Fancy Restaurants... Complete Waste of Money or Worth It?

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    Mar 28, 2011 4:29 AM GMT
    I go out to eat at restaurants only on Saturdays and Sundays since those are the only days I allow myself to get off my workout diet which consist of really really cheap and basic food items like oatmeal, eggs, protein shakes, bread, nuts, etc.

    I am a huge foodie and have been trying all the restaurants that I hear about through friends since moving to NYC. I've been trying fancy places like Masa, Babbo, Le Bernardin, and Per Se. (west coast people think french laundry or chez panisse).

    I've calculated how much I spent food this month and it is almost as much as what I used to pay for a month's rent when living in my one bedroom apartment in San Francisco. It was painful totaling up the numbers but whatever live and learn.

    I have to admit the food, ambiance and service were amazing. However, my appetite has been more satisfied eating 99 cent tacos from a Mexican roach coach in LA. It makes me wonder why people think the prices at these restaurants are justifiable? We had to make reservations weeks in advance for some of these restaurants so obviously tons of people think it is worth the price.

    What do you guys think?
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    Mar 28, 2011 4:37 AM GMT
    I like simple foods. My tastes buds aren't that great anyways. So eating food at a fancy restaurant made by elite chefs would be a waste of money. Besides, I have higher priorities in life, and would rather not spend ridiculous amounts of money of boujie food.
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    Mar 28, 2011 4:45 AM GMT
    With a lot of these restaurants you are paying for the ambiance and the status factor. A restaurant will be reviewed in the paper or a noted chef will go to a particular restaurant and it will become the "in place to be." The patrons often discuss it an advance with their friends and talk about it a lot after. As much as eating, the deal is to dress up and see and be seen. Depending on the restaurant, having a reservation at a fashionable time and having a prestige table is a sign that you are influential and have pull. I have friends and relatives in NY and some of them are very much into the "in restaurants" so I'm quite familiar. Same thing with some of the LA restaurants. Some of the entrees are intended to be works of art, but the portions would leave a bird hungry. There's an old joke about people eating at a fancy restaurant, leaving hungry and going to McDonalds.

    As far as is it worth it? If the status, ambiance, dressing up, and bragging rights are important, and you have enough disposable income, then go for it. Me personally - I'd go as a willing friend, but my preference is much more casual. Not that it's healthy, but have you tried White Castle, at the other end of the spectrum? Actually with some friends I went to a White Castle after eating at a fancy restaurant. Was hungry and wanted to experience the real NY. Can't beat a White Castle for that.

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    Mar 28, 2011 4:46 AM GMT
    The VERY nice restaurants are always this way. You will order a $50 dish that is basically a snack. I personally don't really love these types of restaurants. When I go out with family, they always want to go places like this, but I always suggest something a bit cheaper, but where you get much more food for the money like a nice steakhouse.
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    Mar 28, 2011 4:55 AM GMT
    Molecular gastronomy is one type of "fine dining" that I refuse to pay any money for.
    I'll take a bacon wrapped hot dog please.

    Mkj1w.jpg
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    Mar 28, 2011 5:58 AM GMT
    AvadaKedavra saidI go out to eat at restaurants only on Saturdays and Sundays since those are the only days I allow myself to get off my workout diet which consist of really really cheap and basic food items like oatmeal, eggs, protein shakes, bread, nuts, etc.

    I am a huge foodie and have been trying all the restaurants that I hear about through friends since moving to NYC. I've been trying fancy places like Masa, Babbo, Le Bernardin, and Per Se. (west coast people think french laundry or chez panisse).

    I've calculated how much I spent food this month and it is almost as much as what I used to pay for a month's rent when living in my one bedroom apartment in San Francisco. It was painful totaling up the numbers but whatever live and learn.

    I have to admit the food, ambiance and service were amazing. However, my appetite has been more satisfied eating 99 cent tacos from a Mexican roach coach in LA. It makes me wonder why people think the prices at these restaurants are justifiable? We had to make reservations weeks in advance for some of these restaurants so obviously tons of people think it is worth the price.

