DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s a foodie paradise.

Dallas-Fort Worth is celebrating restaurant week where a 125 different restaurants offer three course dinners from $39 to $49.

“It’s a great opportunity for you to take advantage of experiencing those restaurants without spending a whole lot of cash,” said Andrew Rittler of Greater Dallas Restaurant Association.

He said to save on restaurant week food, try lunch instead or dinner… or “Linner.”

Many of the upscale restaurants are serving up “Cadillac” lunch experience menus… two courses for just $20.

The cheapest item on the menu may be one way to save, but also look for value to get a complete dining experience. If there is a meal you can make at home, skip it.

Splurge on unique dishes and quality items. “You can always get chicken but you can’t always get a good solid tuna steak, or solid salmon, even a choice cut of beef,” Rittler said.

Rittlers said restaurants need to markup ingredients to make money. A recent Plate IQ survey found restaurants mark up an average of 300 percent to cover costs. But the extra add-ons could cost you.

For example, the pepperoni on your pizza may cost a restaurant less than $.50 but it could cost you $3, which is a premium of 525 percent.

plate iq add ons Bon Appétit! Restaurant Week Offers Foodie Paradise At Pocket Friendly Prices

And it’s not just food. Rittler said alcohol costs have gone up 3000 percent. He believes the craft cocktail boom is behind it.

“If you are looking at Instagram you are looking at those craft cocktails now as you are those unique entrees,” she said.
Rittler said Instagram pictures may have a lot to do with rising prices and perhaps even our waistlines.

Other ways to save by taking an order to go and you could add the rest at home. Also, following your favorite restaurants could fetch you discounts and specials.

Asking for discounts can help too. Teachers and students with a valid ID, service members and senior discount are not advertised but it could get you as much as 10-15 percent off your meal.

Dining out isn’t just about the meal, it is an experience.

“You are paying for somebody to go in and provide you with a unique meal that you won’t otherwise get,” Rittler said.

Bon Appétit!