Calavera is a Mexican restaurant serving up dishes inspired by the Oaxacan region. Photo: Benjamin Seto
Calavera, in Uptown, is one of several new Oakland restaurants offering restaurant week specials starting Jan. 14. Photo: Benjamin Seto

It’s that time again — time to revel in the prix fixe glory that is Restaurant Week.

In the East Bay, we get more than two weeks of specials between Oakland and Berkeley. Oakland’s Restaurant Week begins tomorrow, Jan. 14 and runs through Jan. 24. Berkeley’s event overlaps a bit, beginning on Jan. 21 and running through Jan. 31.

Participating restaurants offer prix fixe menu specials at lunch and/or dinner. Oakland menus will go for $20, $30, $40 or $50. Berkeley lunch menus will be priced at $20; dinners will be offered at $25 or $35. Menu lengths vary from restaurant to restaurant.

“Diners look forward to Oakland Restaurant Week because it’s a chance to get out and try somewhere new,” said Alison Best, President and CEO of Visit Oakland, in a prepared statement. “The best of the best showcase their unique menu pairings and diners are able to taste their way through each of Oakland’s unique neighborhoods.”

As is the case with each passing year, both Oakland and Berkeley’s lists of participating restaurants are stronger and more diverse than ever.

Camino. Photo: Camino Cookbook
Camino will offer a meal of dishes prepared in its wood oven. Photo reprinted with permission from This is Camino by Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain with Chris Colin, copyright 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photo: Yoko Takahashi © 2015

Oakland, in fact, has around 100 restaurants participating, several of which have opened to much fanfare in the last year. Calavera, in Uptown’s Hive complex, is serving brunch, lunch and dinner menus, each reasonably priced at $30. Some of the best dishes on the menu — we’re looking at you pollo con mole poblano — are included. Nearby, Parlour, which recently changed chefs, is offering a $40 four-course menu that includes a decadent-sounding chicken confit entree. Hen House will be joining its Swan’s Marketplace neighbors Cosecha, Miss Ollie’s, Rosamunde, B-Dama, and The Cook and Her Farmer in offering special menus. Rockridge newcomer Millennium will serve brunch and dinner specials.

In Jack London square, try visiting recently-opened Steel Rail Café, Overland Bar and GrillPlank or Lungomare. (It’s serving bottomless glasses of wine!) Or venture to North Oakland’s creative Baja-influenced Salsipuedes for a three-course meal and discounted drinks.

Other Oakland standbys, like Camino, Doña Tomás, Dopo, Duende, Haven, Juhu Beach Club, Michel Bistro and Shakewell, are also all offering deals. You can find a full list of participating restaurants, along with menus and a link to Open Table reservations, at Visit Oakland.

The patio at Mission Heirloom. Photo: Shelby Pope
The patio at Mission Heirloom, which will serve paleo dishes during Berkeley’s restaurant week. Photo: Shelby Pope
The patio at Mission Heirloom, which will serve paleo dishes during Berkeley’s restaurant week. Photo: Shelby Pope

Berkeley’s event also includes relative newcomers. The paleo café Mission Heirloom will offer a $20 menu with a bone broth (or soup) of the day, a choice of meaty or meat-less entree, and a grain-free dessert. (Avocado-pomelo tart, anyone?) Across Shattuck, Nico’s Hideaway will be serving a $35 dinner that includes oysters and chicken Parmesan, and Tigerlily will put its own unique spin on dinner. In Elmwood, stop into The Advocate for a three-course meal of its Mediterranean-influenced California cuisine. Or head to West Berkeley’s Longbranch Saloon for one of the better deals on offer — four courses for $35.

Like Oakland’s lineup, Berkeley’s Restaurant Week also includes established favorite spots like Comal, Corso, FIVE, Revival and Rivoli. The full list, with menus, is available on Visit Berkeley.

Both Restaurant Weeks are part of the statewide California Restaurant Month, a “promotional initiative created by Visit California in 2011 to encourage post-holiday travel to the Golden State during the month of January and to continue to position the state as the top culinary destination in the country,” according to Visit California’s website.

Updates on each event can be found on the Visit Oakland Facebook page and the Visit Berkeley Facebook page, as well as @visitoakland and @visitberkeley on Twitter.

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Kate Williams has been writing about food since 2009. After spending two years developing recipes for cookbooks at America’s Test Kitchen, she moved to Berkeley and began work as a freelance writer and...