

Coming in second is Maruya, the Japanese omakase that snagged a Michelin star in 2015. This year, Maruya is offering a $95 omakase, along with a 3-appetizer Zensai (est. $21) and dessert (est. $6) for a mere $65, making this one of the best deals this year.

3. Roka Akor ($113 for $65 prix-fixe)

Japanese | Financial District | Yelp

Seems like sushi is all the rage this year! If Maruya doesn’t suit your tastes, give it another shot with Roka Akor’s $65 dinner deal. Not only will you receive the usual 3-course meal, but also a 5-piece chef sashimi selection (est. $41). The highlight of their Restaurant Week menu? A delicious 6 oz. Wagyu Sirloin (est. $39). And, of course, don’t forget to top off your dinner with Warm Valhrona Chocolate Cake ($14).

4. Pier 23 ($78 for $40 prix-fixe)

American | Embarcadero | Yelp

Don’t feel like dropping $65 no matter how good it is? No problem. Pier 23’s $40 dinner deal rings in at №4 with a fantastic selection of seafood and wine pairings. For appetizers, get your fill with the 1/2 Cracked Maine Lobster and Whispering Angel Rose pairing. Follow up with Grille Bluenose Bass ($20) paired with a lovely Honig Sauvignon Blanc ($10). And lastly, wrap up with a delicious Chocolate Cake ($11) and Limoncello (est. $12).

5. ThirstyBear Organic Brewery ($76 for $40 prix-fixe)

Spanish | SOMA | Yelp

Rounding out the top this year is ThirstyBear, a lively brewery in the heart of SOMA. For this year’s Restaurant Week, ThirstyBear features 4 specially created Spanish dishes, from Fried Boquerones to Squid Ink Paella (est. $30), each dish paired with a hand crafted beer ($7 each). If you’re looking for delicious food over drinks, then this is the place for you!

The Worst

1. Blowfish Sushi to Die For ($44.95 value for $65 prix-fixe)

Japanese | Mission | Yelp

Especially when compared to Maruya, you would expect the $65 dinner at a Japanese restaurant to be pretty generous. However, Blowfish Sushi comes out on top with the stingiest deal this Restaurant Week. Even with the selection of the Grilled Skirt Steak ($29.95), your total value will only add up to $40 at the most. On the upside, Blowfish’s $25 lunch menu is nearly identical to its dinner menu and offers a $41 value (pick the Ritsu Roll and Chirashi bowl for best value), so do yourself a favor skip the dinner — come mid-day instead!

2. ChouChou French Bistro ($53 for $65 prix-fixe)

French | West Portal | Yelp

Ambitious this year, ChouChou French Bistro opted to offer three deals this year: $25 Lunch, $40 Dinner and $65 Dinner. At first glance, the $65 Dinner looks promising, with more variety and “finer”-sounding plates. However, when you stop to look at the actual prices of each option, the $65 Dinner and $40 Dinner both provide a $53 value. In other words, don’t bother shelling out the $15 extra — you’d be better off purchasing the $40 Dinner or eschewing the Restaurant Week menu altogether.

Thinking about swinging by for the $40 Dinner instead? Be sure to get the Raviolis Aux Trois Champignons ($14.95) and the Côtelette de Porc or Filet de Saumon (both $29.95). For dessert, select from any of the three — they have a standard price of $7.95.

3. Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant ($56 for $65 prix-fixe)

New American | SOMA | Yelp

Bad $65 dinner deals seem to be the trend this Restaurant Week. Like Blowfish Sushi and ChouChou, Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant’s uninspired dinner menu falls short. For $65, you will only be able to pick between 2 appetizers (Farmers market salad, $12; Soup of the day, $8) and 2 mains (Lasagna, NA; Roasted rack of lamb, $23). Follow up with a $9 S’mores cheesecake and you have yourself a thoroughly unimpressive prix-fixe meal.

PS: if you’re not much of a dessert person, Local Kitchen’s $25 lunch deal gets you nearly identical items for $40 less!

4. Rambler ($57 for $65 prix-fixe; $17 for $25 prix-fixe)

American | Union Square | Yelp

If I’m being honest, Rambler’s Restaurant Week deal makes me a little bit sad. While some of our earlier offenders redeemed themselves in another meal, Rambler falls short in both of the deals that it offers.

For $25 lunch, you will receive Roasted Baby Beets ($6) and your choice between Grilled Cheese ($10) or Pork Pozole ($11), for a whopping total of $17. You’re better off ordering separately, trust me.

The $65 dinner menu isn’t much better. Even with the addition of your choice of a glass of wine (max. $14 value), winter salad (est. $14), Tagliatelle ($29) and a dessert ($NA), it’s not much of a deal.

5. Matador ($32 for $40 prix-fixe)

Mexican | Nob Hill | Yelp

Rounding out the worst of Restaurant Week is Matador with its $40 dinner selection. If you have an appetite for saving, you’ll be better off selecting each of the items separately: Queso Fundido ($10), Poc-Chuc ($15) and either Flan ($7).

Luckily, just like Local Kitchen, if you’re not a fan of desserts, I would suggest trying Matador’s $15 lunch menu, which offers the exact same appetizers and entrees as the dinner menu for $25 less.

Thanks for making it to the end! Don’t see a restaurant you’ve been eyeing? Check out the full spreadsheet to get your wallet’s worth.

And lastly — please let me know if you have any questions! These calculations were done to the best of my effort, but there’s also room for improvement. If you have a suggestion, please let me know in the comments below!

Cheers & happy eating, SF!