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Best Pics for Winter Restaurant Week

Can you please suggest 5 places for dinner and 5 for lunch you'd recommend? Those of us on a tight budget can only afford the good stuff on these special deals. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Hi at this time I doubt that any good restaurants will have any spot left for restaurant week...

    1. I checked some for you. The well-liked places (Eleven Madison, Cafe Boulud, Chanterelle, etc) are definitely taken.

      That said, there still seem to be some lunch and dinner spots at Devi (upscale Indian).

      If you live in the city, why don't you just wait until after RW? Many of these restaurants have the same deals for a weekday lunch. Gotham Bar, Fleur de Sel, and Jean Georges are of note.

      1. Open Table shows openings at lunch for:
        Tabla
        Tocqueville
        Pampano
        L'Impero
        Fleur de Sel (which gets good reviews for their prix fixed lunch available throughout the year)

        These places have gotten good reviews in the past but maybe chowhounders can reply on their RW experience at these establishments.

        In the past I've tried lunch at River Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and Eleven Madison Park and enjoyed both the food and service-haven't yet experienced any horror stories that are sometimes mentioned in RW debate. And as noted by others-lots of places offer prefixed deals (especially lunch)throughout the year. Chowhounders have directed me to quite a few good choices (check archives). Planning to try Perry Street pre fixed lunch (which is booked solid for RW lunch)based on recent postings.

        1. Open Table shows openings at lunch for:
          Tabla
          Tocqueville
          Pampano
          L'Impero
          Fleur de Sel (which gets good reviews for their prix fixed lunch available throughout the year)

          These places have gotten good reviews in the past but maybe chowhounders can reply on their RW experience at these establishments.

          In the past I've tried lunch at River Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and Eleven Madison Park and enjoyed both the food and service-haven't yet experienced any horror stories that are sometimes mentioned in RW debate. And as noted by others-lots of places offer prefixed deals (especially lunch)throughout the year. Chowhounders have directed me to quite a few good choices (check archives). Planning to try Perry Street pre fixed lunch (which is booked solid for RW lunch)based on recent postings.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fayth

            I had an excellent RW lunch at Perry St.

          2. Obviously, at this point, it's more a question of availability. I'd be curious from past experiences who's been good or not. There was an interesting comment made in Danny Meyer's book "Setting the Table" that they try to give a generous meal during RW for the money, as an enticement to have people come back, esp. first-timers, while alleging that some others don't. Don't know if there's any basis to this or not. Would be interested in other's experiences.

            1. Hi laurennycfoodie,

              I didn't mean to discourage you from leveraging the Restaurant week. In fact, as fayth mentioned, most of Jean Georges's restaurants (Perry Street, JoJo, etc.) and others like Balthazar, Fleur de Sel offers prix-fixed lunch for $24-$30. JG's restaurants also have early dinner special of $35 every day (?). Therefore you are definitely not limited to just the Restaurant Week for bargain lunches and dinners!

              1. I have had good RW meals here:

                Jean Georges
                Alto
                Artisanal
                Remi
                L'Impero

                1. Thanks to all who've replied thus far. The challenge is that many of the restaurants I'd like to try only offer lunch. If I could find one near my office in midtown East, that would be ideal. For dinner, I'd like to check out Aureole; Il Giglio; Mesa Grill; the Modern Restaurant; San Domenico; and/or Spice Market. What do you think? Please keep 'em coming!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: laurennycfoodie

                    Midtown East....

                    DONA (if they are still open. i think they lost their lease)
                    VONG
                    Pampano

                    1. re: laurennycfoodie

                      N.B. It's not The Modern's formal dining room that's offering the RW dinner prix-fixe; it's the Bar Room at the Modern.

                      1. re: RGR

                        I made a reservation at Thalassa just today if people are interested in going there. I remember a lot of chowhounders citing it as great modern Greek.

                      2. re: laurennycfoodie

                        The fact that so many of the great restaurants only offer Lunch specials during RW is a curse.
                        I have had very good RW experiences at Tabla and Grammercy Tavern.
                        I have tried the regular prix-fixe lunch at Fleur de Seul which was also good.
                        I had to scramble to get a new reservation a few days ago when the whole RW Eleven Madison fiasco happenned (Open Table listed it as available for dinner when it fact it was only available for lunch)
                        so I changed my reservation to San Domenico which should be (given all the recommendations here) an excellent choice.

                        1. re: maria_nyc

                          I'm guessing that mix-up re: Eleven Madison occurred because in the past, EMP did offer a RW menu at dinner.

                          I wish you luck with San Domenico. The one time we had dinner there quite some time ago, I found the food disappointing and the service very frosty.

