Make reservations through Open Table which lets you search by location and type of food, and a specific time.
You can also make reservations directly with participating restaurants.
My recommendation is lunch. Not because it’s about half the price of dinner, but because dinners usually sell out first and you are likely to have more choice at lunch.
How to make the most of NYC Restaurant Week:
Many restaurants do not participate during the weekends, so do not expect a Saturday night prime time table.
If your restaurant of choice is in the Theater District, you might not get a table in the peak pre-theater hour
Review the menu in advance, since NYC Restaurant Week menu choices are more limited than the full menu. If you have eating restrictions, you may be limited even more.
Reservations early in the week are easier to get than later in the week.
Reservations for lunch are easier to get than reservations for dinner.
Be sure to mention Restaurant Week when you make a reservation, and when you arrive at the restaurant.
When you are seated, if you are not offered the Restaurant Week menu, ask for it.
Tip the wait staff based on the regular price of the meal, not the discounted Restaurant Week price, especially if you’ve had good service.
NYC Restaurant Week started 26 years ago as a way of beefing up business in the slow, dog days of winter and summer, and has turned into a major culinary event that’s been copied by cities across the USA and around the world, from Albuquerque to Zagreb.
Evelyn Kanter also is the author of several NYC and Hudson Valley guidebooks, including my latest, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die.