NEW YORK —This is one of the more expensive places in the world to enjoy fine dining, and the city doesn't show many signs of becoming less spendy in the future. So what's a frugal foodie to do? One surefire strategy is to visit during the city's famed Restaurant Week. This year's festivities are taking place through Aug. 16. Deals, savings tricks and special menus abound if one knows where to look. Try these thrifty tips to make the most of the epicurean event.
Lunch: Participating restaurants offer fixed-price menus for lunch and dinner, but the lunch menus are set at a price tag of $25, while dinner menus ring in at $38. This makes meeting for lunch the far more economical choice and a convenient way to break things up between museum visits and sightseeing excursions. A wide variety of menu choices are available to enthusiastic foodies.
For example, sushi lovers will find lots to love about the lunch at HARU. It includes your choice of fish taco, seaweed salad or a shrimp and mixed green summer roll for the first course, followed by a selection of either a samurai roll combo, grilled chicken or salmon teriyaki or a special sushi plate. Dessert choices include green tea, red bean, vanilla or mango ice cream selections.
Those searching for higher-end comfort food may want to make their way to Delmonico's Kitchen, where menu selections include such decadent delights as a mushroom and sweet pea risotto, slow-cooked sirloin with French beans and whipped potato served with a cabernet sauce, and the dessert menu features such faves as local berry shortcake and classic beignets.
Payment: While many choose to travel with a credit card as opposed to cash for security purposes, in the case of New York City's Restaurant Week, credit cards also can save you money. Nycgo.com allows diners to register qualifying American Express cards online ahead of time. Once that's done, you simply order from the Restaurant Week menu and pay with your card to take an additional $5 off your order. Corporate and prepaid cards do not qualify, however, and you must spend a $25 minimum.
Activities: Choosing affordable activities and free venues is a great way to balance your New York travel budget and channel funds toward dining experiences. Nycxplorer.com founder Jeff Dobbins knows a little something about that and recommends strolling the streets to get the best sense of what the city offers. "Most of New York City's greatest attractions are free," according to Dobbins. Some of his favorite spots include Times Square, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Chinatown and Harlem.
This annual event allows travelers to dine in style while saving some dimes for other trip expenses. Prices do not include beverages, taxes or gratuities. While all registered menus are available from Monday through Friday during Restaurant Week, Sunday offerings are optional. Booking your excursion during the week is the safest bet for those looking to access savings for the duration of their vacation.
For more information and a list of restaurants, visit tinyurl.com/nyrestweek.