    What do you guys think?


    Depends on where you go. There are some good restaurants that are expensive and some shit ones that are just as expensive.

    I don't think that price correlates with good food, at least not in NY. Some of the places named are not worth the price in my opinion.

    Just because something is the most expensive doesn't make it the best. In fact being expensive sometimes requires that the food begin to evolve to cater to the palettes of the few who can afford it which can actually make it quite bad (white washed sushi anyone?) Masa for example is horrifically overpriced. Yasuda is waaaay better.

    If you're really interested in all the most interesting places to eat you should probably look for places that are a little less expensive. You will probably find that the food is better then at some of the places you went. But if you really only want to stick to the higher end places, there are about 3 or 4 places that you'ed probably enjoy because the experience is actually worth the price.
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    Mar 28, 2011 7:31 AM GMT
    dekiruman said

    Depends on where you go. There are some good restaurants that are expensive and some shit ones that are just as expensive.



    For me this is very much much so in the US especially. $300 for two people (hooray for prix fixe) and I've often been like "this meal was crap" with probably the exception of one course. And the wine, usually the wine won't disappoint. Only outside of the US have I had mind blowing and I mean MIND BLOWING dining experiences at quote unquote very expensive restaurants.
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    Mar 28, 2011 7:32 AM GMT
    xrichx saidMolecular gastronomy is one type of "fine dining" that I refuse to pay any money for.
    I'll take a bacon wrapped hot dog please.

    Mkj1w.jpg


    Holy shit the chiles toreados in the corner have me salivating =OO
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    Mar 28, 2011 9:15 AM GMT
    Waste of money for sure u can make food just as good even better at home with a lil effort and know how and its cheaper and generally better
  • Aus92

    Posts: 328

    Mar 28, 2011 1:23 PM GMT
    Anywhere that serves a good steak will keep me happy icon_smile.gif
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    Mar 28, 2011 1:27 PM GMT
    Ariodante said
    xrichx saidMolecular gastronomy is one type of "fine dining" that I refuse to pay any money for.
    I'll take a bacon wrapped hot dog please.

    Mkj1w.jpg


    Holy shit the chiles toreados in the corner have me salivating =OO


    Those are called ghetto dogs in LA.
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    Mar 28, 2011 1:27 PM GMT
    The only thing I find justifiable to splurge on is sushi. It doesn't have to be a fancy place, though...the best sushi place I know is a tiki bar on the beach.
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    Mar 28, 2011 1:30 PM GMT

    I don't mind paying a little more for awesome food (not fancy necessarily... just awesome). But what really gets me is $15 for a mediocre cocktail. It's gin, tonic water, and lime. $15?????

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    Mar 28, 2011 1:30 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidThe only thing I find justifiable to splurge on is sushi. It doesn't have to be a fancy place, though...the best sushi place I know is a tiki bar on the beach.
    where?....icon_lol.gif
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    Mar 28, 2011 1:31 PM GMT
    TropicalMark said
    paulflexes saidThe only thing I find justifiable to splurge on is sushi. It doesn't have to be a fancy place, though...the best sushi place I know is a tiki bar on the beach.
    where?....icon_lol.gif
    Joe's Tiki Bar - The ONLY place I've ever gotten completely stuffed on a sushi/sashimi combo. The portions are huge! And it's only 25 bucks. icon_wink.gif
  • masculumpedes

    Posts: 5549

    Mar 28, 2011 1:32 PM GMT
    Joe's Crab Shack......Joe knows...icon_wink.gif
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    Mar 28, 2011 1:47 PM GMT
    I think the fancy hipster spots are stupid, sometimes people go just because it's the hot spot to be scene. I personally don't mind spending money on amazing food, but we tend to go to places that are off the beat and path.

    Food portions my not be huge but that is because the details are in the ingredients as well of the ambiance, service.

