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City Dining Tips

Crowds
Look for crowds! An empty restaurant is usually a bad restaurant. There are some trendy retaurants that are always full but have bad food, but you'll be able to tell which ones those are.


The city that never sleeps
New Yorkers eat whenever they're hungry. You can venture outside at midnight and get Thai food. Take advantage of this! If you are a night-owl, see our late night dining guide.


Bagels
New York City is home to what are arguably the world's best bagels. Bagels are perfect when you need to eat something quick, but want to avoid fast food and hot dogs. You can get them in any deli in the city for $.50-$1.50.


Manners
Don't be afraid to send food back to the kitchen if it's not to your liking. New Yorkers tend to speak their minds -- never let manners get in the way of a good meal. Some even go as far as risking arrest to get better service!


Reservations
Good restaurants tend to become crowded around 7pm, so make reservations (if possible) or plan to wait for a table. Remember -- there's a reason certain restaurants are crowded. You should be able to tell if the wait is worth it!


Tipping
  • A quick method for calculating the tip is to double the tax.
    In New York City, it is customary to tip 20% and with a NYC 8.25% local tax, a good estimate is to simply double the NYC local tax and round up.

  • In most dining establishments, when there are groups of four or more people dining together, the waiters will include the tip in the bill. Usually, in smaller groups, the tip will be left off the tab.

  • If the service was so poor that the server does not deserve a tip, then DO NOT TIP them. But only do this if the server did nothing for you at all; did they bring the food and water and silverware over? That deserves something, even if it's less than average. Remember that they are working for hours on end and if you arrive at a busy time they can't always rush over to you and treat you like royalty. When I am dissatisfied, I still leave 5%.


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