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How does Restaurant Week work?

I'm a former NY'er who hasn't lived there in almost 20 years, though I visit maybe once per year. My husband and I will be there for 4 days in July (without kids - for the first time in 15 years!) and are lucky enough to have hit it during Restaurant Week. When making a reservation for the RW promotion, do you have to specifically request that when making the reservation? Also, can you make the reservation online (eg, via Open Table)?
One more thing...any suggestions for particular restaurants participating in this promo would be helpful, as we've been gone so long. What's the most "bang for your buck" type?
Thanks!!

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  1. You can book on Open Table as long as the restaurant is listed. You don't have to specify when you make the reservation. Most restaurants will give you a restaurant week menu and a regular menu. Beware that many restaurants are less than honorable and will give a substandard meal for restaurant week while others will see it as the diplomatic promotion that it should be. Some places book up way in advance. In general, I've found restaurant week offerings disappointing more often than not. Here's the list:

    http://www.nycvisit.com/RestaurantWee...

    Reservations open on 6/18.

    My only really excellent RW experience last year was at Devi. DB Bistro Moderne and i Trulli were both very disappointing.

    http://petercherches.blogspot.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: Peter Cherches

      Just as an additional note, most restaurants only allow reservations up to 28-30 days in advance, so on Jun 18, you can only make reservations for meals on July 16-18 (and may be a day or two after July 18). You will have to wait till the earliest 30 days ahead to reserve for the later dates of the restaurant week.
      The prix-fixe deal of RW does not apply to Saturdays and Sundays

    2. I ate lunch at Gramercy Tavern during RW last July & it was fabulous. They wines by the glass choices are great and I loved the 1/2 glass portion. I didn't make a reservation - I ate at the bar in the "tavern" section.

      1. The most bang for the buck? Without a doubt, Eleven Madison Park. It's probably the most popular RW choice -- and deservedly so -- so it gets fully booked *very* quickly. Don't wait for OpenTable. Instead, I strongly recommend you get on the phone right now! to see if you can get a reservation.

        http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com

        9 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          Hi RGR,

          From what I understand EMP (and Gramercy Tavern and The Modern) only accept reservation up to 28 days in advance. So it will be Monday 6/18 when you reserve the first day of restaurant week (lunch on 7/16) either by phone or via Opentable.

          Yes, I just tried....

          1. re: kobetobiko

            Thanks for the info, kobe. And good job doing that personal sleuthing! We always reserve by phone, but I guess we've never attempted to reserve farther out than a month, so we've never come face-to-face with that restriction.

            1. re: kobetobiko

              When I tried to make a reservation for RW at Gramercy Tavern last year- the restaurant recommended to reserve via Open Table. You can made online reservation earlier in the morning before reservation desk opens. Plus saved me from a lot of dialing early in the morning while at work...

              1. re: fayth

                Thanks to everyone who responded...I made a reservation at Fleur de Sel for one of the days. It was still too early to reserve at Eleven Madison Park. Also - an FYI for those with Amex cards - you get to reserve at most places 2 days before it opens up to the rest of the public....
                Looking forward to eating my way thru NY next month! :-)

                1. re: marleymom

                  I really like Fleur de Sel, but I would point out they have a $29 lunch menu all year round...
                  I would agree with 11 Madison, Gramercy and would add Tabla to the mix. Union Square also does a nice lunch for RW, as does Cafe Boulud.

                2. re: fayth

                  Has anybody been able to get an EMP lunch reservation for RW? They only book 27 days out and I figured online would be the best shot...But I've been sitting at my computer at midnight the last few days on opentable.com, and they're always gone in a flash. From "too far in the future" to "no more tables" in one minute. Do they only put 2 tables on OpenTable or something? Argh!

                  1. re: kathryn

                    yes....booked a lunch, but called them...got through right away...this after going to opentable and being told there were no tables at the time requested. Don't believe what you read.

                    1. re: drumwine

                      Oh, excellent. I thought I might be totally out of luck.

                      I just called and they are fully booked but the woman said I should call back tomorrow at 9am to try to get a July 26th lunch table.

                      Thanks for the tip!

                    2. re: kathryn

                      You can walk in and get unreserved bar-area seating at EMP. I did this twice last RW (sat once at the bar on my own, next time came with a friend and had a bar table). On both days, the bar seating didn't even fill up. But just to be safe, get there early---before 12:30.