Do you go to high-end restaurants?

There’s a pretty clear delineation between restaurants, at least in my mind. There’s the every-day places, the type you go to in jeans and casual shirts, and they serve burgers and maybe a pasta dish or two and assorted sandwiches. Then there’s the “slightly-upscale” places - the ones you go to with your parents, the types of places that probably don’t have burgers on the menu and you’d want to make sure you were in your best jeans or even khakis.

Then there’s the high-end places. The places where you wouldn’t feel out-of-place wearing a suit & tie, or heels & fancy dress. The places where there’s a maitre’d and a sommelier and the bathroom has real cloth towels to wipe your hands on. When you return from the bathroom, your napkin has been refolded, the crumbs have been removed from the table cloth, and your wine glass never gets below 1/2 full. And, of course, the bill will not be below 3-figures.

I know a lot of people - both in real life and on the boards - who have never been to such a place, nor do they wish to. Even without the money issue (those places are pricey!), they have no desire to dress for dinner or may feel uncomfortable in such an establishment.

So which is it? Do you or don’t you?

Hell yeah, especially on vacation. It’s a treat and we deserve it.


I’ve been to a few, mostly on the company dime (entertaining clients). My wife and I have also been to a few with her sister/brother in law. In Chicago, it’s expected to take the client somewhere pretty nice (in my industry). You usually end up in a fancy steakhouse (Gibson’s, Gene and Georgetti’s, Chop house, etc.), but sometimes the client wants French or Asian.

When we go for ourselves (rarely…we tend to like Outback and Bahama Breeze-level restaurants for weekend stuff, normally), we usually go downtown and choose by cuisine. I’ve been to some pretty nice places, and I’ve been to some places where I’d have preferred Outback.

Long story short, for personal dining, we do “fancy” (jacket) dining aout 2xyear. It’s usually worth it for the memory and the wait staff, but sometimes it’s a stumble.


been to a few. try not to make a habit of it. last time was for an anniversary and had a $75 steak. took months before i could eat regular steak again.

I’ve been to one before and it was nice to live high for an evening. Haven’t been since I got married, as my wife is highly uncomfortable in those types of places. No skin off my nose whatsoever.

Athena, weren’t you looking into becoming a chef at one point? Or, did you want to open a restaurant? Did you want to do a high-end?

Not as a force of habit. It’s a nice treat from time to time to mark a special occasion or break out from a routine.

I love “high-end” restaurants. In fact, I would rather forgo eating at ten chain restaurants, just to afford a really good meal.

My favorite place in the Twin Cities is Goodfellow’s Restaurant (Warning–.pdf file). Every June, I make reservations for the following calendar year for a Chef’s tasting dinner, which is served in the kitchen. It’s a ten-course meal, which lasts over four hours, and runs about $200/per person. From an entertainment perspective, as well as an epicurian perspective, it just can’t be beat.

When we lived in that Bay Area and before we had kids, we used to do it a lot. Now, maybe once a year or so. We educated our selves about food and wine, though, so I never really felt intimidated. It’s nice being fussed over and I don’t recall ever being condescended to, even when we were young.

We do. At least a few times a year. We live in a great area for restaurants, wine country, where even the somewhat casual restaurants have great menus and great wine lists, and there’s certainly no shortage of high-end places.

Mostly we go to the really high-end places for special occasions; anniversaries, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. And vacations. We both enjoy the food and the atmosphere, the dressing up, the indulgence, etc. Every now and then I’ll get treated to dinner by a vendor, and they usually spare no expense.

We had the good fortune to dine at THE restaurant (The French Laundry in Yountville) a couple of months ago. I doubt we’ll ever top the experience.

I’ve played with the idea of going to cooking school or getting a job in a restaurant for years. I’ve no illusions about restaurant work; it’s hard work for low pay. Therefore I’ve so far kept my easy work for high pay high-tech job. :smiley:

I mostly asked this question because I, for one, love the pampering that goes into a meal at a high end place and can’t understand why people wouldn’t. But I do know a LOT of people who are uncomfortable in them and/or would never in a thousand years think one meal was worth $100+. And, it’s a Friday afternoon, and I’m bored at work.

I hate you. No, really, I do hate you. And everyone else who’s ever eaten there, too.

We dine at The Brass Elephant once a year. The rest of our dining experiences are limited to more laid-back four-star restaurants.

The food and service at The Brass Elephant is outstanding. We just find we have more fun in a less formal atmosphere, and the food just about as good in some of these restaurants. Plus, because we have small children, we don’t get to dine out all that often. More often than not, we want to have fun, experience different ethic dishes and dress comfortably.

I’ve been to Yountville! :smiley:

There is a great (famous?) sandwich place there that serves the most amazing focaccia sammies.

We enjoyed very fine dining in St. Helena though. I had rabbit in white whine sauce and the restaurant manager asked if he could pick the wine and dessert for us. It was very memorable.

You’ve met my mother, I see. :smiley: There’s a lot of that around here—more than $8 for an entrée is just CRAZY TALK!

Even though I can be sort of a picky eater, I do love to get a really nice meal once in a while, even if some of the ingredients are not to my liking, because I understand that a sufficiently talented chef can make ANYTHING taste wonderful. And excellent table service is also a rare treat in this region of waitresses coming at your leftovers with a doggie bag over their hand, having previously asked, “Are ya still workin’ on that?”

Mr. S and I spent $150 on dinner (including tip) for our tenth anniversary. That’s probably about as high as we would want to go, and probably about as much as you can spend on dinner (excluding wine) around here. Our 15th is next week, and there’s a nice Greek restaurant we’ve been wanting to try. We’re planning to get all dolled up, not because the restaurant necessarily requires it, but because we had to buy new clothes for a funeral recently (good-quality top/skirt combo for me, suit for him) and we’d like to try them out for a more festive occasion.

I’d say twice a year I wind up with a different group of friends for an occasion. I adore doing the $150 per person dinner.

The other 363 days it’s mac&cheese or pizza :stuck_out_tongue:

We’ve eaten at Emeril’s at Universal CityWalk in Orlando twice, once for dinner and once for lunch.

Lunch was a spur of the moment thing, and we weren’t really dressed for it, but both times the food was excellent (I’d have taken a nap in those garlic mashed potatoes if I could) and the service extremely attentive. At dinner I dropped my napkin, and before I could even reach down to pick it up the waiter had whisked a new one next to my plate.

Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s more than worth it. And I think that’s par for the course…if you’re going to charge $40 for a steak, it better be worth it or you won’t be in business for long. People will pay for quality, but you better deliver.

SpouseO and I eat at sorta high-end restaurants fairly often. Not once a month, but more than six times a year. We’ll spend upwards of $100 on a good meal for both of us. (I use all these figures because I’m not sure what you consider high-end - some people I know would consider our outings very high end, others might not). I’d say these are mostly 4 star restaurants. We don’t often do 5-star restaurants, but I’ve been to a couple.

We like it - it’s nice to get gussied up and enjoy a really good meal once in a while. The conversation, atmosphere, and experience is worth it to us. We don’t have any kids and have pretty good jobs, and we like to splurge and treat ourselves. It’s worth it.

We don’t eat out very often (aside from schedules that don’t really permt it, we’re both really good cooks who enjoy it), so when we do go out to dinner it is usually some place high end.

As someone posted earlier, why got to Applebee’s ten times for mediocre food, service, and atmosphere when you can go someplace wonderful a couple of times and really enjoy it?

I don’t do so very often on my own dime, but work has afforded many opportunities in the last couple of years to eat at farily high-end places.

When I do have the money (and I will, soon), I would do this fairly often.