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Be honest: You spend more money eating at restaurants than you do on rent, shoes and maxi dresses combined. Try these seven tricks to make every dining experience in NYC a fantastic one.

Related: The Hottest New Restaurants in New York City This Summer

NY Restaurant List1
Twenty20

Order Family-Style

Why have one meal when you could eat bites of five different ones? Try a restaurant that offers large portions to share family-style, like Feast, Supper or Rubirosa. (Ordering a bunch of appetizers works, too.) Bonus: It’s usually less expensive than ordering individual entrées.

NY Restaurants List2
New Line Cinema

Don’t Eat Out on Saturdays or Holidays

Think about it: When a restaurant is packed, the wait staff is likely trying to get guests in and out the door as quickly as possible. For a more relaxed experience, cook at home on the weekends and reserve a special date night for next Tuesday, when your favorite spot will be way less crowded.

NY Restaurant List3
Pixar

Find Out What the Chef Eats

Instead of asking the server what he recommends (he’s likely to say the most popular dish on the menu), ask which meal the chef makes for himself on his break. If he likes it, we’re willing to bet it’s pretty tasty.

NY Restaurant List4
Twenty20

Check Out the Bathroom

Listen up, people: This one is key, especially in New York City. Before you even look at the menu, check out the bathroom. If it’s dirty, go somewhere else. (You don’t want to imagine what the kitchen looks like.)

NY Restaurants List5
Wallflower NYC

Try a Mid-Range Tasting Menu

Per Se is incredible, but dropping $1,000 on dinner isn’t always in the cards. Luckily, in NYC, there are a few restaurants like Contra, Wallflower NYC, The Eddy and Battersby, that offer amazing tasting menus for under $100.

Related: 7 Delicious Tasting Menus For $100 or Less

NY Restaurant List6
Twenty20

Split the Tab on an App

Oops, you’re out for girls’ night and you all forgot to bring cash. Instead of asking the server to split the bill on eight credit cards, try the free Tab app. Just snap a photo of the receipt and tap your items to claim them. Tip and tax are included, too.

NY Restaurant List7

Swap Dinner For Lunch

If your heart is set on that Michelin-starred meal, go for lunch, when the prices are usually cheaper, instead of dinner. Jean-Georges offers a $38 prix fixe lunch, while a dinner tasting will cost you upwards of $98. Use the rest of the cash for a cute new dress.

Related: 7 Michelin-Starred Restaurants You Won’t Spend a Million Dollars At

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