Scallop ceviche. Ropa vieja. Coq au vin.
These dish names look pretty foreign to the average college student eye, accustomed to the likes of pad thai, burgers and Chipotle burritos.
But this week, college students can set their burritos aside for something a bit swankier at some of Seattle’s top-tier restaurants — without totally breaking the bank.
The semiannual Seattle Restaurant Week (which The Seattle Times copresents) offers three-course meals for a fixed $28 for dinner or $15 at lunchtime. This spring, more than 160 local restaurants are participating in the event, which runs through Thursday, April 17.
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This kind of deal is something I, a gastronomic enthusiast on a college-student budget, find hard to resist. Sure, it’s still a little on the pricier side. I generally like my meals under $10 and seldom branch out to anything fancier than a restaurant marked with two dollar signs on Yelp.
But I do love good food. And discounts. And Seattle Restaurant Week provides both.
It seems that some students have long been taking advantage of this opportunity.
UW senior Anja Speckhardt said she has participated at least six times now, once for almost every time the event has been offered since she arrived at UW.
The price, she said, is the driving factor.
“You get a chance to try something different that’s very much out of the realm of normal college-student food and see different places in Seattle,” she explained.
To figure out the best deal, she usually does some research on typical restaurant prices and menu items before selecting a place to go. So far, she has thoroughly enjoyed all of her restaurant experiences.
“It’s kind of fun to be able to see what some of the best chefs in Seattle are making and putting on their menu,” she said.
One of those chefs, John Howie of acclaimed John Howie Restaurants, is a founding member of Seattle Restaurant Week and has helped coordinate the event each year since its birth back in October 2010.
He said one of the purposes of the event has always been to provide an opportunity for everyone, including those on a lower budget, to try out these restaurants.
“I think it’s a great opportunity if they’re looking for something to go splurge on,” he said. “Rather than splurging on a different week, go out and splurge on Restaurant Week, because you’re going to save on about half the money.”
Hey, that’s good enough for me.
Shirley Qui: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @callmeshirleyq