Money & Career

Would you spend $400 on dinner for two?

When I turned 40, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a blow-out meal at one of Toronto’s top restaurants. We each had starters, main courses and dessert along with a few glasses of wine.

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When I turned 40, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a blow-out meal at one of Toronto’s top restaurants. We each had starters, main courses and dessert along with a few glasses of wine.

The bill came out to nearly $400 with tax and tip.

Our reaction to the food overall: meh.

Sure, it was well executed and the ingredients were fresh. But to us it wasn’t worth $400. In fact, we realized no meal was worth spending $400 on.

That isn’t the case for a lot of people. We have friends that regularly hit up top restaurants, spending hundreds of dollars to enjoy food prepared by talented chefs. They are passionate about food — and spending big money on fine dining is what they love to do.

Me…I just can’t. When I know the bill is going to be that high, I suddenly become super critical about every bite I take. Is there enough lobster in this bisque? Is a chicken dish really worth this much money when I saw cutlets on sale at Loblaws this afternoon? The meal never lives up to my expectations.

We haven’t been to a super expensive restaurant since — for my husband’s birthday this year, we hit up a local pizza place and had a blast. We also have more fun cooking our special meals at home, researching new recipes and executing them in our own kitchen over a bottle of decent wine that hasn’t been astronomically marked up. That experience can’t be replicated in a restaurant, no matter how skilled the chef or fancy the décor.

When we do go out, we choose cheaper restaurants. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the food is of a lesser quality: you don’t have to pay $50 for a good bowl of pho. Or a great pizza or roti.

What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a dinner out? And was it worth it?