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Yum: Albuquerque Restaurant Week is here

amorefromfileALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — If you count calories, this would be an excellent time to take a break.

Albuquerque Restaurant Week begins today, an eight-day dining bonanza featuring special menus — at special prices — at eateries throughout the metro area. Twenty different restaurants will participate this year, the event’s sixth annual, and they represent the city’s varied culinary landscape, from American to Spanish to Italian to Thai cuisine.

“It seems like we’ve covered the entire ethnic spectrum,” said Restaurant Week founder/organizer Michele Ostrove.

Each location will offer customers a three-course, prix-fixe dinner. Some also are doing lunch.

The dinner price varies by restaurant: Some cost $25 for a couple, while the rest run either $20, $30 or $40 per person.

At Jinja Bar & Bistro’s West Side location, for example, $20 gets an individual customer a choice of three appetizers (pot stickers, lettuce wraps or baby calamari); one of four entrees (pad Thai, rice-paper salmon, Teriyaki chicken or Mongolian beef); and a dessert (chocolate silk cake, macadamia coconut tart or gelato).

More information about each restaurant’s menu and pricing is available here.

Most of this year’s restaurants have taken part before, including established fine-dining eateries like Prairie Star, Seasons Rotisserie & Grill and Zinc.

But this year’s lineup also includes some younger restaurants, like Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria in Nob Hill and Soul & Vine in Downtown.

Torinos’ @ Home will also make its Restaurant Week debut in 2015. Co-owner Daniela Bouneou said she sees the event as a way to help first-timers discover the Italian eatery tucked into a shopping center at Journal Center.

“We’re very excited,” she said. “We are expecting to be busy, and we are ready.”

Ostrove said that by offering great meals at value prices this week, restaurants can bring in — and, ideally, win over — some new customers.

“This encourages people who would normally be Applebee’s diners, let’s say, to jump up to the next level and try a restaurant they might not normally try,” she said.