New York City’s Restaurant Week Returns as Dining Rooms Reopen

Wine

New York City’s famed Restaurant Week is back for a summer 2021 edition, running from July 19 through Aug. 22. Locals and visitors can select from over 500 participants, including more than 25 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning destinations.

Launched in 1992, Restaurant Week highlights the city’s dynamic dining scene, making eating out more accessible with menus set at lower price points than normal. This winter, the bi-annual event was reimagined to comply with health and safety restrictions. Now, with most restrictions lifted, restaurant-goers can return to dining rooms (or new outdoor seating spaces) and get the full experience.

“NYC Restaurant Week has been a celebration of dining, bringing people together for a shared experience of food, drink and camaraderie,” Tracy Nieporent, chair emeritus of NYC & Company’s Restaurant Committee, said in a statement. “We now have a chance to recapture the collective experience as we continue to welcome diners back to New York City’s restaurants.”

This summer’s event introduces a new set of pricing options: Restaurants have the choice to offer $21 and/or $39 meals, either two or three courses, at either lunch or dinner, along with a new $125 “Signature Dining Experience” for special tasting menus of three or more courses. After the popularity of the winter 2021 Restaurant Week To Go, takeout and delivery options will continue to be available at many restaurants.

Grand Award winner Ai Fiori’s Restaurant Week offering includes a three-course meal with two wine pairings. (Courtesy of Altamarea )

Though wine isn’t included in the lower-priced menus, some restaurants encourage guests to enjoy wine during their meals with discounted bottles or by-the-glass pairings with each course for an extra cost. The new “Signature” experiences allow for restaurants to include wine in the package: At Grand Award winner Ai Fiori, their $125 option will include a glass of Champagne to begin the meal and an additional glass of red or white depending on the diner’s third course.

Others find that the affordable menu inspires guests to order a bottle from their regular list. “There are always a few customers who come in and order great bottles of Burgundy or Rhône once they see our selection,” said David Gordon, wine director of Grand Award winner Tribeca Grill, which has an 1,800-selection list.

“Restaurant Week helps get the word out to new customers about how dynamic our wine program is and has been for so many years,” Gordon continued. “This year is our 20th anniversary of getting the Grand Award, and it is something we are very proud of.”

To learn more, sign up for email updates, check out menus and make reservations, visit https://www.nycgo.com/restaurant-week. A list of all participating Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners can be found here.

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