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View Full Version : Going to the United States: eating out


Drekkus
24-05-2005, 15:06:19
So I'll be off to the US in a few weeks, and I'm deciding on a daily budget estimate, and since we'll be going from hotel to hotel, we'll be dining out every evening. So what should I expect in prices for a normal dinner. I don't plan on having a burger with fries every day, and we both love a good steak, but I don't think we'll be eating haute cuisine every day.

Some advice on american restaurants please.

Venom
24-05-2005, 15:10:58
Depending on the city I think a meal in a mid-level restaurant like and Outback or something like that, would probably run about $25-$30 for two people. Including tip, but not including large amounts of alcohol.

MoSe
24-05-2005, 15:13:10
try at Alice's (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064002/)

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
24-05-2005, 15:13:14
Denny's. :lol: (AActually, Denny's is mediocre food priced like it was high-quality. Avoid).

Probably your best bet as getting good food at reasonable prices are the smaller out-of-the-way independently owned ones , as opposed to a chain restaurant or a high priced glitzy one.

You're going to be looking at $15 a head for somewhere decent. Consider stopping off at a supermarket and buying stuff you don't have to heat or prepare much, it's way cheaper. This is what I did for breakfast during the bus tour I did a few years back.

What are you planning to do for breakfast and lunch?

paiktis22
24-05-2005, 15:19:04
stop at those rundown motels on the middle of the motorway we see on films. and sit on those tables that are glued to the wall and have chairs from one and the other side. they seem cheap.

Rodgers
24-05-2005, 15:23:57
Denny's was nice for breakfast.

Cheap too (well, it was if you're used to British prices and you're converting sterling to dollars)

Drekkus
24-05-2005, 15:25:23
breakfast is included in most hotels, as far as i can tell. lunch will probably be a sandwich somewhere, or a more elaborate lunch if we feel like it.

Lurker the Second
24-05-2005, 15:30:50
I'd figure on $8-11 apiece for a sandwich and a drink in the cities. You can always get cheaper ones, but usually they're pretty basic (egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, etc.).

Japher
24-05-2005, 15:46:59
Around here, which is probably the upper side of median you can get a good sandwhich at a deli or little grocery store for $5-$7 each, add a couple bucks for a soda and some chips. If you are driving yourself it would probably be best to grab a styrofoam ice chest at a 7-11 or Circle K and keep it stocked with ice and drinks and the purchase larger bags of chips and veggies instead of grabbing the snack sizes.

Personally I wouldn't try and spend more than $15 total for lunch, unless it's a nice place, or just really convenient. Dinners are much more fun to spend money on, and you can go as high as you want of course, but if you don't mind the franchise type place it will easily be $25-$30 total.

In SF go to the House of Nan-king for lunch, it is the only 5 star chinese restaurant with meals under $10. They are really cheap and really good, don't let the look of the place fool you. I went there with 8 ppl once and we all filled up for under $60!

Lurker the Second
24-05-2005, 15:51:03
Almost forgot. Don't pay more than $2 for a hot dog. And if you pay $2, it better be a damn good hot dog.

Japher
24-05-2005, 15:52:15
or in a ballpark

Provost Harrison
24-05-2005, 16:04:00
It may be cheap but you'll be giving away all your money in tips. It is optional, but you'll be shot in the back of the head if you don't...

MDA
24-05-2005, 16:11:57
Alice?

JM^3
24-05-2005, 16:12:16
~10 dollars is the norm for decent food

that is a not fancy place, but you can find decent food for that price (not fast food)

if you look for really cheap you can find fast food and cheap food for ~5 dollars

(the best of this is probably Chipotle... or Subway)

Jon Miller

JM^3
24-05-2005, 16:15:19
yeah.. and remember to tip

I generally do ~20%

old tightwads (like my grandfather) do ~10% or less on occasion (only do above 10% if they want to make a point)

I sometimes go as high as 30% if I thought the service was particularly good

Jon Miller

Oerdin
24-05-2005, 16:34:05
I always do an average of 15% for a tip unless the service was really poor.

Which cities are you going to?

Venom
24-05-2005, 16:35:21
I'm a heavy tipper. I like to ensure that they remember me when I come back and trip over themselves to serve me better.

Funko
24-05-2005, 16:40:24
Are you married to Al?

Lurker the Second
24-05-2005, 16:46:02
I generally tip 20%, even though I usually walk out on the check. The math is easier.

Funko
24-05-2005, 16:46:30
20% of nothing is $50.

Drekkus
24-05-2005, 16:55:48
Originally posted by Oerdin
I always do an average of 15% for a tip unless the service was really poor.

Which cities are you going to? Ehm, I posted the trip a while back. We'll be starting in Vegas, then to st George, Page, Flagstaff, Laughlin, LA, Lompoc, SF and after day 12 we fly to Orlando for a few days, then to Miami Beach, and then back home. 21 days in total.

Japher
24-05-2005, 17:01:48
If you're in SF on June 19th there is a free concert in the park... featuring Hootie and the Blowfish, Better Than Ezra, and some other noname has been... but it's free.

