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Might this be Volterra's dessert?

Image: Facebook

You know Dine Around Seattle, the dining promo in which a set group of restaurants—47 this time—provide three-course dinners for the prix fixe cost of $33, Sundays through Thursdays. Some also offer $18 lunches. You reserve as usual, then order your starter, main, and dessert off the special Dine Around Seattle menu. Easy.

Tougher may be deciding where to go. Lucky you have Seattle Met to match your dining desires with just the right destination:

You want a sense of history? Choose Ponti, the viewy north Queen Anne classic whose owner Rich Malia co-founded Dine Around Seattle 15 years ago. Back then the promotion was a tough sell for Malia and his partners, who labored to snag 25 participants for the promotion then called “25 for $25.” They chose March and November because they’re notoriously slow restaurant months. This year’s Dine Around Seattle runs March 6 through March 31.

You want Japanese food? Nishino. If it’s full, Chiso.

How about someplace new? Go for the gorgeous new steakhouse from Monsoon’s and Ba Bar’s Eric Banh, Seven Beef. Or another beautiful meat house, Chop Shop, from Ericka Burke (Volunteer Park Cafe).

You want only proven winners? In that case, proceed directly to Poppy on North Capitol Hill, Bar Dojo in Edmonds, or Volterra (Ballard and Kirkland)—they won “Local Best” in last November’s Dine Around Seattle for Best Appetizer, Best Entree, and Best Dessert, respectively. (It’s anyone’s guess what they’ll all be serving this year...except for Poppy, whose chef and owner Jerry Traunfeld has mentioned diners’ choice of his multi-plate feasts called thali. Order the veg or meat version, which will feature orange-chili braised short ribs, oyster stew, and Indian spiced potato fritters.)  

Lunch? Monsoon (both Eastside and North Capitol Hill) and Toulouse Petit reliably knock it out of the park.

How about Italian? Cantinetta in Wallingford, Rione XIII on Capitol Hill, and Cafe Lago in Montlake have all earned their fans.  

You say you’re gluten-free? Capitol Cider then, which even gluten-lovers will admire. But you already knew that.

You want a deal? Dine Around Seattle always offers one or two opportunities to feel like you’re getting away with murder for your $33, and this year the spendy Hitchcock on Bainbridge Island and the spendy new Korean steakhouse Girin are two that provide that sense of relative value.

Um…no. Sorry folks, but there are always a few lackluster joints on the list too. Unless Coastal Kitchen on Capitol Hill’s 15th or Mamma Melina’s near U Village are the only spots in your orbit—don’t use Dine Around Seattle to try them.