While prix fixe menus and other special deals proliferate at local restaurants in the summer, some also stage dinner series that dial in the cooking of specific food regions around the globe. The format gives chefs a chance to explore particular cuisines. Two in particular have become annual traditions.
For more than a dozen summers, Vega Tapas Cafe (2051 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-836-2007; www.vegatapascafe.com) has produced its Mediterranean series, featuring a different country's cuisine each week on a special menu available Monday through Saturday. This week, the tour hits Egypt (through July 28) and subsequent menus feature Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain. Each menu includes five to eight small plates and costs $27 and optional wine pairing is an additional $15.
In the Warehouse District, Adolfo Garcia's restaurant a Mano (870 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-208-9280; www.amanonola.com) focuses on specific regions of central and southern Italy for special menus served on Wednesday nights only. The Calabria region is featured Wednesday, July 24, and the series will include Sicily, Campania, Sardinia and Tuscany. These regional menus are served through Aug. 21, and each multi-course meal costs $35.