You've heard it a dozen times: Times are tough, we're hurtling toward (or already in) a recession, everyone's feeling the pinch, etc. If there's a bright side, it's that New York's restaurateurs feel our pain (or are in it themselves) — but they want to keep feeding us, and we want to keep eating as well as we always have. This common interest has resulted in a cornucopia of foodie bargains, from new bar menus at Eleven Madison Park and Craftsteak to a total prix fixe frenzy. To help you make sense of it all (and keep your wallets intact, even if they're thinning), we've compiled over 50 dining deals that should help all levels of epicures to survive. (And if you've got more, do add them in the comments below!)
5 Ninth: $24 three-course lunch (one of the best dining deals in the meatpacking district).
21 Club: 3-course prix fixe menu at lunch for $24, and dinner for $35. Free parking at a nearby garage from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Complimentary cocktail for those who reserve through the restaurant's website. Gift certificates 20% off from February 1 through May 31.
Abboccato: new selection of chiccetti (small plates for sharing); $26 three-course lunch on weekdays.
Allegretti: $28 three-course lunch.
Allen & Delancey: Half-priced cocktails on Tuesdays.
Alto: Three-course prix fixe for $75; no corkage fee for BYOB.
The Anchor: On "Recession Tuesdays" pay $20 for all you can drink from 7 to 9 p.m.
Angelina Cafe: Ever-changing daily recession special.
Apiary: $35 three-course Sunday dinner, featuring options like pan-seared halibut with broccolini and spicy eggplant, and pumpkin crème brûlée.
Artisanal: $24.50 three-course dinner from 5 to 6:30 p.m; grilled-cheese bar at lunch.
Bacchus: $25 three-course dinner with plenty of options.
Bar Boulud: $24 three-course lunch.
Beacon: 20% off all entrees; $10 cocktails; $30 bottles of wine.
Bistro Chat Noir: $25 three-course lunch; $35 three-course dinner.
Bobo: Everything is $20 or less on the new den menu.
Braeburn: $30 three-course "comfort menu" available nightly.
Cabrito: $8 taco and beer after 10 p.m. nightly.
Café Loup: Nightly $28 three-course dinner.
Casa Havana: Recession Special breakfast includes two eggs, ham or bacon, French fries, toast, and coffee for twenty cents.
’Cesca: Half-price wine on Mondays; $31 three-course dinner before 6:30 on weekdays.
Cha Cha's: 20% off for anyone with an unemployment card.
Chanterelle: Three-course lunch for $42, which includes tea or coffee and a tray of chocolate truffles.
Community Food & Juice: Burger and a beer for $15.
Craft: "Frugal Fridays" feature a menu of market-driven dishes for $10 or under at the bar. Categories range from meat on a stick to offal.
Craftsteak: The new bar menu features options like fried mac and cheese and crispy pork belly, all for $15 or less.
Cub Room: Nightly $29 three-course "Stimulus Package Menu."
Da Silvano: Two courses plus dessert for $27.50. 12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Daily.
Daniel: Lounge offers a cocktail or a glass of Champagne plus dessert for $25.
Darbar Grill: Free appetizers, $4 beers, and $6 top-shelf cocktails. 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Daily.
David Burke Townhouse: $24.07 three-course lunch with shockingly luxurious dishes.
David Burke at Bloomingdale’s: $24.07 three-course dinner.
Del Posto Nine-course "grand tasting menu" reduced to $125 from $175.
The Delancey Free tequila shots for the unemployed on Tuesdays.
Demarchelier: Two-course dinner with wine for $26.
Dovetail: $38 three-course Sunday supper, featuring dishes like sweetbreads and duck goulash.
Eighty One: $42 two-course seasonal dinner all night on Sundays and from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Elettaria: New happy hour features $8 wine, $4 beers, and $7 cocktails. 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nightly.
Eleven Madison Park: $38 two-course lunch; à la carte bar menu.
Elizabeth: Half-priced wine on Sundays; two courses plus wine or beer for $45 on Mondays.
Felidia: Prix fixe meal for two costs $48 per person and includes a bottle of wine. 4:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. or after 9 p.m. Weekdays.
Fleur De Sel: $29 three-course lunch.
Gotham Bar and Grill: $31 three-course lunch; options include grilled steak.
