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ibstubro's avatar

What's the absolute most you have ever spent/would ever spend to eat at a restaurant?

Asked by ibstubro (11146 points ) May 18th, 2014

Appologies if you have answered this question before, the mods determined it was too long in the first incarnation, although editing it has – in my opinion – changed the question.

Not the highest bill you’ve paid at a restaurant, but the most expensive meal you have personally eaten/would personally eat at a restaurant.

If it was a really super-special occasion and a really super-special restaurant, I might spend up to $100. Once. I suspect that my current top is somewhere in the $40 range, and I doubt I paid, but ate at someone else’s insistence.

When I was a kid, I went to some political bashes where the overhead was likely in the $100’s per guest.

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77 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I went out to dinner in New York last November, and with no alcohol, my bill just for myself was $120, before tip.

I am planning to go to French Laundry in Yountville CA. Dinner there without wine is above $200 per person.

And I am eating at Delmonico’s in NY tomorrow night (someone else is paying), I expect that to be upwards of $100 each.

Pachy's avatar

Probably the most expensive meals I’ve had—most of them in the years I had a business expense account—were at sushi restaurants in various cities. Depending on the number of people with me, the checks were often so high that the tips themselves would pay for expensive meals! I’m more frugal these days, but I still sometimes splurge on sushi.

ibstubro's avatar

I remembered that you had described expensive meals before, @zenvelo. At one time I would have envied you tremendously.

I’ve thought that about tip, too, @Pachy. 4 of us regularly eat at the local Mexican restaurant for around $40, and that’s lots of alcohol included.

gailcalled's avatar

@zenvelo: Check out the high-end of the French Laundry’s wine list if you need a good laugh.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Nine people at a Japanese restaurant, bill was $2300 before tip. That a little over $250 each

ragingloli's avatar

The most I am willing to ever pay is 50.

ragingloli's avatar

@Tropical_Willie
That is the definition of insanity.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Average, with drinks, is about $40 for two people.

I paid $35.00 just for a crab leg dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf in Seattle though. That’s the most expensive per-meal price I’ve ever paid for.

GloPro's avatar

Beano’s Cabin in Beaver Creek, Colorado, has been the most expensive meal I have personally paid for. You ride horses to the cabin, get served a 5-course meal, and ride back. If I remember correctly it was around $100 each, before champagne and wine, which tacked on another $175. It was a special occasion.

livelaughlove21's avatar

The most my husband and I have spent or would spend eating out is $80–100, so $40–50 each. We don’t usually drink at restaurants, so that doesn’t include alcohol. Typically, we keep it under $60 for both of us.

gondwanalon's avatar

Back in 1990 I spent $60 (tip included) for lunch for my woman friend and I in a cafe in a shopping mall. It was not a special occasion or a fancy place and we sat at the bar. Back then 60 bucks was over a day’s wages for me. I thought to myself “Never again”.

Symbeline's avatar

Around forty dollars, plus tips. Thirty seven dollars to be exact. It was some fancy restaurant. The entry was snails, and the main course was a pizza, and beer. We were two people. We split the bill, but still, forty bucks for pizza and two beers…it was some damn fine pizza though, I can tell you that. Not greasy ass American style pizza either, it had real meat on it awesome sauce. Still, a tad pricey if you ask me, especially these days where I’m tight as shit as far as cash goes. :/

Crazydawg's avatar

The most so far was $125.00 per person which was a wild game 5 course feast with home crafted wine and beer pairings. It was worth every penny especially the dessert which was a chocolate stout beer ice cream served on the side of a white chocolate stuffed cannoli concoction.

anniereborn's avatar

The most ever spent was in 1992 for my then husband and mine’s 1st anniversary. The bill was about 100 dollars total.
Other than that,since then,for just the meal part, maybe 20?

wildpotato's avatar

I think it was the Omakase (chef’s choice tasting menu) at Morimoto. $150 before drinks and tip; probably a bit over $200 altogether.

cookieman's avatar

My wife and average about $40–50 for the two of us (no alcohol, as we don’t drink).

About once or twice a year we’ll go to this one restaurant we really like and spend about $100—$120.

