It’s that time again: NYC Restaurant Week, the twice-a-year, month-long celebration of actually being able to afford a meal at some of the city’s most expensive and classic restaurants begins July 25th and runs through August 19th. With New Yorkers being on vacation and restaurants needing to fill seats, the strategically timed Restaurant Week allows diners to easily get a reservation at places that are typically impossible to get into. Restaurant Week is also easily one of the most affordable ways to indulge in a tasting menu, with three-course lunches at $29 and dinners at $42 across the board. Gratuity and beverages aren’t included, but the deals are still notable at many restaurants where you can’t usually dine for under three figures. While many restaurants mitigate this cost by serving alternative menu items rather than the specialties that made them famous, Restaurant Week is still a good opportunity to get a taste of the ambiance and cooking, and you should maybe even opt for a menu upgrade at some of these spots. Here are the best deals.
TriBeCa and Midtown
It’s hard to leave LDV Hospitality and Marc Forgione’s luxe steakhouse without spending a good portion of your rent, so the Restaurant Week menu, which includes not three but four courses, is truly a steal. Appetizer options include the OG 1924 Caesar salad (usually $14), tossed tableside for low-key steakhouse entertainment, as well as Jim Brady oysters (usually $18!) made with Champagne and black truffle, if you need to feel fancy. The obvious main course is the 9oz hanger steak rubbed with the restaurant’s signature pastrami spice, to be paired with a side of either creamed spinach and sunchoke with fontina, or legendarily creamy “robuchon” potato puree. And if you’re still hungry (pace yourself, there’s ice cream at the end), the restaurant’s signature crackerjack sundae (normally $12) is on deck for dessert.
Jeans and sneakers are banned here, harkening back to Prohibition days when dress codes were the norm, so be sure to borrow some clothes from your finance bro friend before going out. The standard pre-theater menu is $48 before 6:30pm, while an a la carte entree hovers near $40 and up, so the $42 all-night dinner special is certainly a bargain. Dishes will include an appetizer of hamachi sashimi with avocado and breakfast radish chili-ponzu dressing; a main course of grilled flatiron steak with yellow wax beans, creamed corn, and watercress; and an optional side supplement of truffled mac & cheese ($12) -- certainly worth the splurge. The best deal of all here may be the suggested wine pairings, which range from just $8-$10.
Upper West Side
You really can’t go wrong eating anywhere with Daniel Boulud’s stamp of approval, and though Cafe Boulud and DBGB are also great Restaurant Week options, the seaside ambiance of Boulud Sud on a hot summer day can’t be beat. Dishes will include chilled tomato gazpacho with watermelon (usually $17), hand-made ricotta ravioli with zucchini-basil pesto, seared local albacore tuna with charred corn and freekeh tabbouleh, and Boulud’s ratatouille topped with a slow-cooked egg and croûtons. A daily rotation of ice creams will be served for dessert.
Midtown East, Meatpacking, and Upper East Side
Trendy Mediterranean spot Fig & Olive now boasts three NYC locations, all of which are participating in Restaurant Week. Menus vary slightly here for lunch and dinner, but you’ll still be getting the most bang for your buck with dishes like salmon crudo, octopus gallega (typically $18 at dinner!), truffle risotto, Mediterranean branzino, and a special paella del mar made with scallops, black tiger shrimp, calamari, and mussels in saffron rice. Add a trio of crostini for $8 (usually $12), or just pack it up for tomorrow’s lunch.
The chef’s seven-course tasting menu runs $170 at this Midtown mainstay, and while the Restaurant Week menu features staunchly different dishes, you’re still getting a memorable meal from the same kitchen. This season’s menu includes corn soup, fusilli with basil pesto and smoked scamorza cheese, salmon on green pea mash with orange and Champagne dressing, and grilled eggplant Parmigiana with buffalo ricotta cheese that’s probably much better than the Parm hero from your local bodega.
Book your sushi power lunch at this TriBeCa hotspot, where sushi lunch usually starts at $29 for a single course, and a dinner omakase starts at $120. An impressively sushi-heavy Restaurant Week menu (no BS sweet potato tempura and noodle filler carbs here) includes sashimi salad, miso cod, fluke sashimi, and “assorted sushi,” which is definitely a step up from whatever Seamless California roll you were contemplating ordering at home.
