Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chains >
Jul 8, 2008 07:29 AM

Best upscale chain restaurants?

I would like to know what are some of the best upscale restaurants that you guys eaten at? some dishes that you guys thought were great? I like seafood and my favorites are McCormick & Schmick's followed by Bonefish Grill. Cheesecake Factory is great as well. I ordered the miso mahi mahi from McCormick & Schmick's and it was fantastic. I ordered various types of fish at Bonefish Grill. The rainbow trout was alright but the halibut, grouper, and artic char were outstanding. I would recommend the miso salmon and cajun jumbalaya at Cheesecake Factory. The price points are pretty high at upscale restaurants due to them being "upscale" but they blow the Ruby Tuesday's and Applebee's out of the water.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I like Bonefish, but don't consider it upscale. McCormick & Schmicks in Charlotte, NC got the award for the single worst meal I've ever had at any price point from a chain. I like Flemings as far as upscale.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      Raleigh is getting a McCormick & Schmicks that should be opening at Crabtree Valley most any time. Please elaborate on why your meal was bad. It could save those of us in the triangle area some time and money.

      1. re: goodeatsinadive

        We were seated at 9:30 for our 8:00 reservation. We were out of towners and fell into the "just a few more minutes" dance. The Caesar salad I had tasted like nothing. Bland, bland, bland. My salmon was "fishy" and overcooked and was supposed to be served with rice but wasn't because they ran out (no substitution was offered or made). Dh's steak had a huge section of grissle through the middle and was well done even though he asked for medium rare. And we had to ask for everything...menus, wine list, water, bread, the get the picture.

        1. re: Janet from Richmond

          With all due respect, after an hour and a half wait for a reserved table you probably should not have been surprised if everything else went south. I'd have walked out and picked up a hot dog from a 7-11 before I'd wait that long anywhere.

          1. re: Emm

            No, we should have walked back across the street to our hotel and gotten room service. But we did not. We were with a group, in an unfamiliar town and gradually "a few minutes" turned into 90 minutes and a disaster.

    2. What is upscale? Mortons, Smith & Wollensky, Ruth's Chris? I think that these have higher prices than CF. My preference is Roy's, particularly the butterfish.

      2 Replies
      1. re: laulauman

        Roy's is my favorite as well. I have not been in a few years, so unfortunately I can't remember any of the dishes I ordered.

        1. re: laulauman

          Oh I forgot...what's upscale to some may not be to others. In my area...the upscale chain restaurants are Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, McCormick and Schmick's, Ruth Chris, Bravo, California Pizza Kitchen, Gordon Bierch, Kincaid's, and I may have forgotten one or two. We don't have Flemings, Maggianno's Little Italy, Texas De Brazil, Morton's, Roy's, Chammps, and alot of others. I live in the Virginia Beach and Norfolk (Hampton Roads) area of Virginia and we usually get retailers/restaurants last...if at all due to our area not being affluent and consisting of alot of military population.

        2. I don't consider Cheesecake Factory upscale and have no experience with the other two you mentioned. The Chart House location in my area (large Midwestern city) is one I'd consider upscale and I've never had a bad meal there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Emm

            Chart House is great. I didn't even know there were any locations outside of California and Hawaii. (I don't see the Honolulu location listed on the Chart House website, so it may not be related to the others.) I guess the landlocked locations must be located on a river or something, because part of the appeal of this place is spectacular waterfront views.

            1. re: Thefoodczar

              You just have to watch out for local "Chart Houses" that aren't part of a chain. I know of a few independent places called Chart House that absolutely suck.

              I wonder if Fogo de Chao and the other churrascaria chains belong on here?

          2. Buddakan is very good, though not very widespread (more regional than national) as far as chains go. Houston's, while not particularly exciting or special, is reliable for good food in an upscale atmosphere.

            1. I consider Roy's and Flemings upscale, along with Ruth's Chris. All of them a place I would visit on a special occasion. Bonefish is good, but not great. Although my husband does really like it. Went to McCormick and Schimick last month and the crab appetizer in the bar was very fishy, but I loved my Moscow Mule cocktail and would go back just for that.