Coloma's avatar

I live in Northern CA. wine country and have several little haunts I have frequented over the years. Some gourmet little lunches, a glass or 2 of wine, maybe $40ish on lunch, but this is rare. Otherwise several expensive dinners out over the years, but I am not into super expensive, ostentatious dining. I prefer to make my own yummy and festive meals with friends.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

That I actually paid for?

1973, at a Ft. Ross, California B&B on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean about 90 miles north of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1), late on a very stormy night. My half of the check: $420.00. One snifter of Rémy Martin by the fire to throw off the chill. Menu was classic Escoffier French: Escargot Provençal, Warm Spinach Salad, Chateaubriand noir et blanc (with both sauce Bordelaise & Bernaise). The wine: Chateau Lafitte, 1961. Dessert: Crepe Suzette. Coffee and Grand Marnier. The Maitre’d offered us Cuban cigars as well, but I was young yet and hadn’t the stomach for cigars.

This menu would be considered quite boring today, I think, except to cultural historians and diehard Escoffier devotees—a population probably untimely depleted due to the unhealthy richness of this excellent cuisine. I have no idea why this great chef was at a remote B&B so far into the hinterlands, but he was a treasure that night an extremely violent autumn Pacific storm drove us off the highway and into the warmth near his hearth. Maybe this was his retirement plan, who knows. Or maybe he absconded with the wine cellar from one of the greatest restaurants. I thought it strange for a country B&B to have some of the greatest vintages of the century. But to our surprise, the owner-maitre’d and the chef sat with us at our table after closing and open another bottle of ‘61 Laffite, gratis, and we all drank it together next to the fire. What a fine night that was.

pleiades's avatar

@ragingloli and by insanity you mean blue finned tuna and caviar sushi right? hehe

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Oh yeah. We tipped $80 dollars each, making the total cost of the meal an even grand for two.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When you taking ME out to dinner @Espiritus_Corvus?

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Dinners on the big spender…Corvus up! lol

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

That was long ago and I was a totally different corvus than I am today. But, what the hell. It’s too long since I’ve had such gracious company, and such tonic for tired eyes you both are. So, shall we have the meal of our dreams? What would you ladies like to order first?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Lobsta and Chardonnay. ;)

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Lobster it is. Maine? Traditional with drawn butter? May I suggest the Bouchard Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, or a Chateau Montelena from Coloma’s neck of the woods? Both are prize winners. I always liked Louis Jadot’s product, but I’m hardly a connoisseur.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Um. OK. Just don’t try to trick me with crawdads and beer.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Ha. I’ll list that into my catalog of devious pick up strategies… That’s two items this week: Ply with lots of vodka first, then serve crawdads and beer in lieu of lobster and champagne.
and Forget the Swiss cheese idea. Too dangerous.

I was thinking about presenting a copy of it to HC as a Christmas present.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wonders how long we’re going to get away with this! :D

Good idea about the Christmas present!

What will you be having @Coloma?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Yeh. Ok, would you like a cocktail before we order?

ucme's avatar

I usually end up washing the dishes, only joking, it’s good for morale

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. I would like a margarita, on the rocks, no salt. Thenk you.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

You’re welcome to join us, @ucme. A margarita it is. No salt. But if we’re going to do this right, why don’t we first decide on the restaurant. And instead of ordering Maine lobster, we can just have Scotty beam us there. But let’s first think of the ambiance we want. That and the service was a big part of that very expensive dinner back in ‘73.

Dutchess_III's avatar

M. I want to have a view of the ocean. I want to be outside.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Sounds like you want a terraced restaurant on a cliff. South of France, or Northern California?

Coloma's avatar

I will have some amazing cheeses, fruits and artisan bread and champagne to start. Then yes, Lobster sounds amazing, and maybe, my annual steak, some delicious garlic mashed potatoes and then, lemon cheesecake please. :-)

Coloma's avatar

Oooh…yes, outside dining, wherever that may be. The best would be dining on your boat Corvus. Or, any boat. :-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh! On the boat! Or….Here! Yes, there.

syz's avatar

In my former life, when I had money, it wasn’t unusual to pay several hundred dollars for a meal for two. And honestly, occasionally, I’d still consider it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can’t think of any place around here where you could wind up with a several hundred dollar meal…..

ibstubro's avatar

I just flagged the question be moved to Social. We shall see. Haven’t had a good hijack in a while.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s kind of fun hijacking a General Question and getting away with it for a while!

