New York City Restaurant Week is a biannual New York City tradition that has been embraced by New Yorkers and tourists alike. Participating restaurants offer prixe fixe, three-course lunches and dinners, which allow customers to enjoy a meal at a fine dining establishment at a fraction of the usual cost. Restaurant Week in NYC is a great time to try restaurants that are usually out of your budget or to try new restaurants with less risk. It is a win-win for restaurants and diners, because restaurants can attract people who normally may not dine with them, while diners are given a great deal.
When is Restaurant Week?
Lasting four weeks, NYC Restaurant Week is held twice a year, once in the winter (February/ March) and once in the summer (July/August).
How Did New York City Restaurant Week Begin?
NYC Restaurant Week began in 1992 as the brainchild of Tim Zagat and Joe Baum. Intended as a lunch-only, one-time event, since its inception, Restaurant Week has caught-on with a frenzy and is a popular concept not only in New York, but also in many cities across the globe.
What is the Cost of a Meal During Restaurant Week?
Prices for prixe fixe three-course meals at participating restaurants in NYC are currently around $25 for lunch and $38 for dinner. The meal will typically be comprised of an appetizer, soup or salad as the first course; an entree as the second course; and dessert as the third course. The price does not include drinks, tips or tax.
Which Restaurants Participate?
Hundreds of restaurants participate during NYC Restaurant Week, ranging from hip new bistros to well-known fine dining establishments. Renowned restaurants that have participated in the past include Nobu, the Cecil, Benchmark, and Boulud Sud. The full list of participating restaurants is typically featured on the NYC & Company’s website.
What Are the Restrictions to Diners?
Many dining establishments only offer the Restaurant Week menu on weekdays. Saturdays are excluded from Restaurant Week, and participation on Sundays is optional. Some restaurants will participate for lunch but not dinner, and others will not allow just one diner in a party to order off of the Restaurant Week Menu, but instead, will require the whole table to do so. Additionally, now that Restaurant Week has become a month-long affair, some eateries will only choose to participate during the first one or two weeks.
What Should Be Considered When Choosing a Restaurant?
Type of Establishment
In order to choose the best place to eat, first consider what type of cuisine and dining atmosphere that you would like to experience. From causal environments to find dining, participating restaurants will offer a variety of fare ranging from French to Italian to Asian Fusion.
Before you settle on a restaurant, do your research online. Explore reviews to see what the average dining experience is like. Some review sites will also have pictures of the interior of the restaurant, as well as food that patrons have received in the past, both of which might influence your decision.
Most restaurants will post their Restaurant Week menu online, which will allow you to check out the type of food they serve in advance. Be sure to dine at a restaurant that provides an extensive menu. Although it is typical for a restaurant to offer a small selection on their prixe fixe menu, some restaurants will offer played-down dishes that are not on their regular menu, while others may limit their menus to only one or two options for each course.
At some upscale restaurants, paying $25-$38 for a prixe fixe menu may be a great deal, but at casual establishments, it may be more expensive than at typical meal. Compare the Prixe Fixe menu to their normal menu to see if it will be worth it.
If you are a vegetarian or have other dietary restrictions, be sure to confirm your options in advance. Some restaurants will not offer flexible Restaurant Week menu options.
Making the Most of Restaurant Week in NYC
Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to try out new restaurants and explore the NYC dining scene. Restaurant Week is always a busy time, so be sure to make reservations well in advance to secure a spot at your chosen eatery. Avoid restaurants that dumb their menus down for restaurant week, and try to find restaurants that offer a variety of options. Whether you want to enjoy an old favorite at a more convenient price or try something new, make the most of NYC Restaurant Week with these helpful tips.