There is nothing I love more than a good meal out. I love cooking too but it’s great to sit down in a great atmosphere, sip a beer or glass of wine and pick something decadent to try. The only problem with eating out is that it can be pretty expensive and seem like something you just can’t fit in your budget. That’s not the case though and there are several ways that you can savor a gourmet meal without breaking the bank.
1. Eat lunch instead of dinner. While an expensive restaurant offers pricey entrees at the dinner hour, check their lunch menu and you’ll usually find equally tasty meals offered for lunch. You might not get a huge strip steak, you’ll be able to find interesting lunch-sized portions of the greatness the kitchen whips up. The best part of trying the restaurant at lunch instead of dinner is there may not be a wait for a seat and you get to see the really cool interiors that make each restaurant a unique experience.
2. Try an appetizer instead of a main meal. Appetizers are a great way to get a small sample of the restaurant’s delicious offerings. Entrees can also be pretty big so if you’re diet conscious, then appetizers can be the way to go.
3. Bring a friend. Buddy up with someone you trust at a restaurant and you’ll get to have double the fun with sampling different foods. I make my boyfriend share with me, even if he doesn’t want to, and I love trying two different things off the menu.
4. Avoid the alcohol. Drinks are guaranteed to be the thing that rackets up your bill. Unless you really need a drink, a water or even a soda will do just fine. I also like to get a drink at a place that’s known for them like breweries or a restaurant with an extensive cocktail list.
5. Look for restaurant deals all year round. The best way to try that new, trendy or just plain pricey restaurant is to look for a deal. With sites like Living Social and Groupon, it’s getting more and more simpler to get a great deal on a meal in your town. Sign up for these services and while you won’t always get a deal for a restaurant, you’ll be surprised what pops up. In addition to daily deals, my favorite time of the year has always been Restaurant Week. Living between two major cities, I’ve been able to try lots of exciting restaurants and delicious food available on affordable prix fixe menus. And finally, check the website of the restaurant you want to visit. Some restaurants offer special prix fixe dinners every so often, beer dinners or sampling nights.