How to Get the Best Restaurant Deal

Colleen Rush, author of The Mere Mortal's Guide to Fine Dining (Broadway, $13, amazon.com), tells how to best navigate the menu.

By Colleen Rush
Bottles of wineJames Merrell

Q. What dishes are a good value?
A.
Chicken and pasta might be cheap, but they have the highest markup. Order a steak or seasonal foods for the best deal.

Q. Where are the well-priced items on a menu?
A.
In the middle—not the top or the bottom—of the dish list. Avoid anything printed in large letters, in bright colors, or in a box. These dishes are generally not bargains.

Q. How do you get your money’s worth on a bottle of wine?
A. Don’t order a brand or a variety that you’re familiar with. Restaurants know people gravitate toward widely available wines, so these are often marked up the most.

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