Foodies across New York City rejoice when NYC Restaurant Week comes to town. This twice-annual event features deals at over 370 of the city’s best restaurants, with prix-fixe meals coming in at only $26 for a two-course lunch and $42 for a three-course dinner.
From July 22 – August 16, 2019, the 2019 summer edition of Restaurant Week is upon us. Diners can sample the best cuisine across NYC, from every imaginable culinary tradition and in all conceivable styles.
If you’re going to be in New York City during this restaurant week, it can be overwhelming to target your meals. To help make your gustatory dreams come true, we’ve put together your guide to NYC Restaurant Week.
A Brief History of New York Restaurant Week
A frequently-imitated tradition in other cities across the U.S., restaurant week began in NYC in 1992. Devised by none other than Tim Zagat (of Zagat’s Restaurant Guide fame) and local restauranteur Joe Baum, Restaurant Week was first created to appeal to attendees of the 1992 Democratic National Convention. It immediately also attracted interested locals, who appreciated the opportunity to explore their city’s dining scene for less. It was, as you might surmise, a massive success and it’s been going strong ever since.
When is New York Restaurant Week 2019?
Restaurant Week takes place twice per year, usually once in the winter and once in the summer. The winter edition for 2019 has already taken place, but the summer iteration runs from July 22 to August 16, 2019.
Which Restaurants are Included in NYC Restaurant Week?
With upwards of 370 participating restaurants, it can be hard to keep track of your options. That’s why the official Restaurant Week website is a life-saver. It’s the only site to track all participating restaurants and allows you to filter by neighborhood, cuisine, and other factors.
Some of the most popular include James Beard Award-winners such as ABC Cocina (in Union Square), Bar Primi (in the East Village), Blue Fin (in the Theatre District), The Dutch (in SoHo), The Leopard at des Artistes (on the Upper West Side), and Morimoto NY (in the Meatpacking District). There are, of course, literally hundreds of other options, so feel free to browse!
How do the Special Restaurant Week Deals Work?
Restaurants that join in with Restaurant Week promotions agree to offer a portion of their menu prix-fixe (or, at a fixed price). This year, the deals are $26 per a two-course lunch and $42 per a three-course dinner (per person). You must choose dishes from their specific Restaurant Week menu. In some cases, this will be the only menu offered; in others, it will be an option alongside their regular menu. Be careful—ordering off the regular menu will mean you’re paying the menu price.
Best Tips for New York Restaurant Week
- If you can’t get a reservation at your #1 choice, try looking at lunch times instead. Dinner is usually much more popular.
- Many folks make reservations at the start of Restaurant Week; if you can wait a bit, you’ll find some of the crowds have died down. Of course, it’s also worth it to go multiple times!
- For inspiration in your choice of restaurant, check out the Instagram hashtag #nycrestaurantweek to see photos of what people are enjoying, and where.
- Be sure to check which restaurants are participating before you make a reservation—it’s ok to ask on the phone while you’re booking! The last thing you’d want is to show up and be disappointed.
- Keep in mind that the $42 dinner deal doesn’t usually include Saturdays, and may or may not be available on Sundays, at the discretion of the individual restaurants.
- It’s also important to note that some restaurants feature tip-included pricing, which means fairer wages for your server, as well as a bit of a jump in price. Maialino, Marta, The Bar Room at The Modern, Union Square Café, and Untitled will be charging $31/lunch and $50/dinner.
- Drink specials often abound at restaurant week, so if you’re inclined to imbibe, inquire at your chosen restaurant(s) if there are any RW drink deals, too!
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