Restaurants that are open when everyone else is resting really want your business, and many pull out extra stops with value-driven Sunday Supper specials. Unlike other industry-wide promotions that offer questionable portions and price points, these end-of-week meals are secretly awesome.

Sunday is an ideal night to get a taste of Cotogna in the Financial District, for example, where a weekly changing four-course menu ($55) provides more generous portions than other nights, when first course items alone run $18 each. Likewise, Oakland’s Homestead offers a new three-course menu ($35) each week, a good deal against the normal offerings, when entrees average $24.

There are perks beyond economics as well, including trying dishes or cuisine styles that aren’t on the menu on other nights. Citizen’s Band in SOMA offers an à la carte Sunday Supper menu ($2-14) of comfort food bites, but there are just three key words there to remember here: breakfast for dinner. You’ll have to ask what that means specifically on the night you go, as it is a changing, Sunday-only special. Footed pajamas are optional.

And then there are the truly personal experiences where you feel like you’re at a family dinner.

“This is how we prefer to cook and this is how we love to cook,” says Joe Wolf of Richmond District newcomer Marla Bakery, presiding over a long table of congenial strangers with plentiful plates in front of them. He and wife Amy Brown have hosted a communal Sunday Supper for the past six weeks, a lovely and leisurely four-course meal and wine pairing with a new inspiration and menu each time. Past editions have channeled the spirit of an Italian dinner party and explored the possibilities of rabbit and garden vegetables. Purchase tickets ($65) at least one hour before the 6 p.m. start time.

If you’re a mega-planner, note the date of October 5, when the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (aka CUESA) will host its 12th Annual Sunday Supper extravaganza and fundraiser. Dining al fresco with a dream team of local chefs and artisan food makers has come to be a cherished San Francisco Sunday tradition.

Marla Bakery photos by Tamara Palmer