Restaurant Weeks have become more popular in different cities since Tim Zagat and Joe Baum originated the idea back in New York City in 1992. Thankfully, this idea came to Madison, Wisconsin along the way, and now the semi-annual event is back. It started January 19 and will carry through this Friday, January 24. 

Madison Magazine recently cited this culinary tradition as one of the best the city has to offer, and with good reason. This year, around 50 top-notch Madison restaurants are participating in the week-long event, including Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Boathouse and Tempest, among others.

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So what’s the big perk with Madison Restaurant Week?

Broke University of Wisconsin students might be thinking, “well it’s cool these restaurants are participating in this, but if they are still expensive, I can’t afford it.” 

Madison Restaurant Week is beneficial to students because, for a limited prix-fixe three-course menu, you can dine at these restaurants for lunch or dinner, depending on the restaurant, at an affordable price. 

Many of the lunch specials are being offered between $15 and $25, while most of the dinner specials are between $25 and $35. 

Ruth Chris Steakhouse, for example, usually serves steaks well north of $35, but this week you can get a three-course meal for a total of $35. Yes, it’s still a lot more money than a frozen meal or a fast-food dinner, but this concept makes these restaurants more viable to UW students. 

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Tempest, known for its seafood and oyster bar, has proved a worthy destination to UW students during Madison Restaurant Week. 

On Monday night, UW Senior Matt P’ng enjoyed a three-course Tempest meal consisting of mussels and oysters, trout and chocolate pecan cake for just $35. 

The meal was clearly picture-worthy in terms of its presentation and taste, and P’ng had nothing but good things to say about the meal, describing each course with vivid detail. P’ng has since made further plans to take advantage of the rest of Madison Restaurant Week.

Reservations are recommended as many locals and students are trying to take advantage of dining at the best the city has to offer for a mostly reduced priced meal special. You still have a few nights left to enjoy Madison Restaurant Week, so make sure you are calling up your favorite spots to make a reservation now.

Stay tuned for more Madison Restaurant Week news later this week.