Darth_Algar's avatar

Probably the most I’d be willing to spend on a single meal for myself, ummmm, maybe $30, though more likely closer to $20–25. I’m not expensive or refined in my tastes and I don’t drink alcohol (which seems to be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to adding expense to a dining bill). Plus I find it difficult to warrant spending much money on something I’m going to shit out and flush down the toilet in a few hours.

jerv's avatar

I generally don’t like spending more than $30/person, but I have broken that guideline when it’s just the wife and I for some sort of special occasion. I generally find that once you get above that, you are paying simply for bragging rights and pretentiousness. Snails are cheap, so why pay $47 a plate for them? As for wine, I might spring a little bit there, but not terribly much, especially since Carmenere is about the only wine I can really tolerate. (If I buy anything else, it’s only because my wife wants it.)

@Dutchess_III The ocean is overrated.
@Coloma So are boats.

ibstubro's avatar

I want a penthouse view, @Espiritus_Corvus! Darling I love you, but give me Park Avenue!
Great food and a breathtaking city scape.

Bloody Mary for me. Maybe a nice crab stuffed shrimp for appetizer, and I’ll order my entree off the menu. Hopefully something you highly recommend that I’ve never heard of before. Seafood or vegetarian, please.

In Manhattan we can have city and ocean all at once. Perhaps even the Lady Liberty. The Chrysler Building.

Damn, now I’ve depressed myself. Mac and cheese over the kitchen sink.

ibstubro's avatar

Oh, and I’m all over the crawdads and beer! Just another time, another pic-i-nic, @BooBoo @Dutchess_III.

jerv's avatar

@ibstubro Done right, mac and cheese can be awesome. Try it with smoked Gruyere.

Adagio's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus I wish I could give you lots more GAs, I so much enjoyed your recollections of a wonderful evening, I was living it vicariously.

ibstubro's avatar

I think a number of us were, @Adagio.

Aspirations

Coloma's avatar

If this counts I did spend $700 on a hot air balloon ride for my daughters 21st B-day, and we plowed through 3 bottles of good champagne. lol

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Excluding drinks, $100 plus each. By the time you’ve paid for an entree ($30), main ($40 plus), dessert ($30). Very easy to spend more then $100 per head.

For an average meal out we’d pay $70 plus each before drinks. We rarely have an entree AND a dessert.

ibstubro's avatar

You must be in a major urban area, @Earthbound_Misfit? If you eat out once a week, here in the sticks we call that kind of money, “rent”.

downtide's avatar

I eat out usually once a week too, sometimes more. I would far rather do that than spend it all in one go on an expensive vacation a year and have nothing left.

To answer the OP, I don’t recall the most expensive meal but our upper limit is £50 per person including drinks and tips, for a special occasion. We usually settle for about half that.

A couple of months ago we had lunch in Jamie Olivers restaurant in York. That was about £20 each with soft drinks and was less than I was expecting.

ragingloli's avatar

@downtide
How was the food?

jca's avatar

Me, myself, probably about $100 pp. I probably took a friend out for their birthday. Obviously not anything memorable. I am not a big drinker and usually drink Diet Coke, so my restaurant bills are never that high. Maybe at most $45 for a great steak = $100 total, pp.

As a guest, probably of my family who are big wine drinkers and there would be many “dead soldiers” by the end of the night. Great restaurants (NYC), great wine, no limit on anything. Since I never pay the bill at those occasions, I have no idea what it cost.

We had brunch at The Waldorf once, about 4 years ago, about $100 pp. 10 people for an aun’t birthday. You name it, food-wise, they had it. Incredible brunch, but it should be for the price.

downtide's avatar

@ragingloli in Jamie Oliver’s restaurant? It was very nice. Rustic Italian style, good down-to-earth food, decent portions. I would definitely go again. In fact I intend to; he has another restaurant in my home city.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I do live in an urban area @ibstubro. I guess it also depends on where you’re eating out. If you go to a chain type restaurant or a cafe type establishment but other than that, restaurants here are expensive.

