Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Berkeley Dining Passport

The Berkeley Dining Passport sounds like a great way to try local restaurants and support the Berkeley Food and Housing Project. For $20 a person, you get a dining card good for special offers and discounts at select restaurants until May 31, 2011. You can use the card as many times as you want at each location, but each restaurant may have certain restrictions, such as not valid for drinks or prix fixe menus.

The BDP is a non-profit organization created to help local business and the community by donating to the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, which helps alleviate homelessness and hunger.

Like any dining program, there are some hits and misses. Anh Hong and Dig's Bistro are on Restaurant.com, which has better deals when you use the promo code SUMMER, good until June 24. Instead of $5 off a bottle of wine at Anh Hong, go to Restaurant.com for a $10 gift certificate for $2. Bypass the free dessert with your entree from BDP and go to Restaurant.com for a $25 Dig's dining credit for $3.

The dining passport site says offers can change throughout the year and more restaurants may be added, but below are my highlights.

The much talked about and well-reviewed eVe: 50% off a third course with purchase of $25 2-course prix fixe

The equally buzz-worth FIVE: 10% off lunch or breakfast (drinks not included)

The charming if not kitschy Caffe Venezia: Free dessert with the purchase of an entree.

Classic French fare at Bistro Liasion: 10% off (drinks not included)

Family-style Chinese food at King Tsin: 20% off (drinks not included)

Average Italian fare at Filippos but maybe worth the $1 bottomless glass of wine with entree

Hidden Italian gem Riva Cucina: $1 glass of wine or free dessert with entree

The only drawback is that each dining card is good for one person, so everyone in the party needs the passport to get the special. It's not quite clear how it works at restaurants where you get a percentage off the bill, but I imagine it works on the whole tab.

For $20 and a year of use, I think it's a bargain for people who dine at least once a month. Purchase yours online, at the visitors bureau or at any participating restaurant.

Photo: www.berkeleydiningpassport.com

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