Oerdin
24-05-2005, 17:03:26
I actually bought a better then ezra CD back around 1994 or so. I haven't heard a thing about them since.

Drekkus
24-05-2005, 17:12:22
Originally posted by Japher
If you're in SF on June 19th there is a free concert in the park... featuring Hootie and the Blowfish, Better Than Ezra, and some other noname has been... but it's free. We're probably there somewhere the 28th.

Japher
24-05-2005, 17:15:22
Hmmmm... lucky you, that's the weekend of the gay pride parade!!!

MoSe
24-05-2005, 17:23:44
we NEED a video of you marching against the parade and shouting "U R ALL GAY TWATS" !!!!
:lol:

MDA
24-05-2005, 17:57:34
Seconded. :)

jsorense
24-05-2005, 18:26:37
I would boycot Denny's. They have a horrible history of discriminating against minorities, both staff and customers.
about tipping, since you are unlikely to return to any of the restaurants, just skip it. ;)
We all expect the worst from foreigners, especially the Dutch.:coolgrin:

Oerdin
24-05-2005, 20:50:23
I went to Denny's last night around 3:30am. It's only like 2 miles from my house and I was hungry. The food is over priced for what you get though.

mr.G
24-05-2005, 20:53:19
Originally posted by MoSe
we NEED a video of you marching against the parade and shouting "U R ALL GAY TWATS" !!!!
:lol: :lol:

Diss
24-05-2005, 20:59:27
Originally posted by Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
Denny's. :lol: (AActually, Denny's is mediocre food priced like it was high-quality. Avoid).

Probably your best bet as getting good food at reasonable prices are the smaller out-of-the-way independently owned ones , as opposed to a chain restaurant or a high priced glitzy one.

You're going to be looking at $15 a head for somewhere decent. Consider stopping off at a supermarket and buying stuff you don't have to heat or prepare much, it's way cheaper. This is what I did for breakfast during the bus tour I did a few years back.

What are you planning to do for breakfast and lunch?

priced like it wash high priced? During specials you can get a grand slam for like $5.99.

I wouldn't eat the steak meals though. I go there for eggs. Yes I eat breakfast during the night time (I never wake up before noon). That doesn't make me weird.

Oerdin
24-05-2005, 21:02:02
I used to go to Denny's alot when they were offering the $1.99 Grand Slam Breakfast. Two eggs, two sausage, two pancakes for $1.99 is a good deal.

They haven't had that sale for a few years now though.

Diss
24-05-2005, 21:02:29
Originally posted by Drekkus
Ehm, I posted the trip a while back. We'll be starting in Vegas, then to st George, Page, Flagstaff, Laughlin, LA, Lompoc, SF and after day 12 we fly to Orlando for a few days, then to Miami Beach, and then back home. 21 days in total.

I'm intamately familiar with nearly all those places (except Miami Beach- but I have been to Ft. Lauderdale- just north of Miami). I've never been to SF either, and I never heard of Lampoc.

What are you doing in Page? I should warn you the level of Lake Powell is really low due to the drought.

Japher
24-05-2005, 21:04:50
My aunt and uncle have a house boat out of Bullfrog on Lake Powell. I remember when the hotel was a stones throw from the water. I now hear you need a car to reach it.

Oerdin
24-05-2005, 21:14:07
Drekkus, trust me Lompoc sucks and it is best avoided. The country side is very pretty but Lompoc is a run down working class town which was built in the 1950's then never painted or renovated ever again. It is with in striking distance of the Santa Ynez wineries though as well as the night life in Santa Barbara (which is a very nie town).

If you have free time and if you like hiking then I suggest Gaviota County park off of the 101 south of Lompoc. The park is in the foot hills of the Santa Ynez mountain range and is right on the coast so it offers wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands off the coast. There are several hot springs there as well though the water has a high sulfur content so you don't want to go in them unless you want to smell like rotten eggs. ;)

mr.G
24-05-2005, 21:26:38
eating out

*gniffle*

Diss
24-05-2005, 21:48:53
now for some more detailed analysis.

Las Vegas. I live here, though I admit I don't eat out that much. If you are staying at any decent hotel, I don't recommend eating at the hotel, it will be expensive. Most strip hotels will have high prices on their food. And don't even consider room service if you want to save money.

But there are places you can find steak and eggs for $1.99. I can't vouch for the quality though, I haven't tried them. I've even seen places that advertise 99 cent breakfasts. At places like Outback you will pay probably $15 for food not including taxes and tip. Olive Garden is about the same. Though you may get some dishes for $12.99 base price. If you order beer, it will be much higher. It would be cheaper to drink before you eat out.

If you like chinese, you can find all kinds of chinese and thai restaurants with good prices. And of course mexican restaurants. You can go to Robertos taco shop, it's less fast foody than taco bell and del taco. As they actually serve rice and beans with their food.

and then there is the buffets. They aren't as cheap as they used to be. But you can still find cheap buffets. All you can eat. it's better than fast food, but still nothing spectacular. You can usually find them for under $15 per person not including gratuity.