Upper East Side
Michael White has a steady cohort of restaurants participating in Restaurant Week, but the menu at his new Provençal spot offers the best deals. To start, diners can choose luxe hors d’oeuvres including pork terrine (as opposed to the $27 guinea hen and foie gras terrine on the regular menu) and halibut quenelle, to be followed by fillet of local bluefish with corn succotash, a summer cassoulet with duck confit, or fresh rigatoni with lamb ragout. White’s pastas are what put him on the NYC dining map, so be sure to bring someone to split entrees with.
Midtown East and Midtown West
Boasting one of the most diverse menus this Restaurant Week, Empire Steak House offers massive discounts that promise substantial portions of food that’ll easily be transformed into leftover lunches for the rest of the month. Options include starters like extra-thick sizzling Canadian bacon ($5.25/slice normally), fried calamari ($15 normally), eggplant Parmigiana ($16 normally), and Caesar salad ($13 normally), as well as mains ranging from New York sirloin, boneless rib-eye, filet mignon, lamb chops, salmon fillets, shrimp scampi, sole Francese, and various pasta dishes. Dessert is also included! Wear stretchy pants.
The easiest way to try food from a variety of chefs this Restaurant Week? A meal at Chefs Club. Dishes crowdsourced from top chefs appear on the lunch and dinner menus, but Chefs Club is also changing it up by offering a $29, three-course brunch menu (usually $34 for two items and a beverage). Not only is this a great deal, but it makes bottomless drinking look pathetic when you can pretty much have endless food, including a fantastic crushed avocado tartine topped with feta and olive ($14 ala carte!), chef Gabriel Rucker’s duck hash, French toast piled high with mixed berries and dripping maple syrup ($12 a la carte!), or a smoked salmon platter with an everything bagel. You don’t even have to choose between sweet and savory, because this brunch comes with dessert!
Restaurant Week is a great time to visit this seasonally evolving restaurant just before Park Avenue Autumn hits. Chicken, steak, pork, seafood, and vegetarian options (corn gnocchi with truffles) are all on the Restaurant Week menu, though any self-respecting diner will supplement with a glass of Frozé, because summer doesn’t last forever, and what’s a summer meal without a boozy slushie anyway?
Though TOTG may not be a top culinary pick, the views and just-touristy-enough experience of eating here are worth experiencing for any New Yorker, so why not get a deal while you do it? Take a long lunch with a special menu that includes beet salad, pan-roasted silver hake, and “Our Cauliflower Entree,” which consists of roasted cauliflower, cauliflower purée, golden raisins, capers, basil, and pomegranate reduction, and is usually $24 all on its own.
In what may be the best deal of all, David Burke Kitchen is allowing diners to pick any combo of a starter, main, and dessert off his menu to create your own Restaurant Week special. With starters typically ranging from $15-$21 and mains from $26-39, Restaurant Week is basically a Groupon here. Note that some dishes with premium ingredients, like duck breast, scallops, and leg of lamb, will have surcharges.
Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, and Upper East Side
If you’re trying to keep it healthy, skip the creamed dishes and accessory desserts and opt for the Japanese Teishoku lunch set at this seafood spot. The special $29 meal includes miso soup, rice, and a choice of main courses including yuzu miso broiled black cod, tonkatsu pork, a selection of 12 assorted seasonal vegetables, and other healthy, low-cal supplements to the midday feast.
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1. American Cut363 Greenwich St, New York
2. 21 Club21 W 52nd St, New York
3. Boulud Sud & Epicerie Boulud20 W 64th St, New York
4. Fig & Olive420 W 13th St, New York
5. Le Cirque151 E 58th St, New York
6. Nobu105 Hudson St, New York
7. Vaucluse100 E 63rd St, New York
8. Empire Steak House237 West 54th Street, New York
9. Chefs Club by Food & Wine275 Mulberry Street, New York
10. Park Avenue Autumn/Winter/Spring/Summer360 Park Ave S, New York
11. Tavern on the Green2 W 67th St, New York
12. David Burke Kitchen23 Grand St, New York
13. Sushi Seki UES1143 1st Ave, New York
Marc Forgione's American Cut might not be among the class of old-school New York steakhouses, but the swanky, Atlantic City-based restaurant is one of the best spots for wet- and dry-aged beef in the city. The menu is simple but sophisticated, featuring tableside-chopped caesar salad, tomahawk ribeye and porterhouse for two, and out-of-this-world Cracker Jack sundae for dessert. The interior is dark and sleek with Art Deco touches, exposed brick walls, and leather booths.
