Vive la prix fixe!

In case you missed it, here’s a rundown of some cheap prix fixe dinners at local French restaurants that appeared in Thursday’s Go! section of the Monterey Herald. I’ll be reposting my reviews and stories from my weekly column for the Herald here on my blog along with extra photos that didn’t appear in print.

These days, it seems more restaurants are bringing back prix fixe menus — and not just for special occasions, like Monterey Bay Restaurant Week, wrapped up last night.

A lot of people find French food too pricey, but many local French restaurants offer ways to enjoy French cuisine on a budget.

I realized during the Restaurant Week celebration that prix fixe menus are all the rage year-round at many of our local French restaurants. And even better, it’s nice to see many of these are priced pretty reasonably, given this gloomy economy. It’s a great way to sample some delicious fare around town without breaking the bank.

The prix fixe dinner at Carmel Food Company now includes an Italian classic: arancini.

Carmel Food Company (Carmel) has expanded its Monday night prix fixe dinner special to every night, offering a three-course dinner for just $29. Highlights of the menu include appetizers like their delicious arancini — the best on the Monterey Peninsula — and entrees like the chicken fricassee or Hungarian goulash.

Also in Carmel, L’Escargot offers a three-course prix fixe menu with classic French fare for $36. Choose from appetizers like a p té du jour or French onion soup and entrees like coq au vin or steak frites.

During the week, Fifi’s Bistro Café (Pacific Grove) features a build-your-own prix fixe dinner — pair selected entrées with soup, salad, pate, dessert or a half-bottle of wine. Pick two courses for $20 or three for $25.

Le Normandie offers a steal of a meal on Tuesdays and Wednesdays that's popular with many locals.

And of course Le Normandie (Pacific Grove) dishes out a steal of a meal on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Get soup or salad, plus an entrée — usually a choice of two selections — with a glass of house wine for just $18.95. It’s a great deal, especially when you consider the roasted half-chicken is often on the menu.

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