If you gamble alot you can get comps (free food and rooms etc). but they aren't actually free as you are probably losing money when you are gambling. And you aren't likely to get comps at slot machines, just at tables. I have never gotten one, I think you have to ask the pit boss or something.

St. George is fairly cheap. Most things in Utah will be good priced as long as you stay away from the trendy tourist traps.

Laughlin is like Vegas only cheaper. They have buffets and restaurants. But you will find most things inside the casino there. Because of space restrictions (of the hills and mountains), most of the Nevada side is casinos. Most of the housing (and consequently local restaurants) will be on the Arizona side in a town called bullhead city. It's been a few years since I've been there though, so more places may have sprung up.

Oerdin
24-05-2005, 22:12:12
My sister and her husband got married in Laughlin. They were flat broke when they got married and Laughlin was cheaper then Vegas so...

Provost Harrison
24-05-2005, 22:22:29
Yeah, a colleague of mine is getting married in Las Vegas later this year...

Japher
24-05-2005, 22:29:58
My cousin married her 2nd husband in Vegas... She's on No. 3 now... We're hoping he's a keeper!

Provost Harrison
24-05-2005, 22:33:30
Slut :p

Spartak
24-05-2005, 22:52:46
Poor judgement at the very least :p

Japher
24-05-2005, 22:54:31
I love how when a guy gets a divorced it's because his wife is a slut, but when a woman gets divorced it's because she is a slut

men win that double standard every time

Spartak
24-05-2005, 22:55:27
Shhh/ Don't tell AH/SS otherwise this thread is gonna be toast...

Japher
24-05-2005, 22:59:43
Those 2 sluts wouldn't look at a thread with "eating out" in the title now would they?

Koshko
25-05-2005, 05:36:37
2 words: White Castles

Deacon
25-05-2005, 06:23:43
Nothing like 24-hour fast food. :)

Kory
25-05-2005, 06:30:14
Your food price is going to vary some from city to city, of course.

Buffets are a great place to eat if you've skipped lunch, as they're usually somewhere between $8-$15 per person for a good variety of food. Aside from places like Hometown/Old Country Buffet and Golden Corral, also look for Chinese or other Asian buffets (like Mongolian or Korean BBQ). It's still worth it even if you're not as hungry but the hungrier you are the more value you're going to get out of it. :)

Denny's and Perkins are fine for breakfast, not so great for other stuff. For not-quite-fast-food lunches, try Subway or Quizno's; you can usually find one or the other in most places these days, and they do decent sandwiches.

Also don't forget that sometimes it's worth it to visit a grocery store; you can get sandwiches and other prepacked food items for a decent price. Some of them also have salad bars.

Diss
25-05-2005, 08:53:04
some of the newer supermarkets in Las Vegas have a lot of fresh cooked food (not super fresh as it's made before you get there, but it isn't frozen food). And like the previous poster mentioned, they premade sandwhiches. Our alberstons has fried and rotisserie (baked) chicen for sale during the daytime.

Supermarkets in the U.S. have really evolved. They just don't serve food you take home. They also serve food you can eat right away.

But as I said this applies to the larger supermarkets in my city. Some of the older ones just don't have the floor space to offer these kinds of services.

If you are staying on the strip there's an Albertson's on Spring Mountain and Decatur (just past chinatown) that will serve deli sandwhiches ready to eat. But even that store is an older Albertsons. You have to go to the good sections of the city to find Albertons with more floor space and more services (such as a bank, post office etc). Although the SM and Decatur albertsons does have a bank in it.

Speaking of chinatown, that's a good place to eat in Las Vegas. Though I haven't actually eaten there. But I am fairly certain the restaurants there will be reasonably priced. At least compared to the strip.

and I think we even have strip clubs that serve food.

Diss
25-05-2005, 09:01:56
and then there is bar food. Unlike pubs in say England (I'm just guessing, I have never been there), nearly every single bar/tavern/saloon/pub serves food. Most can be considerd bar/restaurants. Some are better than others. But some have surprisngly good food. And the prices are reasonable (less than $10 for stuff like fish and chips). A steak might run you $12 at the most. But you will find they serve more than just hot wings. In some cases, alot more.

We even have a British pub. Though the food there I didn't like. But that's more a problem I have with British food in general. But I did like the scotch eggs. But they serve all kinds of food.

Our "bars" are frequently reviewed by our restaurant critics, and some get fairly high reviews. Outside Inn got good reviews, there's this mexican joint up on Craig road that got great reviews. Black Mountain tavern and restaurant on South Eastern got fantastic reviews.

It's just the way our city is set up. Sure you have to put up with cigarrette smoke. But if you don't like cigarrette smoke, Vegas isn't the place to be.

Diss
25-05-2005, 09:07:53
one more link.

http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2005/May-20-Fri-2005/weekly/1700541.html

they have archives going back a year or two. In fact, the link on the right side of the page shows her older reviews. She reviews fancier places, but also average places such as restaurants/taverns.