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How Often to You Go Out To Dinner....and Why?

When I lived in the city and everything was within walking distance, I was eating out almost every night. Most of the places that I frequented were ethnic or comforting neighborhood places.

Now that I'm married and live in the burbs and we have to drive everywhere, I really only want to go out if it is going to be a "great" meal. (I can do "good" at home.)

I'd say we now only go out to dinner 2 times a month. But when we do, we eat and spend with abandon. When we go on vacation, there is a huge focus on dining. And we even do vacations that are based on dining at a specific restaurant (Inn at Little Washington next month).

Just wondering what everyone else is doing and if your dining out habits have change significantly because of the stage of your life or the economy.

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  1. My life is pretty evenly split between big city & sub-urban '-)

    We do go out to eat a lot more when we're in the city, simply b/c there are so many more choices. In the boondocks, selection is not so great (save for a fab Sichuan hole in the wall that has saved my culinary sanity), mostly chains with a few local places thrown in that aren't "all that", either.

    I love to cook, so we tend to eat at home more when in boondocks. Also, what I make at home is better than the majority of food available at the restos here. It's a good way to save money for city life.

    1. we're similar to DaisyM in our current food outings. if anything, we've cut back on our convenience driven, eating out 4-5x's per week, to maybe 1-2x's per week. I'm just totally tired of paying eating out prices for the mediocre food served in most local places. Instead we'd rather go out less frequently and to places we know provide an exceptional experience.

      1. We go out once a week, usually on Sunday after church, or Saturday evening once in a while. I like the idea of limiting eating out to once a week because it makes it something to look forward to. Also, eating out after church is sort of a comfort thing with me; a holdover from my childhood. We also try to limit decadent dessert eating to once a week, so our weekly meal really is a treat.

        Of course there are times when we will grab something quick after work if I don't feel like cooking, but for the most part, we have one big meal out at a nice restaurant once a week.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ttoommyy

          When I was growing up, going out to dinner was pretty much for special occasions only. Come to think of it, even getting take out pizza was something special!

          1. re: DaisyM

            Me too -- I think that's why I love going out to dinner now.

            We typically do takeout about once a week (sometimes prepared stuff from the local ethnic grocery) and go out to dinner about twice a month too, taking our toddler with us. This is often at the neighborhood diner or some other local place. Once every couple of months, we get to have an actual date night and eat someplace special.

            1. re: DaisyM

              Even though we go out once a week, I still feel like it is special. I actually get excited when we are going to either a new place or someplace I particularly like!

          2. We usually go out only 1 or 2 x a month. However, if I really don't feel like cooking, DH may stop on his way home from work and pick up a rotisserie chicken. Now that I'm unfortunately not working, we just don't go out as much. And I have more time to cook.

            1. I live in a city of ca. 225,000 people that has practically no suburbs. The resto scene here is actually quite good, and we go out to dinner every Friday night. Occasionally, we'll go out for lunch on a Saturday afternoon, or get something to go. If we had more disposable income I imagine we'd eat out twice a week, insofar as we enjoy dining out just as much as eating at home.

              1. Now that football season is here, we'll be eating out more regularly and probably in a sports bar somewhere most Sundays. Otherwise, just a couple times a month - either when I really don't want to cook or when we want a "great" meal.

                1 Reply
                1. I eat out everyday. I love to cook, but I live alone and hate doing dishes. I really need to stop doing this. It's ridiculously expensive.

                  1. i eat dinner out at least 2 times a week. sometimes 3 rarely 4.

                    i will get dinner delivered 2- 4 times a month.

                    the rest is cooking

                    1. 2-3 times a week, on average, with one night of takeout thrown in. We (SO and I) almost always eat out on Saturday night and go out for Sunday brunch, as well as a random weeknight.

                      Why? I live in Boston, so sheer volume is one thing. There is always a new restaurant to try, and old favorite to return to, a place to introduce a friend to, etc. Also, I'll often meet a friend for a drink after work, which turns into two, which turns into dinner at the bar.

