Bite, 1417 University Avenue, Hillcrest, 619-299-2483, bitesd.com.
Some of these deals are time-limited, so after April 30, when you call to reserve, check to make sure they’re still available. In order of price, low to higher:
Jsix: Monday Night Meatballs, served over a huge bowl of pasta, for just $12, including a glass of wine — try and beat that deal! Better yet, inventive chef Christian Graves isn’t just grinding out beef balls — they could be made of short ribs, duck, or even shrimp. Hotel Solamar, 616 J Street, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-531-8744, jsixsandiego.com.
Laurel: Mad Monday, offering a burger, fries, and a beer for $14.95. On Tuesdays, tapas are discounted. Wednesdays, wine bottles are half off; Thursdays, it’s “buy one entrée, get one free,” if you share some good news with your server. 505 Laurel Street, Banker’s Hill, 619-239-2222, sdurbankitchen.com.
Mr. Tiki Mai Tai Lounge: Mondays, all-you-can-eat sushi, $20; it ain’t Ota’s, but these ain’t Ota’s prices. Happy-hour cocktail discounts (including the tasty, silly umbrella drinks that are Mr. Tiki’s real specialty), 5:00–7:00 p.m. nightly. Over 21 only. 801 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-233-1183, dinecrg.com.
Dakota Grill: Three-course prime-rib roast dinner $25.50, 5:00–8:00 p.m. weeknights and all evening Monday, plus on Tuesdays, 50 percent off wine bottles. 901 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-234-5554; dinecrg.com.
Savory: Sunset Suppers, three courses of delicious French-based fare for $29, 5:00–6:00 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday; wine half-bottles half-price Tuesday–Wednesday. 267 North El Camino Real, Encinitas, 760-634-5556, savorycasualfare.com.
Quarter Kitchen: You don’t have to be a rich celeb anymore to eat at the Ivy Hotel — but you’ll still eat richly. New chef Nathan Coulon (last at Modus), a local favorite from the Belgian Lion family, is offering an early-bird prix-fixe of three savory-sounding courses for $30, 5:30–7:00 p.m. nightly. Entrée choices are Cabernet-braised short ribs, blackened hamachi with miso glaze, and vegetarian zucchini and artichoke pasta with truffle oil. Ivy Hotel, 600 F Street, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-814-2000, quarterkitchen.com.
Prado: At this lovely garden of eatin’, the special is a three-course prix-fixe dinner for $32.95 (there’s a wild-mushroom risotto vegetarian entrée option), including wine pairings for each course, available all evening Sundays (excluding Easter) and Tuesday–Thursday through April 30. House of Hospitality, 1549 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619-557-9441, dinecrg.com.
Greystone, the Steakhouse: The recession humbles even the mighty, now offering a $35 prix-fixe three-course early-bird special, plus a pair of matched wines for $10 more, nightly from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Don’t expect Porterhouse — choices include flat iron steak, bourbon-brined pork chop, chicken, or salmon, plus a “vegetarian” option of wild-mushroom risotto — cooked in chicken stock. (Wheelchair access to front patio tables only; dining rooms up- or downstairs.) 658 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-232-0225, greystonesteakhouse.com.
Blue Point: Sunday Night Alaskan king crab with 1H pounds of crab in a three-course prix-fixe dinner for $40, through April. 565 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-233-6623, dinecrg.com.
Blanca: An extraordinary price drop for anytime meals at an extraordinary restaurant, featuring the thoroughly modern cuisine of chef Wade Hageman, a Michael Mina protégé, coddling the best seasonal and local ingredients (and a few little exotics, such as a starter of miso-marinated Japanese Kobe beef). Prix-fixe dinners of three courses are $46, wine-pairings $29 (with options for more courses and more wines higher). No restrictions for hours, days, or dishes — it’s all yours, anytime. 437 South Highway 101 (at Dahlia), Solana Beach, 858-792-0072, dineblanca.com.
A.R. Valentien: Featuring some of the tastiest, most arresting food in the county in an exquisite setting (inside or outside), chef Jeff Jackson’s new, more affordable menu of seasonal, mainly local, delicious cuisine offers smaller portions at smaller prices, with no item over $21. (Note: The unhelpful website, concentrating on decor, shows no prices on the sample menu.) The Lodge at Torrey Pines, 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 858-453-4420, lodgetorreypines.com.
Terra Incognita: Unreviewed Restaurants with Bargain Meals
Here are a few places I haven’t yet been but recommended by readers and colleagues (in alphabetical order):
Andiamo! Ristorante: This one is taking off; I’ve heard about it from several “good palates.” Located out in Tierrasanta, the owners are reportedly planning to open a downtown location — soon, I hope! The early-bird special offers three luscious courses for $16.95 before 6:00 p.m. I’ll have the shrimp and crab agnolloti with brown butter and sage sauce, grazie — oh, wait, maybe the stuffed roast salmon! (Note: website doesn’t show early-bird menu.) 5960 Santo Road, Tierrasanta, 858-277-3501, andiamo-ristorante.com.
Khan’s Cave: The restaurant is new, but the owner-chef will be familiar to many. He’s Mark Sun, of the delightful Chinese-fusion restaurant Del Mar Rendezvous (and before that, East County’s popular Szechuan-Mandarin Restaurant). At his latest venture, the food is fusion again, and the bargain is a limited choice of five items (including steak frites, wine-braised short rib, and gingered snapper) for $9 each, from 5:00 p.m. until closing on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, wine bottles are half-price, too. 9350 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, 858-279-9799, khanscave.com.
OB Noodle House: My correspondent writes, “Consistent flavors and about $7 for a huge pho. Sweet sticky rice for dessert, served in a length of corked bamboo.” Sounds yummy! Online, many bloggers mention great spring rolls and peanut sauce, an awesome beer list — and excessive crowds, waits, and noise after 7:30 p.m., especially on weekends. This is obviously one of those mom ’n’ pops that has won over the hearts of its neighborhood. So if you’re a grownup, go early, and on a weeknight. 2218 Cable Street (near Voltaire Avenue), Ocean Beach, 619-450-6868, obnoodlehouse.com.