Splurging on dinner while traveling is doable and very enjoyable – if you do it right!
Food tourism has been a growing trend over the past ten years thanks to food TV network shows on international cuisine and travel. Who hasn’t wanted to hop on a plane like Anthony Bourdain and do a layover in one of the many places he’s featured on his show? I can’t watch it without salivating.
When I travel, I make a point of finding at least one fine dining establishment with great reviews to try.
If I’m traveling in Canada for business and have the time, I squeeze in a culinary indulgence when possible. My husband and I sometimes do this when we do day trips in Ontario.
Splurging on Five Star Dining in Bath, UK
My trip to the UK in 2008 offered me an opportunity to do a bit of splurging on dinner. I enjoyed dining at the five restaurant at Bath Priory Inn. The food and service was superb and the visit there memorable, as I bumped into actor Michael York there.
My experience dining at Bath Priory Inn was so good, that I actually gave it a review on Trip Advisor (I know, I know… it’s so old school these days but back then, it was the thing to do). Giving a review is something I rarely do unless I’ve had an amazingly good meal. These days, if the food is REALLY good, I’ll post to my Instagram account.
My Bath Priory meal was a pricey dinner at approximately CDN $250. I ordered food and wine, and then of course couldn’t resist the cheese platter of local and French cheeses. I may not remember what I actually ate for dinner, but I still dream about the cheeses. It was completely worth the splurge.
Tips for Splurging on Dinner While Traveling
- Do some research first. Check what other tourists have said about the restaurant you want to try out. Look at a number of review sites and take negative reviews with a grain of salt.
- Google the restaurant name to see if others have reviewed it, especially professional restaurant reviewers. Are they overall good reviews?
- Check to see if you need to make reservations in advance as some very popular restaurants need to be booked several months before your dining experience. You wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity.
- Scan the menu if it’s available online. If you see that there are very few menu items that get your taste buds salivating, then skip it. If you aren’t adventurous when it comes to food, stick to restaurants with familiar menu options.
- Check to see if there’s a dress code. It wouldn’t be proper etiquette to show up in the grungy jeans and a t-shirt you’ve been backpacking in across the country if everybody else is wearing stylish business-casual clothing.
- Check the prices – if it’s way over your “splurge” budget then opt for a restaurant that probably produces the same high quality food but at reasonable and expected prices. You shouldn’t need to buy a gourmet burger for $1,000 if the real cost to make it is no more than $20-$30 (with all the special fixings). As well, you don’t want to be stuck purchasing only a pricey appetizer and missing out on a full meal.
- If you’re the type to share food experiences on Instagram, Snapchat and other social media channels, consider dining at restaurants that are open to this. Some chefs are notoriously anti-social media.
And when you’re fine-dining, remember your etiquette! Brush up before you travel, so that you feel comfortable with fancy flatware.