                      Also, out apartment is really small and any I can't really have more than 4 people over for dinner without employing a floor/coffee table seating. My friends and I like to get together fairly often, so going out to eat is generally more comfortable for everyone.

                      1. I go out to dinner on Monday, Tuesday (am away from home without cooking facilities), Saturday (date night with wife) and every other Sunday (family time)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bagelman01

                          If possible dh & I go out for lunch or an early dinner. It's a bit more reasonable price wise, far less noisy and I'm at the stage where eating meals too late at night bothers me. Was a time I would never consider having breakfast out simply because I can knock out great morning fare with out breaking a sweat-BUT, breakfast meetings have become such a norm with work partners I'm now on the look out for decent morning meals out. So to answer the OP we don't go out to dinner much anymore unless it's a very special occasion.

                        2. We eat out for dinner 3-4x week. We also usually have breakfast/brunch one weekend morning and both of us eat lunch out the vast majority of the time.

                          I think food is better when someone else prepares it and I can get stuff my husband doesn't like....like fish. I also really like the experience of dining out. We have a number of places where everyone knows our name and so it's a chance to socialize as well.

                          1. We're still going out for dinner on Friday nights, either lunch or dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sundays and maybe one other weekday dinner every other week. The recession hasn't stopped us from going out but it is making us choose places that have a higher percentage of delivering. Since moving to a new neighbourhood 3 years ago, we've been choosing the places closer to home to check out first before trekking down to the core of the city for the latest "it" place. I don't know if our novelty for the "new place" is wearing off or if we're just lazy now and just prefer someplace easier as we get older!

                            1. I eat out nearly every night. I could blame it on my job -- when I've got a consulting gig, I travel pretty much constantly -- but the fact is that I don't enjoy cooking, I'm not good at it, and I don't have the desire to go through the trial-and-error it would take to get good.

                              On top of that, I enjoy getting recognized at places I frequent, and meeting new people at new places.

                              Of course, when I'm traveling on business, this behavior is largely subsidized, but my dining life isn't much different when I'm home. (Except, of course, for the higher proportion of familiar places.)

                              1. For us, it is once a week...virtually religiously.

                                We consider Friday night to be "Date Night" and that is sacred to us. We look forward to it all week long.

                                We have a regular place and a regular time, but move around when the spirit moves us.

                                It's great to "reconnect" after a hectic week over cocktails, great service, and a very nice meal.

                                It helps the marriage tremendously and we cannot fathom being without "Date Night".

                                1. For us, 4 times a week. We made a choice not to move to the suburb (and the space and yard that goes with it) so we can be close to good food. It also helps that in LA you can eat well in $10-$20 range or much much more. There are just so many restaurants to explore that we try at least 1-2 new spots per week. We are blessed in that sense.

                                  1. I eat out about three times a month, and virtually every time I eat out its lunch at work during the rare moment that I don't bring food (or run out of my granola-bar reserve!) My other half and i really enjoy cooking so we rarely eat out.

                                    1. I have no idea what it is like to "spend with abandon" no matter the occasion. I put myself through college, paid it off, and have always lived frugally even when money is good. The recession hit us in that Mr. Mojo was laid off, but he fortunately got another job within a couple of weeks. So our dining habits haven't really changed.

                                      We'll go out to dinner maybe every other month and will pretty much always keep the tab under $50 including drinks. Just like a couple folks above, I'll be hitting a sports bar just about every Sunday during football season. Luckily the place we go has cheap bar food and good beer so even after 3 hours we usually leave with a tab <$30.

                                      1. I dine out at least 3 times a week. My husband and I have a standing mid-week dinner "date." In addition, we almost always have dinner out at least once over the weekend, and I have dinner out with my women friends about once a week. In between, there are sometimes take-out meals.