Yellow taxis, rusty subways, stiletto shoes, business ties, salty peanuts, sweet Cracker Jack®—what’s not to love about New York City? It’s a place with a million opinions and a million flavors. You could spend a lifetime sampling every bodega deli and fine 5-star restaurant and still never get to the bottom of the city’s offerings. Luckily, there’s New York’s Restaurant Week, which boils down all those options to the best of the best.
What to expect during NYC Restaurant Week
Name a culinary style, an international dish, or an exotic spice, and you’ll find it here. New York doesn’t mess around when it comes to food variety. City blocks are peppered with every type of street cart, fancy restaurant, greasy diner, and hipster gastropub you could imagine. With over 300 restaurants participating in this year’s New York City Restaurant Week, you can expect a lot more than boiled hot dogs. Sample your way around the city with numerous fixed priced menus.
Sites between bites
New York City can easily boast that it was the original “City of Neighborhoods.” Each street has its own personality and tempo, and it’s reflected in the food. Come see how each neighborhood affects the flavors, and sneak in a few sites between fork bites.
Start your adventure of the city with a visit to Union Square. This European-style plaza is often the site of impromptu concerts, protests, and NYU study sessions. It’s also close to the famous Strand Bookstore with thousands of novels for sale. Once you’re ready to trade in book leaves for crunchy greens, duck into one of the Union Square restaurants with plenty of people-watching space. Start at Blue Water Grill and opt for a patio seat as you dig into a grain salad made with dandelion, radish, basil, and ponzu. If that doesn’t float your boat, pop into the Fourth Restaurant for a puree of Greenmarket corn soup and house-made ricotta ravioli.
Viewfinder tip: Midtown is the busy theatre district, so be sure to make dinner reservations ahead of time.
Greenwich Village has been a bohemian hub for decades, and has long offered a creative space for photographers, musicians, and activists. Check out the Stonewall Inn—the birthplace of LGBT rights—or snap a few photos around the iconic Washington Square Arch. Luckily, you can expect your lunch to be equally well-constructed during Restaurant Week in New York. Pop into Grape and Vine and order the lobster conch fritters before chowing down on the braised pork belly with curried corn-red pepper relish. You can also head over to Gotham Bar and Grill, where everything from the mango arugula salad to the chocolate cake with salted almond ice cream is presented as a masterpiece.
New York and Broadway go together like Samantha Jones and a Cosmo martini. End your night with a good meal in Midtown, which is home to award-winning theatres and top stage productions. Rock those theatre-going clothes while you visit upscale eateries like Kellari Taverna, where you can order the spanakopita paired with lavraki, a grilled Mediterranean bass served with steamed wild greens. Want something a little different? Pop into Wayfarer and order the avocado toasts with pork tenderloin served with buckwheat spaetzli and hazelnuts.
The nitty gritty
You haven’t fully experienced NYC until you walk away with sugar-stained lips and a happy tummy. Consider this New York City Restaurant Week guide just the start to the maze of flavors waiting for you in the city. The event takes place from July 20th-Aug 14th, with Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx all taking part. Word to the wise: You can expect a ton of foodies flocking into town for the event, so be sure to pick out your flight to New York as well as your NYC hotel in advance.
When it comes to New York, you don’t have to love fruit to enjoy a juicy slice of the Big Apple. Get your palate ready for a metropolis of flavors.