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14 Tips to Experience New Haven Restaurant Week

Get ready to eat your heart out, the Elm City’s bi-annual New Haven Restaurant Week is back and celebrating 16 well-shaken, well-plated, and well-fed years. From April 14-19, join 24 of the best  restaurants in downtown and throughout the city, for all-new dining experiences and exclusive offerings. Participating restaurants will offer pre-fixe menus ranging from two-course lunch options for $25 to three-course dinner options for $45 or $55 per person. 

Established in 2008, New Haven Restaurant Week is the city’s most highly anticipated dining celebration, where twice a year, locals and visitors are invited to sample an incredible array of eateries that make up the Elm City’s culinary scene. Over the last 15 years, our restaurant owners have fed thousands of traveling foodies, served up some of New England’s most inventive dishes, and witnessed many life-changing moments. The team at Tre Scalini has spent every year welcoming back one particular couple who got engaged during a past Restaurant Week. Over at Olea, the team watched two strangers meet for a blind date during Restaurant Week. That same couple also got engaged and have continued to return to the restaurant each year to celebrate their anniversary.

Whether you’re using the Spring Restaurant Week as an engagement opportunity, a special anniversary, or a post-work dinner, we can’t wait to eat with you. To prepare for this season’s most delicious event, here are 14 tips to make the most of it. 

Support Local. Every restaurant in our lineup is locally owned and operated, keeping New Haven’s vibrant culinary scene thriving. Small teams that create big flavors, the restaurants of New Haven represent the best of our city, and Restaurant Week is their birthday. As Tre Scalini’s Joseph Maiorano says, “Restaurant week: Look how great you have become now that you’re all grown up!”

Early Bird Gets The Deal. After 16 years in operation, there is one promise we can make. These restaurants will book up, and fast. Plan ahead and make your reservations for lunch and dinner as early as possible. As Alison De Renzi, owner of L’Orcio, says, “make a reservation, and come hungry.”

Take a Lunch Break. Switch up your daily lunch break routine by trying one of the 15 participating restaurants offering two-course lunch options for $25. Seth Marino, Executive Chef of Heirloom, suggests an open-faced sandwich for any lunchtime treat. Peruse their latest menu – the Chef likes to change things up every season.

Try a Fan-Favorite Dish. NHRW is our city’s most popular foodie event for a reason. Take this as an opportunity to try something new and take notes from the restaurateurs. If they have a favorite menu item, give it a try. 

Weeknights Are The New Friday. Can’t secure a table at your favorite spot for Friday or Saturday night? Consider dining on a weekday for an exciting experience to look forward to in the middle of the work week. Save the meal prep for next month.

Make Room for Others. Behind every reservation is a long and hopeful waiting list.  If you need to cancel or change reservations, please do so as early as possible so the restaurant can re-book the table.

Show Your Server Some Love. Tax and gratuity are not included in the restaurant’s prix fixe prices. Be sure to show your appreciation for good service by tipping generously and, more importantly, be kind. Wilson Siguenza, Owner of Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant, has one piece of Restaurant Week advice. “Please, be patient. Remember that we are doing our best to be as appealing and as quick as possible to make your experience enjoyable.”

Get Social. Let your inner foodie flourish and show the local restaurants some extra love on social media. Snap a photo of your favorite dishes, tag the restaurant, and use the hashtags #NewHavenRestaurantWeek and #NHVEats.

Take a Leap of Faith. If you cannot secure the restaurant of your choice, New Haven Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to experiment and indulge in something new. Try new cultural cuisines from around the world – from Spanish tapas and nuevo Latino fusion to Belgian classics and bold Peruvian flavors.

Imbibe. Food isn’t the only star of the show during the event. Ask your server if there’s a specific drink they recommend pairing with your meal. There are options for everyone’s taste, from the Quilt Cabernet at Encore by Goodfellas to the Pumpkin Pisco Sour at Chacra Wine Bar.

Explore New Haven. Following an afternoon lunch, feed your history appetite by wandering the halls at Yale University Art Gallery, the newly renovated Yale Peabody Museum, or the stacks at Beinecke Library. 

Take in the View. Spring is upon us, so while you’re taking a break from eating to your heart’s content, get in steps by taking a walk around the historic New Haven Green, or shop the latest ‘fits at The Shops at Yale. 

Ready, Set, Park. The Shops at Yale will offer free 2-hour parking with same-day purchases of $50 or more from participating restaurants at lots located at 255 Crown Street (behind Pacifico and South Bay) and 56 Broadway (across from J.Crew). Park New Haven will offer a $6 parking rate during lunch in the Crown Street and Temple Street Garages. This offer is applicable April 14-19 between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Make Restaurant Week Memories. Restaurant Week is whatever you want it to be, whether that’s an annual chance to try something new, a birthday celebration you’ll never forget, or just a night enjoying delicious food. Take the story of what happened at Olea for example, where one couple’s Restaurant Week blind date turned into a Restaurant Week engagement and is now a Restaurant Week anniversary celebration. 

Interested in joining us for New Haven Restaurant Week? Click here for the full list of participating restaurants and follow @infonewhaven and #NewHavenRestaurantWeek on Instagram, Facebook, and X  for more information. Bon appetit!

Updated on March 26, 2024
First Published on October 18, 2023

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