Tuesday Spotlights: $50 for $25 at LA’s Elements, Giano in NYC + SF’s Spiazzo

Enjoy half off at Giano with today's Spotlight offer in New York City!

Tune into Tuesday’s Spotlight offers in three cities! In Los Angeles, you can sample the best of the season at Elements Kitchen. Manhattan’s Giano serves up traditional and contemporary Italian sure to satisfy any appetite. And, San Francisco’s Spiazzo Ristorante brings the flavors of Rome to the City by the Bay every day!

Enjoy a 50% discount when you purchase any of these Spotlight offers that give you $50 worth of food and drink for just $25! And, don’t miss more Spotlight offers tomorrow and Thursday!

Secret Spotlight Clues Are Here! Can You Guess This Week’s Featured Restaurants?

How well do you know the burgers of Los Angeles? Can you guess where this one was flipped?

Another week, another awesome round of OpenTable Spotlight offers are set to go live. Tuesday’s deals shine in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, while Wednesday brings six Spotlight offers out in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. See how well you know your local restaurant scene by trying to guess where the deal nearest you will be!

* Atlanta area: Grills, Gauchos and good times abound at this mouth-watering Marietta restaurant.

* Boston/New England: This gorgeous restaurant in scenic Vermont is a two-for-one gourmet dining destination and showroom location for one of the northeast’s most celebrated handcraft artisans.

* Chicago area: Only a half-hour north of Chicago, this classy restaurant serves mouth-watering French cuisine and takes pride in its impeccable service.

* Denver: Located in Denver’s Historic Highlands, this popular local eatery serves exceptional contemporary American comfort food with a touch of Italian and French inspiration.

* Los Angeles: Steps away from the Pasadena Playhouse, this creative restaurant offers enticing dishes inspired by single, elemental ingredients. Celebrate the season’s bounty and indulge in a luscious cocktail made with fresh fruits, herbs, and house-infused liquors.

* New York: This East Village restaurant is named after the two-faced Roman god of doorways, and features a tantalizing blend of traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine.

* Philadelphia: Celebrate Mother Nature at this bountiful restaurant in Glen Mills where feeling good and eating great go hand in hand. The tantalizing menu features many ‘under 500-calorie’ meals that are both healthy and delicious!

* San Francisco: This homey Italian restaurant proudly boasts the largest wine selection in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood.

* Washington, D.C.: Gather your friends and family for a convivial feast of authentic Turkish tapas and wine at this vibrant Dupont Circle eatery. The sister restaurant to one of Adams Morgan’s most popular tapas venues, the restaurants’ names are anagrams of each other.

Just like last week (and, come to think of it, the week before that, and so on), we’ll have a bonus round of Spotlight offers shining again on Thursday in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

Winter Restaurant Weeks: Coming to a City Near You (If They’re Not Already There)

If Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, restaurant weeks are a close second. So, we’re pleased to let you know that Winter Restaurant Week season is upon, dear diners. Don’t miss your chance to dine at a discount, often while doing good.

* Alexandria Restaurant Week: January 21-30

* Annapolis Restaurant Week: February 15-21

* Atlantic City Restaurant Week: February 27-March 5

* Baltimore Restaurant Week: January 21-30

* Bethesda Restaurant Week: January 24-30

Center City District Restaurant Week: January 16-21 and January 23-28

* Charlotte Restaurant Week: January 21-30

Continue reading…

Top Chef Season 8 Episode 7: Now With The Daily Sip’s Eric Arnold for Extra Flavor

"Somebody get a sponge."

This week, OT’s usual commentators on the most recent edition of Top Chef – Caroline Potter and Ed Cotton — are both out of town. So I’ve been asked to step in and take over for the next two weeks. Normally, I’m the editor of The Daily Sip, a free, wine-centric e-newsletter; and you can usually find me waxing about the wines of New Zealand–and other booze-related topics–herehere, and here.

Each season of Top Chef, we’re expected to look forward to Restaurant Wars, when the remaining contestants are split into two groups that square off in a battle of pop-up restaurants. It’s also usually the episode in which an otherwise strong contestant is shown the door because he or she ran the front of the house like it’s the DMV.

Some Restaurant Wars battles have been better than others, and this one, unfortunately, belongs in the scrap heap. For starters, the contestants weren’t put under nearly as much pressure as in previous seasons: No shopping for flatware, dishware, curtains or scented candles — just cooking. While one could argue that this levels the playing field, it really didn’t last night because someone still had to run the front of the house and, potentially, sacrifice food quality. And truth be told, last night’s Top Chef proved beyond doubt that the contestants will make or break themselves in the kitchen all on their own, no matter the challenge. So why not just keep them all in the kitchen?