                      3. Thanks for all the tips. Any C'Hounders interested in joining me for RW? Haven't made any reservations yet but would like to straight away! Also, today a colleague mentioned that the Park Ave Cafe has a 3-course 'pay your age' special nightly after 8:30 p.m. Has anybody partaken in that and how's the food in general? Ciao.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: laurennycfoodie

                          YES, the park ave cafe pay your age pricing is the BEST deal in new york if you ask me. Note: this really does depend on your age, but really, the food is good (upscale american, nothing crazy, desserts are pretty impressive though), and the portions are no smaller than if you were paying full price.

                          1. re: kasiav

                            Except word is Park Ave Cafe is closing tomorrow...but I'm too old to care.

                            1. re: David W

                              Just to note that Park Av. Cafe is closing for good. There had been that possibility at the end of last year, but they came to terms with the landlord. Acc. to eater, this closure is for renovations.

                        2. I concur with staying clear of San Domenico's the food there is just NOT good.

                          1. this is commenting on past RWs in general. i find most restaurants that offer dinner, are not all that worth it. they usually are the soup or salad,chicken or salmon offerers. i've gone to places like artisanal, and felt like it was more worth it to order a la carte. the only dinners i've really enjoyed are eleven madison and tabla, and both are not participating in dinner this season.

                            just remembered, i went to beacon a few years ago for RW dinner and there were a lot of extra supplemental prices, but we enjoyed our dinner there and thought it was worth it. and blue water grill is decent. not amazing, but a good deal. oh, bolo was awful but that was like 5 years ago. it was the chicken or fish option and everything was lukewarm, like it was pre-prepared.

                            that said, RW is my favorite time of the year for lunch. it's imposed a challenge of trying to sneak away from work for 2 hours to go to lunch all the way across town, but its worth it.

                            gramercy tavern is one of my favorites. instead of doing an alongside a la carte menu, the whole restaurant is restaurant week menu only. they offer the most choices, with about 6 selections per course. unfortunately, it is also one of everyone else's favorites and is booked by 9:15 AM the month before.

                            i also really like cafe bouloud. i try to go there every RW. i think they only offer about 2-3 choices per course, but they are always something well thought out and interesting and out of the "salmon or chicken" usual. i've had friends not able to make it and i've gone by myself and eaten at the bar.

                            i've also liked l'impero, milos (all year round lunch, so no need to go during RW), aquavit (herring sampler, swedish meatballs, and arctic circle - THE best dessert i've ever had), cafe de artistes was good food but found the atmosphere to be stuffy. chanterelle and fiamma were both enjoyable. fleur de sel is great, but as mentioned before, avail all yr round. same goes for gotham.

                            brasserie was ok, the food was not remarkable. good deal for what it is though. il giglio's first course when i went 4 years ago was minestrone soup or salad. boring. inagiku was equally boring. Tao was mediocre, and it's offered all year round.

                            kai is not participating this season, but if they do in the future, i highly recommend. it's not huge portions, but some of the most refined japanese i've ever had in the city. and a very good deal considering how expensive their year-round menu is.

                            park avenue cafe's RW lunch is decent, but i think the quality slips a bit during RW. but the portions are GINORMOUS. larennycfoodie, the Pay Your Age dinner special is great if you're under 45 in my opinion. my friends and i went for dinner and we could barely move after (and we all have huge appetites). the desserts were amazing. basically the whole menu is open with the exception of some of the specials and the filet mignon. all their desserts are really big, the kind you share with people, but you each get one! and considering the desserts are all over $10, this is a great deal. it isn't on the menu right now, but i had this trio of corn, with sweet corn panna cotta, cornbread something, i can't remember, but it was amazing.

                            cons: the service was REALLY ODD. it almost feels like they use a different staff and that's how they keep the price down. its almost like the busboys become the waiters. regardless, the food was great. altho, last year, i got numerous complaints from friends about the friday chef. all my friends that didn't go on friday really liked the dinner. also, the crowd is definitely older, i think it's neighborhood folk. like they were all in the "if you're over 65 years old, you pay $65" category. biggest con (this is where they get you?): ALCOHOL. there were literally wines by the glass that cost the same amount as the whole bottle in a store. i think they quadruple the price, which can add up. about half of our bill was drinks and we only had 2 glasses each. so my suggestion is to curb drinking if you want an economical meal. or go get drinks before or after. but all in all worth it.

                            as you can see, i end up totally broke after restaurant week. but full! :)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jungirl

                              Dear Jungirl: Thanks for your detailed and informative reply. I'll take your suggestions under advisement. Where are you going this year? If you have extra room, I'd love to join you. I work in Midtown E, so it wouldn't be impossible for me to sneak away for a ~2 hr lunch...