Gramercy Tavern: $14 soup and sandwich in the Tavern room at lunch, options change daily.
Irving Mill: Every Monday, $15 gets you a Sixpoint beer and one of Ryan Skeen's excellent burgers.
Japonais: The Restaurant Week menu is still being served from 5 to 7 p.m. every night.
Jean Georges: $28 two-course lunch, plus free marshmallows (possibly the best deal in town?); $35 three-course dinner from 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.-11 p.m.
JoeDoe: $35 three-course "Madoff menu" served nightly.
Johnny Utah’s: $19.95 three-course lunch; two-for-one drinks at lunch.
JoJo: $24.07 three-course lunch; $35 three-course dinner before 6:30 p.m. and after 9:30 p.m.
Knife + Fork: $45 six-course tasting menu available nightly; $8 bar snack menu.
L'Ecole at The French Culinary Institute: The nightly $42 five-course dinner features standout dishes like grilled rib steak and fluke carpaccio.
La Bonne Soupe: $23.95 three-course lunch and dinner.
La Petite Auberge: Four-course dinner with coffee for $28.
Le Cirque: $45 three-course lunch in the dining room; $74 seven-course tasting menu in the dining room; $24.07 two-course lunch in the café; $35 dinner in the café.
Matsugen: $24 bento box lunch; $35 six-course mini-omakase dinner
Megu: $55 three-course dinner.
The Mermaid Inn: The menu includes wallet-friendly items such as a lobster po' boy.
Mia Dona: $24.07 three-course lunch (don't miss the bigoli); happy hour from 5-7 p.m.; 25 percent discount on gift cards worth $100 or more.
Michael Jordan's The Steakhouse: $7 martinis on Mondays.
The Modern: Every bottle of wine in the Bar Room is now $50 or less.
Momofuku Ssäm Bar: $28 three-course lunch, features favorites like pork buns and spicy rice cakes.
Nonna: $24.95 four-course dinner; $14.95 three-course lunch.
Nougatine: $24.07 three-course lunch; $35 three-course dinner before 6:30 p.m. and after 10 p.m.
The Orchard: BYOB with no corkage fees every Sunday night.
Ouest: $34 three-course dinner before 6:30 p.m.
Pamplona: $15.95 two-course lunch; $21.95 three-course lunch; more shareable, wallet-friendly items at dinner.
Paradou: Order an entree on Sundays and get an appetizer and dessert for free.
Payard: $31 three-course lunch; $37 three-course dinner before 6:45 p.m.
Perry St: $24 two-course lunch; $35 three-course dinner before 6:30 and after 10 p.m.
Persimmon: $37 tasting menu.
Petrossian: $37 nightly three-course dinner; $31 three-course brunch on weekends.
Picholine: New Menu d'Economie features half-portion entrees and tasting flights for $20 and 60 wines under $60; $58 "Tastes of Picholine" three-course prix fixe. Monday-Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pizza Gruppo: $18 large plain pizza and pitcher of beer. 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sandro's: Pastas are priced at the first three digits of the day’s closing of the Dow Jones Index while the Dow is below 10,000. Monday-Friday 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Shang: $35 three-course "Starving Artists" prix fixe available in the bar lounge nightly and the restaurant all night on Mondays and Tuesdays and from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.
The Smith: $12 burger and beer every Sunday night.
South Gate: $24.07 three-course lunch.
Spitzer's Corner: New happy hour features $3 craft beers. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Weekdays.
STK: Half-priced glasses of wine and discounts on certain bottles on Mondays.
SushiSamba: $35 three-course dinner.
Tabla: $27 seasonal three-course lunch; $35 chef's three-course lunch.
Tailor: Enlarged bar menu now includes items like chicken-liver pâté; Monday night special of huitlacoche corn dogs with a beer for $12.
Tempo: $32 three-course dinner Sunday through Thursday; lots of options.
Union Square Cafe: Recently added 100 new bottles of wine under $75.
Vero Panini & Wine Bar: On Monday nights, order a glass of wine or a beer at the bar and receive a free panini.
Vong: $24.07 three-course lunch; $35 three-course dinner.
Wafels & Dinges: The price of the WMD (the Waffle of Mass Deliciousness, which includes unlimited toppings) has dropped to $6.
For more creative ideas, check out: Eat Like a Prince at Pauper's Prices