My top 10 picks for Winter Restaurant Week, 2015

As someone who loves to cook and try new food, I’m excited that restaurant week is kicking off again. It’s not too late to make reservations at one of the nearly 300 NYC restaurants participating in the prix-fixe three-course $25 lunch or $38 dinner. Keep in mind that the 18-day long week, which runs through Friday, March 6, 2015 does not include Saturdays and, depending upon the restaurant, may not include Sundays. Also not included are tips, taxes, or drinks.

Restaurant week was founded in 1992 by Tim Zagat (of Zagat’s guides) and late restaurateur Joe Baum as a 4-day event offering lunch for $19.92. The original week was meant to accommodate thousands of reporters who were in NYC covering the Democratic National Convention. It was such a hit that, in the last 23 years, Restaurant Week has extended to small towns and large cities throughout the US including Chicago, Boston, and DC, and there are numerous spin-offs such as French Restaurant Week and Kosher Restaurant Week. New York City hosts a January and a July restaurant week, both of which are normally the slowest months for NYC restaurants.

Not everyone loves Restaurant week, though. Regulars at the restaurants participating in Restaurant Week complain that waits are longer, entrees are smaller, and the meals are often not on the restaurant’s typical menu. Many restaurants add low-cost meats like chicken or less expensive fish to the menu in order to save money. If you plan to go to a NYC restaurant week lunch or dinner, be sure to research the prix-fixe menu to ensure it’s not too different from the regular menu. Click here to see the menus for all the restaurants.

American Express, the original Restaurant Week sponsor, is again offering a $5 credit on all Restaurant week purchases over $25 as long as you register your card here.

There are so many options to choose from and countless articles recommending top places to go.  Here are my top picks:

New and/or Hot: (You’ll notice a pattern)

Little Park // Tribeca // Andrew Carmellini, Chef // Upscale Health Food Restaurant // RW menu

Root and Bone // Alphabet City // Jeff McInnis & Janine Booth, Chefs // Soul Food x Southern // RW menu

Bar Primi // Bowery // Andrew Carmellini, and Sal Lamboglia, Chefs // Pasta Shop // RW menu

Lafayette // NoHo //  Andrew Carmellini, Chef and Jen Yee, Pâtissière // French // RW menu

Lure Fishbar // SoHo // Josh Capon, Chef //  Seafood // RW menu

Classics:

Il Mulino Downtown // Greenwich Village // Michele Mazza, Chef // Italian // RW menu

Scarpetta // Meatpacking // Scott Conant, Chef // Italian // RW menu

Resto // Murray Hill // Francis Derby, Chef // French-Belgian // RW menu

Lupa // Greenwich Village //  Josh Laurano, Chef // Italian // RW menu

Esca // Hell’s Kitchen // Dave Pasternack, Chef // Italian seafood // RW menu 

Follow Restaurant Week and share your foodie photos on Restaurant Week’s Instagram and Facebook.

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