I love restaurant.com for casual meals. The basic concept is that you can buy credits for meals for a fraction of the price. So, you can buy $15 of credit for $2-5 depending on whether they have a sale or not. You can buy $25 of credit for $10. The deals depend on the sale that they are having at the time. If you sign up for their emails, you are sure to find the lowest price that they offer.
For most cities, there are many restaurants that are signed up for restaurant.com, which is why I love the website. If you are going out of a casual dinner, generally places that will take you that night, as opposed to Gary Danko or some place special, restaurant.com usually has a option for you.
In the city of San Francisco Bay Area where there is a lot of culinary talent and the marketplace is hyper-competitive, I have always found good options on all nights with restaurant.com. There was one time when I was starting out when I arrived at a restaurant and they informed me that they no longer take the certificates, but for the most part, if you call ahead you will not be disappointed.
There are a number of options on how to take advantage of the website. You can sign up at www.restaurant.com, and you can purchase at the time that you would like to dine. They will let you know if the restaurant has a particular discount available. When I first started out, I used to purchase directly from a restaurant. This is not the best option. You can also purchase general certificates and use them later. This is the preferred method because it does not lock you into any particular restaurant but does lock in the discount.
If you are a bargain shopper, you can also look for these certificates on eBay. Many times, you will find restaurant.com certificates from wholesalers for a price that is even lower than that offered by restaurant.com. For example, one day I thought that buying $15 off coupons of $25 purchases for $2 was a great deal, but later found them on eBay for $1.50 for a lot of 10. (You are required to make some purchase, and do tip on the full purchase amount.) Overall, if you just want to go out, and do not care about a specific restaurant, www.restaurant.com is a great deal. I have found many good restaurant this way.
Groupon, livingsocial and other websites are also great way to try restaurants because they offer a very steep discount. http://bit.ly/cABiMm I hope you will read this and my other articles. http://bit.ly/cLVm5f Thank you.