Since 1930, The 21 Club has attracted celebrities and A-list clientele to its sophisticated dining room right by the Theatre District. It's also one of America's most famous speakeasies from the Prohibition era, with a disappearing bar and secret wine cellar that's now home to an award-winning wine selection.
Setting up side-by-side, these two new Boulud-staurants are taking very different approaches: EB's a dine in/take out market with copious charcuterie, Saxelby-curated cheeses, sandwiches, and an oyster bar, while Sud's an upscale Mediterranean concept boa
The MPD spot, overseen by Julio Iglesias' former personal chef Pascal Lorange, is more convenient, but the focus is the same: olive oils.
Though its mention on Mad Men wasn't entirely accurate -- the season was set in 1968 and the restaurant didn't open until 1974 -- this classically French restaurant is still a Manhattan institution. Having bounced from the Mayfair Hotel to the New York Palace Hotel and finally landing at the Bloomberg Building you can expect the crème de la crème with a slight Belgian flair from Executive Chef Raphael Francois, who has worked for many a Michelin-starred restaurant. And of course, there's no chance you'll miss one of the tallest wine towers in the city.
From master chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro, this original location of Nobu opened in the 90s when Tribeca was still a burgeoning neighborhood and not yet the playground of well-bred preschoolers and Taylor Swift. Nobu has been an A-List restaurant from the start, serving Matsuhisa's signature Japanese fusion dishes like black cod miso and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. The David Rockwell-designed space has a ritzy zen-like feel with birch wood accents and a wall made of river stones.
Vaucluse is Chef Michael White's venture into the upscale French brasserie format, a departure from the Italian fare he’s known for at Marea, Osteria Morini, and Ai Fiori. A pair of expensively appointed 80-seat dining rooms, decked out in creams and grays and connected by a lounge area, provide an attractive backdrop for mostly traditional takes on Gallic cuisine. White tablecloths and attentive service accompany mainstays like beef tartare, duck-pork terrine, seared scallops, and pork tenderloin -- if you don’t opt for a dish from the rotating cast of old favorites like boeuf Bourguignon.
Empire Steak House -- with locations in both Midtown East and West -- is a classy, upscale steakhouse for the buttoned-up, power dining crew. The comprehensive menu features steaks and chops, including imported Japanese Wagyu, as well as seafood and pasta dishes. The dining room fits the restaurant's conservative vibe with white linen-covered tables and mirrors on the wall.
Located in the Puck Building, Chefs Club, created by Food & Wine, pulls from the magazine's roster of Best New Chefs to head the kitchen and serve up eats like pastrami flatbread; seafood pan roast with grits, Carolina roe & paprika; and Colorado lamb chops with cotechino, endive & faro.
No two dining experiences at Park Avenue are ever alike, because the menu and interior change with every season. Locals enjoy stopping by throughout the year to taste inspiring new breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch dishes in a redesigned space, but the main draw is the California-style burger (served two to an order!), which is thankfully available all year.
This iconic Central Park institution has been the focal point in many rom-com films for its picturesque setting on the western edge of the park. Truth be told, you go to Tavern of the Green for the ambience more than the food, but the menu of upscale country club-like dishes -- think Cobb salad, a house burger, and grilled salmon -- is well-executed.
David Burke's restaurant inside The James Hotel emphasizes upscale, locally-sourced American food in a chic, Soho setting. The menu features elegant takes on comfort foods (tater tots and caviar, anyone?), and the dinner menu includes a generous selection of salt block beef. The restaurant is open all day and has an excellent outdoor seating situation.