Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is TopTable Really Tops? Plus Southwest's Latest Sale

I have a love-hate relationship with restaurant coupons. Sometimes they're handy. More often they steer you to places that desperately need business,  have too-high prices to begin with and that are, frankly, not very good.

So I was skeptical when I stumbled upon the site Top Table. And it has its problems. It claims to cover 1000's of restaurants in 15 countries, but when you look closer, its clear that's more of a wish than a reality. Currently, the vast majority of its deals are in the United Kingdom, with a few sprinkled in other major European capitals (see below) and none in the US (as it claims).

That being said, the deals in the UK are impressive. Not just because they offer a eye-popping array of different types of discounts (50% off wine! free champagne for the ladies! two-lunches-for-the-price-of-one! 25% discount off food!). An entire section is filled with discounts to Michelin-starred joints, and another features restaurants that have earned other stellar reviews. All in all, enough of a recommendation, I think, for using the site to snag a discount.

Beyond the UK, the site seems to have good coverage in Paris, Berlin, and Rome (though not in Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona, Venice or Munich).

Food can be pricey across the pond, so give it a whirl. You may be able to enjoy a vacation-worthy meal at a good savings.

Southwest Discounts the Period Between the Holidays

$30, $60, $90 and $120--those are the prices being charged by Southwest Airlines for flights of of varying lengths (450 miles or less for the first price, 451-1000 for the second, 1001-1500 for the third and 1500-plus for the last). Overall, these represent a decent savings on many of the featured routes. Tickets must be purchased by end of day 11:59 pm (PT) on October 28 for travel between December 1 and 15 and also from January 4 to February 16. Click on the link above for more information on taxes, routes and regulations.

(Photo: A meal at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, one of the discounted restaurants; by Karen Croby).

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