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Put off that diet another month

Put off that diet another month
Coast Restaurant in the Yaletown district of Vancouver, Canada, will be part of Dine Out Vancouver 2005, from Jan. 21 to Feb. 3. Three-course fixed-price dinners at participating restaurants will be about $12 to $29. (Craig Baker / Coast Restaurant)
On the heels of holiday meals, it's already time to plan your next feast. We're talking about citywide restaurant promotions that dish out fixed-price menus for slimmed-down prices.

January is a popular time to fill your plates for less during "restaurant weeks" — or the whole month — in New York, San Francisco and other cities. The trick: You may need to book immediately. Although some programs accept walk-ins, it can be tough to score a table without reservations.

In San Francisco, for instance, which launched its Dine-About-Town program in 2002, about 60,000 diners typically reserve the discounted meals through http://www.opentable.com , said Karen Bell, director of programs and promotions for the city's tourist bureau. And that's only a fraction of the program's total, she said; only a third of participating restaurants offer the Internet option.

In Washington, D.C., business doubles at some places during restaurant week, according to the tourist bureau.

New York City's restaurant week dates back to summer 1992. It was dreamed up by Tim Zagat, publisher of the Zagat Survey restaurant guides, and other entrepreneurs to promote the recession-battered metropolis during the Democratic National Convention. Here are details on some restaurant promotions in January.

•  San Francisco: Dine-About-Town runs all of January. Fixed-priced menus will be $21.95 for lunch and $31.95 for dinner. You must pay for your meal with a Visa credit card. (415) 391-2000, http://www.sfvisitor.org .

•  Washington, D.C.: The fourth annual restaurant week will be Jan. 10 to 16, just before the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration in the capital. Fixed-price menus will be $20.05 at lunch and $30.05 at dinner. A list is expected to be posted Wednesday at http://www.washington.org/restaurantwk . Or call (202) 331-5990.

•  New York City: Winter Restaurant Week will cover two weeks: Jan. 24 to 28 and Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. Three-course, fixed-priced lunches will be $20.12 and dinners $35. (212) 484-1200, http://www.nycvisit.com .

•  Dine Out Vancouver 2005 will take place Jan. 21 to Feb. 3 in this British Columbia coastal city. Three-course fixed-price dinners will be about $12.40 to $29, depending on the restaurant (and the day's foreign-exchange rate). A list is expected to be posted Saturday at http://www.tourismvancouver.com . Or call (604) 683-2000.
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