Nothing quite comes close to the lavishness and elegance of fine dining. You either completely go for it, or ruin the beautiful night worrying about the bill. We usually reserve this luxury for special occasions or go to mediocre places because we can't afford to go somewhere nicer. Here are budget-friendly remedies to dine in style for less.
- Bring coupons. Sure, it can be embarrassing - especially when you're trying to impress a date, but fine dining is fine dining; as long as you're able to pay for it, shame is going to be the least of your worries. Good food comes with a price but it's never a crime to ask for discounts. Coupons were given out for a reason. Use them.
- Take advantage of special occasions. No need to book cheap hotels or endure bad service for less expensive dining. Special days call for special dining experiences. Call up your favorite high-end Italian restaurant and ask for reservations. Tell them the occasion and they are sure to add something extra to your items for free. It's one of the perks of gourmet restaurants. They are known to handle customers with utmost care.
Special occasions can also mean the restaurant's opening anniversary. Depending on which class of people the restaurant is more oriented towards, it is very likely that they will either have discounts on selected items and give out free stuff; or organize an exclusive celebration for the elite members or restaurant regulars. The former is usually the case.
- Go at lunchtime. The most expensive meal of the day is dinner. For good reasons: People prefer to dine during cold, romantic nights; the over-all ambiance is more attractive and late-night gigs and shifts need to be paid. If you can help it, go at noon when prices are likely to be set at a more affordable range because they are accommodating a wider spectrum of customers.
- Skip the wine-desserts duo. Oh, but they serve the best confections in town! And such heavenly drops on the lips! Unless you can squeeze it in the budget, desserts and wines may easily take a third of your total bill and will leave your bank broke and your tummy half-filled. If it is too irresistible, content yourself on sharing one entree.
- Try buffets. More often than not, a high-end restaurant has a buffet area where you can eat as much as two to three servings for the price of one. It is usually a staple in restaurants of fine dining. Otherwise, scan the menu for other available combo deals.
- Do mental computations. While leafing through the menus, consider the prices and compare between deals. Some food may be more expensive than the others because it comes in bigger servings or it contains a rare ingredient. Impractical indulgences will not give you value for your money.
- Lastly, copy recipes. It is wise to remember the taste, texture and play of spices in your mouth so you can recreate the concoction in the comfortable affordability of your own kitchen. Restaurants do not disclose trade secrets, but if you have a talent for taste discrimination, then you don't have to spend money every single time for the fine dining experience.