Fine dining at fine prices: Why New Yorkers are getting better at finding a deal

New York has always been a city of great food, but as one new guide explains, that doesn't mean it has to be expensive

From buy one get one free meals to cocktail happy hours, kids go free to $1 oysters, $2 beers and beyond, restaurants in every major city are doing everything they can to get customers through their doors.

New York is no exception. Nestled among among the Big Apple’s Michelin stars, there are a wealth of ways the city’s ever-growing number of foodies, tourists and special occasion diners can eat well, for less.

For Christopher Heywood, vice president of global communications for NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organisation, good value eating goes beyond just great cut-price deals.

“We offer a variety of cost effective meals, particularly through our vibrant street food culture,” he says. “There are plenty of ‘cheap eats’ options!”

Like other major cities, New York street food has become about much more than its iconic pretzel carts. With lower overheads, vendors can offer great food at lower prices across the city.

According to Monica DiNatale, whose new book 365 Guide New York City  is dedicated to bringing together the best cut-price food and drink deals across New York, there has never been a bigger appetite for deals.

“As time goes on and the economy goes up and down, people still want to go out and eat.”

There are deals across the sector, from Happy Hour cocktails at the upmarket Trump Tower Bar to a downtown dive bar with $2 beers.

“It’s all interesting to me,” says DiNatale. “It’s New York, a $2 beer is always interesting.”

And, says DiNatale, a self-described food fanatic and deals expert, this doesn’t mean that quality should suffer.

“It’s rare to get really bad food here,” she says. “The places that don’t do well don’t survive.”

DiNatale’s selection process for her book is testament to the competitiveness of the New York dining scene. Only established bars and restaurants with long-standing deals make it in, and each one is tried, tested and nominated by her.


Fine dining at fine prices: Monica DiNatale’s favourite NYC deals


1/2 price appetizers and drinks from 3-7pm daily

“They have the best hummus I’ve ever had. You can see by the website that they are a special occasion restaurant with Manhattan prices.”

Flex Mussels

$25 for 2 pots of mussels with fries and 1 beer or wine 5:30-7pm daily

“The mussels here are outstanding. They offer 20 different sauces.”

BLT Fish

“I am a sucker for $1 oysters!”


Ellie Clayton


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