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How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

Sydney, Australia
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How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

I was speaking to a friend today who is also traveling to NY later this month and she was telling me that we would need to book restaurants for dinner, as it gets so busy.

We've booked nothing in terms of dinners. I also had thought we would just head out when hungry and find somewhere. None of us are what you would call "foodies" but do you think I should do some added research and consider booking a few places for dinner (once we get to NY), particularly for the weekends??

Thanks

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

My answer to that is it varies. If you're keen to go to particular places, it cannot hurt to book. If you're not fussed, then you'll definitely be able to find somewhere to eat.

If you have access to the internet while you're there, it's easy to do a search on Google Maps called "Search Nearby" once you've worked out what you're doing for the day (or the next day) and search for somewhere to eat...diners/delis/restaurants/cafes etc. Then you can either contact the place directly or use the wonderful Open Table booking system (if the place is on there) and book.

We didn't book many places well in advance (just really fancy ones for special occasions). We used Open Table to book a lot of places well within 24 hours, even that morning for lunch in some places. We also walked into a lot of places without a booking.

I think having some ideas of what you want to see, and putting them into some sort of sensible groups location wise works really well...then you can move things around depending on the weather, and your mood, and what else you find to do when you're there. You don't want to plan to do a boat trip or a visit to the Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building on rainy days, or spend the day in the Met or shops on sunny days.

Then you can have some ideas of food places that might fit into that list.....and book or not!

Have a great holiday.

Manchester, United...
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2. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

I have never booked anywhere in NYC and rarely had to wait

THere are plenty of places where you can just walk in

Teaneck, NJ
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for New Jersey
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3. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

I almost never make a reservation and when I do I find when I get there that they actually had plenty of seats. Occasionally there is a problem, especially around the theater district past 6:00 PM, but even there, if I get there before 6:00 PM I don't have a problem

New York City, New...
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for New York City
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4. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

The benefit of making a few reservations is it forces you to do some research. There's loads of good food in NYC but very often it's hard to find it in the areas where most tourists go- Times Square area, on and around Fifth ave. shopping, near Central Park, in Little Italy.

Popular restaurants get crowded, especially on Sat. nights.

Syracuse, New York
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5. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

The only way you might need a reservation is for a high end place that you're just dying to try.

By law, menus have to be posted outside the restaurant. What I usually do is look at the menu & then look through the windows to get an idea of what the place is like, what the clientele is like & what I can see on the tables. The only time I ever make reservations is for a specific place that I really need to go but it doesn't sound like that applies to you.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

A high-end place or a popular place. For example, ABC Kitchen is a mid-range place but reservations generally need to be made a full month in advance.

If you're not fussy, you'll always be able to find someplace with availability. But, like nywhiz said, try not to end up just falling into tourist traps.

OpenTable and Menupages can give you an idea of the restaurants near to where you will be each day, or even where you're at right then - OpenTable has a mobile app, and we've often used it to reserve <1 hour in advance.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

Open Table is good. You can see if there are tables available, and you can cancel tables. Sometimes I just check a place thru Open Table to see if I can get a table in an hour or so. I also use it in advance (usually reservations are taken up to 30 days in advance.)

Melbourne
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8. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

My bf and I were in NYC for 11 nights back in May / June. We made advance bookings at places we really wanted to go to and knew were popular - Toloache before a Broadway show, The Little Owl, Buddakan, Scarpetta and Balthazar for Sunday brunch. Out of these, the only place we wouldn't have needed a booking at was Toloache because we were there so early.

For all of our other meals we had no problems finding places as we went. We did do some research before we went to get some general ideas of other areas and places we wanted to try that would fit in with our itinerary (eg. diners near our hotel for breakfast, Hell's Kitchen area for dinner, The Chocolate Room in Brooklyn for dessert).

Portland, Oregon
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9. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

Some places require reservations, others do not. I think making a reservation is a courtesy to the restaurant, allowing them to staff as needed. So, I always call in advance.

Mineola, New York
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10. Re: How easy is it to walk into restaurants for dinner in NY?

Thousands of New Yorkers eat every day in the city without a reservation. If your looking at Irish Pubs, local Italian, Chinese restaurants or one of the many Sports Bars you will be fine. I agree...Open Table is a great resource when we travel and the I-Phone app is priceless. A great tool when traveling and even when you're looking to try a restaurant at home!