Maine Restaurant Week, an annual event in which restaurants offer menus with special pricing, will return for its eighth year March 1 and run through March 12.

Traditionally, the kick-off is held the Friday before with the Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off, a popular event in which the public votes on its favorite breakfast dishes from local restaurants. This year’s cook-off will be held from 7 to 9 a.m. Feb. 26 at the Sea Dog Brewing Co., at 125 Western Ave. in South Portland. Saltwater Grille, Tiqa, Sonny’s, Vignola Cinque Terre and Bayside American Cafe are among the 10 restaurants that will compete for the title of “Best Breakfast.”

Tickets cost $20, and since the event usually sells out in advance, will not be available at the door. Proceeds benefit the Preble Street Resource Center.

During Restaurant Week, participating restaurants serve fixed-price menus with price points of $25, $35, $45 and $55. The menus can be reviewed online beginning in February.

Several other food events will be peppered throughout the two-week event. A food-and-cocktail pairing competition returns this year, with a new format. Spirit Quest will be held in Portland’s Old Port from 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 28. Ticket holders will receive wrist bands and maps to participating restaurants and vote for their favorite cocktail samples and food bites. More than a dozen restaurants have already signed up, including Timber, Boone’s, the Inkwell at the Press Hotel, the Corner Room, and Eve’s at the Portland Harbor Hotel. Tickets cost $40 and are available online.

On March 13, from 2 to 4 p.m., Coffee By Design will bring Restaurant Week to a close by hosting a Coffee and Dessert Pairing at its coffee bar and warehouse at One Diamond St. Ticket holders will learn about brewing techniques, roasting, flavor and body, and sample desserts from bakeries such as Little Bigs, Scratch and Two Fat Cats. Tickets cost $35 and can be purchased online.

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