1/17/2013 03:40:00 PM

Sponsored: Breakaway for NYC Restaurant Week® - 10 Tips for Deal-Savvy Dining

There are two exciting things on the horizon that will get you through a chilly winter in NYC. First, Norwegian Cruise Line is getting ready to launch its biggest ship to call NYC home, Norwegian Breakaway. The ship sets sail this May and will take Big Apple dwellers to sunny Bermuda, offering mouthwatering food options ranging from Japanese hibachi to Brazilian-style churrascaria. There will be a whopping 28 dining options – the most of any ship at sea, including some awesome fare from celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian.

But, what should you do if you’re hungry now?

Fear not – it’s NYC Restaurant Week! Before the best of NYC sails to sea, you can kill time before your cruise by loading up on $25 and $38 three-course lunches and dinners at some of New York City’s best restaurants. The promotion is in effect from January 14 to February 8 (page through the guide to see which eateries are participating), and check out our 10 tips to get the most from your culinary excursion and check out a guide to NYC Restaurant Week here.


1. Look for the lunch-only establishments. If you need help figuring out which are the best restaurants, a good rule of thumb is that those only serving the lunch promotion are generally better.

2. Sunday is a great night for dinner. A number of venues that don’t serve the NYC Restaurant Week menu during the PM will offer it on Sunday only. Like the lunch-only spot, the eateries that feature Sunday dinners are generally better.

3. If you can’t get a reservation, walk in. The most popular NYC Restaurant Week venues can book up fast but that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. Most establishments participating in the promotion also offer the menus at their bars and at tables set aside for walk-ins.

4. Investigate menus for extra deals. All participating eateries give you your three courses and send you on your merry way, right? Wrong. A lot of venus offer extras. Some do four courses. Others have inexpensive wine or beer pairings. To get the most for your dollar, strategize with the menus before you book your rezzies.

5. Beware the “special” menu that’s actually offered year-round. NYC Restaurant Week is only for a limited time, and 90% of the venues offer menus that are legitimately special. A few sneaky entrants rebrand menus that are offered year-round. Don’t waste a booking on an option you can have any old day of the week.

6. Menu supplementals will add up. Twenty-five dollar lunches and $38 dinners are solid deals, but hidden on those prix fixe menus are upcharges for certain ingredients. Those lobster tacos are $12 extra, and that foie gras appetizer will be another $8, please. Suddenly your $38 deal is turning into a $75-plus extravaganza.

7. Service is better at old favorites. While it might be appealing to hit up that hot new spot that is offering NYC Restaurant Week for the first time, they are likely going to be dealing with huge crowds and might be less on-point than usual. Industry vets like Daniel Boulud and Jean Georges won’t have any of these kinks.
NYC Restaurant Week is a yearly part of their business, and they had the model perfected long ago.

8. In that vein, be generous with your tips. Establishments are much more crowded during NYC Restaurant Week than they normally are, and the servers may be extra stressed. Be patient, and as a general rule you should tip them on what the full value of the meal would have been without the deal.

9. Follow social media for the best suggestions. The organizers of the promotion have set up a hashtag – #NYCRW. Follow it on social media to find the best bets, and make sure to share your thoughts so others can do the same.

10. Get a deal on dinner and a show. NYC Restaurant Week lasts from January 14 to February 8. But did you know that Broadway Week runs from January 22 to February 7? Both promotions are organized by NYC & Company, and the theatrical promotion will score you two-for-one tickets to a select group of shows. Start your night with a fixed-price dinner and then get an equally good deal on that musical you’ve been planning to see. See the list of participating shows here.

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