    Much like a car or designer clothing, you're paying for the cut, the material, the performance, and quality. Just know how to spot out the fake...restaurant that is.
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    Mar 28, 2011 1:50 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]DJdorchester said[/cite]
    I don't mind paying a little more for awesome food (not fancy necessarily... just awesome). But what really gets me is $15 for a mediocre cocktail. It's gin, tonic water, and lime. $15?????

    Dude that pisses me more off than the food. I agree, I see those prices and run, that is just ridiculous. icon_mad.gif
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    Mar 28, 2011 1:53 PM GMT
    KaliforniaCool said but we tend to go to places that are off the beat and path.

    BEATEN PATH. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Mar 28, 2011 1:54 PM GMT
    Unless it's truly spectacular, it's not worth it. I like to cook and even my daily meals are usually better than food from good restaurants. You can't duplicate some of the crazier high-end restaurant stuff at home, but you don't need to - a lot of the time technique over a certain level doesn't add much worthwhile to the taste. IMHO, of course.
  • alphatop

    Posts: 1955

    Mar 28, 2011 1:56 PM GMT
    Overrated with pretentious food and small portions. Total waste of money....and time...if u have to wait for weeks or even months to eat somewhere, there is only one word for such person - SNOB!
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    Mar 28, 2011 2:03 PM GMT
    I eat anything anywhere. Still an Army guy, most of my meals at home are eaten standing up, and unless my partner prepares something, I eat right out of the cans. It appalls him.

    At the same time, I enjoy a luxurious restaurant setting. Reminds me of my childhood in the 1950s, late lunch on a Sunday afternoon with my parents. My younger sister & I couldn't go out with them in the evenings, so that was our weekly special family dinner.

    One restaurant I especially remember. My father & I in coat & tie, even before I turned 10, my sister in a dress, my mother in her furs & jewels, either a coat in winter or a mink stole in summer. My father & I also in topcoats in winter with hats, that went to the coat check.

    Full linen on the table, of course, but also a small electric lamp on the table, a lovely touch I miss today. And since we usually sat near a wall, an original Norman Rockwell painting above us, with its own light. Rockwells weren't as valued as they are today, but the restaurant owner collected them, smart guy.

    A cocktail cart would be wheeled by, my parents having drinks, my Father a scotch & soda, my Mother a Manhattan. And my sister & I Shirley Temples with a cherry, in American champagne glasses. Today that would be scandalous, virtually child abuse, but quite normal then, so that all of us were enjoying "cocktails" together. Is it any wonder I drink today?

    I miss that world of elegance. I try to find places where it still exists, and take my partner there. Older than me, he enjoys them, too.

    I expect value for my money, though, and won't accept crap at high prices just because it's trendy & fashionable. But if I'm pleased, I'll pay a higher amount. typically over $100 for the 2 of us most times we go out (just this past Saturday), and have gone to $400+.

    I know you can go into the thousands, but I draw the line at that kind of excess. I can't afford it on a regular basis, and you reach a point of diminishing returns.

    But "fancy" restaurants? We do at least one a week. Otherwise life isn't worth living.
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    Mar 28, 2011 2:16 PM GMT
    Most expensive meal that I payed for was a 3 course meals though I didn't pay for dessert was 70$ I kicked my own ass when we left. I like going out to eat depending on the occasion will dictate where we go.

    More often then not though I feel like I can cook a better meal then most restaurants. Just cause I dont serve on a fancy dish.
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    Mar 28, 2011 2:22 PM GMT
    I appreciate good food. Try Cafe Boulud it's fantastic as well. It's def worth the $$. Their mushroom risotto is out of this world. One full meal would cost about 70-100 a person, for NYC standards that's peanuts.
  • rnch

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    Mar 28, 2011 2:26 PM GMT
    here in the unique dining environment of new orleans, there are "mon & pop" places that make food just as good, if not better than, fancy, "upscale" restaurants that charge 4 or 5 times as much for the same food.

    when i dine out, i'm after food quality, NOT room decorations.