7 Ways To Save Money At A High-End Restaurant
Depending on your budget, you may or may not get to eat dinners out too often. It sucks when you see friends and acquaintances in your Instagram feed posting about amazing new restaurants and you’re over there meal-prepping or eating eggs for dinner. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. If you’re smart about it, there are plenty of tricks you can keep in mind so that you don’t break the bank trying out that new restaurant in town. Here’s how to save money when you’re treating yourself to fancy dinner.
1. Order the most filling appetizers.
We’d like to order a plate of $16 shishito peppers just as much as the next person, but that’s not going to fill anyone up. With a few light apps, you’ll be ordering way more entrees and the entrees add up. Order the filling starters on the menu such as the ones with carbs, cheese or anything rich. Between the appetizers and the complimentary bread, you’ll still get the full restaurant experience without breaking the bank on that short rib or osso buco.
2. Eat with friends who have similar budgets.
Make sure you’re on the same page as the people you’re eating with if you’re going to a fancy restaurant. In other words, don’t go with your banker friends unless, a) they’re not that hungry and won’t be ordering outrageous amounts to share, b) they’re generous and want to cover most of the meal or c) they’re not into sharing so you can get your own thing and pay accordingly. Make sure you’re on the same page with whoever you’re eating with before you sit down. You don’t want to end up in a situation where people are ordering pricey entrees left and right with the intention of splitting the bill at the end.
3. Research restaurant weeks.
You’ll find restaurant weeks many cities across the country. Usually spanning over a few weeks, restaurants in various cities can choose to participate for exposure, which means they’ll offer fixed priced meals off their regular menu items that would usually be way more expensive. If you can hold out until restaurant week, you might be able to try out that bucket list restaurant you’ve had your eye on.
We’re not saying all upscale restaurants will let you bring your own bottle (BYOB), but it’s a good idea to check ahead of time if they do. You might be able to save a bunch of money on alcohol by choosing your own bottle of wine. Just make sure you figure out if there’s a corkage fee ahead of time. Some restaurants end up charging you a hefty amount just to open the bottle for you if you bring your own.
5. Split an entree.
If you’re going on a date or going out to dinner with friends, split an entree and order a bunch of appetizers instead. You’ll at least get to try one of the main dishes and this way you won’t have to worry about taking leftovers (which you might forget about anyway). Plus, you might not be hungry enough to eat an entire piece of branzino by yourself.
6. Talk to your server.
It’s always a good idea to make friends with your server. Crack a joke or find some common ground with your server once you sit down. If they like you, they’re way more willing to top off your wine glass, bring you an appetizer on the house or give you that extra cheese you were hoping for. If you can avoid pissing them off with crazy requests, it’ll be in your benefit.
7. Go for lunch.
For anyone who gets a lunch break, take advantage of that time to have a quick meal at that fancy restaurant you’ve been eyeing. You might find a dish from the dinner menu that’s half the price on the lunch menu. If you’re at a restaurant that’s usually slammed at night, chances are you might also get a better quality meal at lunch when the kitchen isn’t as hectic.
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