We went to a French bistro type restaurant last night and the bill was $150 but we didn’t have an entree or dessert.

ibstubro's avatar

Okay, @Earthbound_Misfit, I can’t imagine that. What urban area are you in?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Sorry I bailed on you all a few day ago, so let me make it up to you by inviting you down to the boat tonight. It’s a light, warm wind on the Caribbean side of the island, so it should be glass out there. We’ll take her a couple of miles out, drop the sails, put out the sea anchor, then have chilled stone crab claws and mustard sauce with ice cold Pinot Grigio while we watch the sunset. It will be a clear night and the Milky Way will be beautiful as moonrise isn’t until 3am. And the big surprise will be the meteor shower we’re expecting. The most spectacular one since 1999. Big shooting stars all night long, 100 to 400 an hour. Everybody is welcome, including jerv. I’ll make sure the Grigio lasts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thank goodness. I was afraid you stood us up @Espiritus_Corvus!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Dutchess_III Never. It was unavoidable. My apologies to all.
While gathering our stone crabs on the bottom this morning, I snatched a couple of feisty Caribbean lobsters for you. Ten inch tails. They taste a little different than Maine lobsters, more like big langostinos. I think you’ll like them steamed with drawn butter. Ours have no claws, though.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s OK! I’m still excited and I can’t wait!
Now I have to go dress….

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is what I’m wearing. The dress makes me look more like my sister, Lex (all dark and exotic) than myself (fair skinned and blue eyes) but that’s OK!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Dutchess_III Wow, I didn’t expect Aphrodite. I do believe you’ll be sitting to the left of the captain tonight.

ibstubro's avatar

Crap. I didn’t know we were choosing our attire, first. Maybe I’m overdressed”?

Adagio's avatar

Can I go with you @ibstubro, I’ll wear this , we’d look quite a pair don’t you think?

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@ibstubro, the restaurant I was in the other night was in Melbourne, Australia. Obviously, at those prices we don’t eat out multiple times a week or even every week and we will often go to a pub for a meal. Although even pub food is not cheap here anymore.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Oh man, if we’re going to dress like that, we’re gonna to need a bigger boat. Better enhance the menu a bit since you all seem to want to take this to another level. I’ll put the Veuve Clicquot on ice. I can probably get my first and second mates to don monkey suits and serve as wait staff, but they’re not going to like it. Aaaaarg! Cappin’s gone insane!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

You look lovely tonight, @Adagio.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Looks like I’m the only one prepared to get tossed in the water though! What a lovely evening this is turning out to be today. Lovely friends, lovely food, lovely insane captain. Precious! :D

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wait…we gotta get this thread back on track. How much is all of this going to cost?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’m covering that. The shellfish dinners cost nothing. I just pick the crabs and lobsters off the bottom while snorkeling. You don’t even need tanks to get them. They’re in 3 to 6 feet of crystal clear water in a nearby cove. Since you brought your trunks, you help. It’s a good swim in the morning. The M.Y. Janie rents by the week, however, at $190,000 per. Things might get a little tight at the end of the month, but I’ll get that, too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Dang! Guess we win with the highest dollars!

ibstubro's avatar

I’m just drooling over the eats! @Espiritus_Corvus!

ibstubro's avatar

Yes @Adagio.Appropriate!

hearkat's avatar

For my gourmand fiancé‘s fiftieth birthday last year, I took him to Daniel, where the tasting menu – without wine pairings (we don’t drink, thank goodness) – is $220 per person before tax and tip. The night we were there, there were two choices for each course, so we got one of everything and shared between the two of us. The service and the pacing were excellent, the atmosphere was lovely, and the food was wonderful. We topped off the evening to front-row seats to one of his favorite artist’s premiere at Carnegie Hall. I was thrilled with how it all came together.

Our previous top bill was when we visited Chicago in 2011 and we ate at Moto. However, that night we did different options. Mine was probably around $110 and his $150. Even if I were to become wealthy, I don’t think I could eat like that often. I think it is about the experience as much as the food.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I took my Brande and Aden to Kobi Steakhouse, where they cook on the table. Aden ordered a steak. A $15.00 steak! Then they brought the first course out…bird’s nest soup. Aden took one look at it and said, “I don’t think I’m going to like my steak.”
I yelled, “CANCEL THAT STEAK!!!”
Rick kind of couldn’t believe it when I told him Aden didn’t eat. I said it was the experience, more than the food, that I took them there for. Bill was still $45 for me and a 9 year old. But worth it! The looks on their faces when the table caught fire!

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