“Hunter/gatherer” days are in the past for many of us. Our modern lifestyle is abundant, but can be expensive. We dine out often and I do hunt for great restaurants and gather information to make our dining-out lifestyle as affordable as possible.
I regularly use three excellent resources for exceptional value.
restaurant.com When first referred to this site, I thought certainly, “scam!” BUT NOT SO! I paid $1.00 each for $25.00 gift certificates to fine restaurants. We were at “Crab Landing” in Half Moon Bay when the moment of truth came. I handed over my at-home printed $25 gift certificate.
Voila!, $25.00 was subtracted from our bill! I used another at Avalon for my first visit to their establishment – I had one of the finest dining experiences of my life. I have a certificate for King Crab in Chicago – a place I regularly enjoying going anyway. Whether it’s looking for a new place to try or visiting and old stand-by, restaurant.com is a simple way to increase your buying power. Though the regular price shows $25 certificates for $10, after you sign up, they’ll send you promotions. Today, if you enter the coupon code “ENTREE,” they’re only $2.00! I still think it’s too good to be true, but sometimes life is that way!
opentable.com is great! I’m signed up and use their free service to make reservations. The benefit of opentable is that you have many restaurants at your fingertips, plus you accumulate “dining reward points” for booking through them. (I find it also helpful when traveling – you can put in an area or zip code and it gives you list of nearby eateries.) You only need 2,000 points to receive a $20 dining certificate. We visited Farallon in San Francisco and that was a 1,000 point reservation in itself! (Farallon was amazing, worth every spendy cent.)
Third, when I’m just undecided on whether to try a particular restaurant, I’ve found tripadvisor.com to be a great source of reviews in bulk – seems the quantity and quality of the reviews are exceptional! It was what ultimately made my choice to even go to Farallon as we only had one night in SF and wanted a very special, memorable experience. OK, just one more shot of Farallon:
So, that’s a recipe for success (at least has been both satisfying and financially rewarding) for us when dining out. Yes, it takes a bit of time to hunt for opportunities on-line and gather information, but it becomes quick and easy once you’ve done it a couple of times. Probably just like when man first began hunting with bow and arrow…