Nevertheless, therein lies Top Chef‘s strength as a series: It’s the little things, from sliced fingers to stolen fishes to drunken kisses, that evoke an emotional response from viewers one minute to the next. I had plenty last night, in fact. Here they are, in order from last night:

* Ah, the brief recap — and yes, what fond memories we have of Jamie finally being sent packing last week. Oh, snap: Tonight’s episode starts at Le Bernadin?! Oh man, what I’d have given to see her survive another week and return to the scene of her braised-celery crime. Oh well.

Continue reading…

Dining Poll: Should Restaurants Call to Confirm Your Reservations?

From time to time, we hear from diners (mostly on Twitter) who aren’t that thrilled when restaurants call to confirm a restaurant reservation. While every restaurant sets its own policy about reservation confirmations, we’re curious how you feel. Weigh in on this hot topic today!


Tuesday Spotlights: Save 50% in NY + LA + SF Today; Preview Tomorrow’s Offers

The Belvedere in LA serves up scrumptious scallops and mussels.

Today’s Spotlight offers have turned on. You can save 50% at The Belvedere in Los AngelesKlee Brasserie in New York, and La Boheme in San Francisco. Tomorrow, we’ve got six more Spotlight deals sure to whet your appetite. Can you guess the participating restaurants from the hints below?

Atlanta: This popular Vinings restaurant offers top quality steaks, seafood, and classic American steakhouse cuisine.

Boston: Voted Boston’s “Best Clam Chowder,” this Back Bay favorite serves award-winning sustainable seafood with classic New England flavor.

Chicago: Set in picturesque Lake Forest, this charming bistro overlooks Market Square from the second floor of a historic brick building.

Denver: Specializing in seafood and grilled meats, this Washington Park restaurant boasts a friendly, nautical-inspired atmosphere and an always-fresh raw bar.

Philadelphia: This restaurant and wine bar in the heart of Ambler is dedicated to serving fresh, sustainable dishes with produce from their own organic garden.

Washington, D.C.: Indulge in purr-fect, delectable French fare at this stylish Friendship Heights bistro, or sip a casual glass of wine in the upstairs wine lounge.

Check back this evening for the big reveal — and on Thursday for more ways to save in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

Washington DC Restaurant Week: Tips from DC Cheap Eats Examiner L. Denise

Even if the cold and snow have you feeling down in D.C., surely Washington, DC Winter Restaurant Week, which just began, can turn your outlook around. If you’re new to the DC dining scene or just curious as to where your fellow foodies will be dining during this this wondrous week, wonder no more. We’ll be sharing some expert advice over the course of the event. Today, DC Cheap Eats Examiner L. Denise shares her insider insights.

Continue reading…

Take Our Quick OpenTable Valentine’s Day Survey: Your Opinion Counts!

Valentine’s Day is to dining out what New Year’s Eve is to drinking — Champagne, or anything else for that matter. As you may imagine, then, it’s been on our minds for quite some time. Even if it’s not yet on yours or you haven’t already made your reservations, we’d love your opinion on a few fun topics, including which celebrity you’d most like to dine with (if your s.o. weren’t available that evening, naturally).

Click here to take the OpenTable Valentine’s Day survey now!

Top Chef Season 8 Episode 6: Catch and Release

Sad she couldn't cook with scallops, Jamie hides her teary eyes and, let's face it, feelings from teammate Tiffani.

Last night’s episode of Top Chef lacked a QFC — but it did deliver a double elimination. We checked in with Ed Cotton, Executive Chef at Plein Sud and one-time bee in Angelo’s bonnet, for his thoughts on what proved to be the deadliest catch for two cheftestants.

Thinking back to last week’s EC and this week’s intro, do you think Dale really only cooked 8 plates? Or 20? Or not nearly enough, as is being implied in this ep’s opener? Is Marcel way off base here? Can you — wait, strike that — SHOULD you win the challenge without fulfilling all the obligations of said challenge?

I’m not sure how many plates Dale served; I’m sure he made the proper amount. You always have to make the amount or you are in automatic danger of going home. Maybe he skimped a bit, but whatever he did the judges enjoyed — and that’s what counts. Marcel could be upset with him for a number of different reasons; when you’re in the kitchen and you see someone doing something that you think is shady and then that person wins, you’re going to get pissed. I really don’t know what happened in the kitchen and can’t say Dale cheated or Dale did this or that. So, if he won, he won.

Continue reading…