Best restaurant gift card deals

Save big on holiday shopping with these restaurant gift cards.

Save big on holiday shopping with these restaurant gift cards.

The day after Halloween ended, holiday gift buying season began: Take down the cobwebs and pumpkins, put up the reindeer and wreaths. We here at the Hot Dish like to give restaurant gift cards, so we reviewed a bunch of the current offers to find five deals we especially like:

1. Morrissey Hospitality: buy $100, get $100 free If you can deal with its limitations, this one's the big kahuna of holiday gift card deals: If you buy $100 in gift cards for any one of the Morrissey restaurants--the Saint Paul Hotel, the St. Paul Grill, Pazzaluna, Tria Restaurant, Enjoy!, and Paradise Landing--you'll receive a free bonus package of five $20 gift cards at each of the other five properties. (Morrissey no longer manages Restaurant Max in the Hotel Minneapolis.) Offer runs through December 31, and the five bonus cards must be used by March 31, 2011. A few other restrictions: The promotional cards are valid for eat-in food only (no alcohol, no tax or gratuity, no cash value), not valid on the day of purchase, and only one card may be used per table.


2. Parasole: buy $100, get $25 free The bonus isn't as big, but they're easier to use. Parasole gift cards work for all the restaurants in the group--Manny's, the Living Room, Prohibition, Pittsburgh Blue, Salut Bar Américain, Chino Latino, Uptown Cafeteria & Support Group, Burger Jones, Il Gatto, Muffuletta, The Good Earth--and never expire. The holiday gift cards are available through December 24, 2010, and can be used anytime after December 25.

3. D'Amico: buy $100, get $25 free The D'Amico cards work the same way as Parasole: They're good at all the restaurants in the group: D'Amico and Sons, D'Amico Kitchen, Lurcat, Campiello, Masa, and Parma 8200. Bonus available for cards purchased before December 31, 2010, and valid for use from Jan 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.

4. Twin Cities Originals: Gift cards at 30 percent discount TCO, a collection of independently owned restaurants around the metro, offers periodic discounted gift card sales. Right now they're offering discounted certificates from a handful of them online--the selection isn't great, but if you see a restaurant you like (Biella, Great Waters Brewing, etc.), you can get a 30 percent savings.

5. Smashburger: buy $25, get $5 free Beginning Monday, Smashburger will be giving away Smashbuck coupons redeemable for a 1/3-pound Classic Smashburger or $5 off another purchase. Treat yourself to one of the limited edition Butterfinger shakes and Las Vegas-themed Sin City Smashburgers with fried egg, applewood-smoked bacon, American cheese, grilled onions, and haystack onions on top.