Explore new haunts or revisit old favourites during Los Angeles' budget-friendly restaurant week, featuring prix-fixe, three-course menus at more than 300 restaurants.

This week marks the start of dineLA, an annual, two-week event that allows diners the chance to explore new restaurants or revisit old favourites via budget-friendly prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus.

More than 300 dining destinations are participating in dineLA, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, including some restaurants which have been involved since the event’s inception, like Border Grill, Ford’s Filling Station and Valentino.

Neal Fraser, the chef at BLD and Grace, said his restaurants started participating because, “we were ready for Los Angeles to be taken seriously as a culinary destination. It is exciting to witness how the program and our restaurant community have grown over the last five years.”

The event has three dining categories -- deluxe, premier and fine dining -- which range from wallet-friendly to splurge-worthy. Each restaurant offers specially priced three-course meals, starting at $16 for lunch and $26 dinner. Try chef Sang Yoon’s exotic $22 lunch menu at Lukshon in Culver City, with spicy chicken pops, chicken rendang in Malay spices and a lemongrass pannacotta. Or book a romantic dinner at Scott Conant’s Scarpetta at the Montage in Beverly Hills and enjoy a creamy polenta, short rib agnolotti and coconut pannacotta for $44.

There are also additional deals on offer during the event, which runs from 22 January to 27 January and 29 January to 3 February. New burger joint Short Order at the Farmers Market on Fairfax is offering a $5 gift certificate to be redeemed at its next door bakery Short Cake if you eat lunch or dinner there. And American Express Card members can unlock even more deals by checking into participating dineLA restaurants via the social networking site Foursquare.

Caroline Pardilla is the Los Angeles Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes Carolineoncrack.com.