The restaurant scene in Metro Manila is reaching new heights. Craft beer, organic offerings, and fusion restaurants are three trends that have been gaining traction in the past couple of years. Wherever you go, whether it’s Legaspi Village in Makati or SM’s Mega Fashion Hall, there’s always a restaurant to soothe your craving or palette. The only clincher is that eating out on a daily basis can eat up your budget. You want to try that new neighborhood restaurant tucked in a hidden corner or an artisan coffee place that just opened; it’s certainly possible but definitely not on a weekly or daily basis.

If you’re the type of person who prefers to eat quality food over quantity, here are seven ways you can experience gourmet dining on a budget:

1. Hydrate yourself

Drink lots of water 20 to 30 minutes before you eat. A study published in the “Journal of the American Diatetic Association” reported that people who drink water before eating consume 75 fewer calories per meal. Water curbs your hunger and makes you feel full. This way you’ll be ordering and spending less.

2. Research online

Nowadays, you can read online reviews of restaurants and see if the place you want to try is a ‘yay’ or ‘nay’. Even better is that some restaurants upload their menus online and include their prices. Before eating out, check the restaurant’s menu and ensure the prices fit your budget. By coming prepared, you’re not caught off guard with charges you didn’t plan for.

3. Take advantage of ‘Happy Hour’

The mark-up on beverages are tremendous, so it’s advisable to opt out of ordering a soda or a cocktail; however, if you’re in need of a drink after a strenuous work week, dine during ‘Happy Hour’ which varies from restaurant to restaurant. Some last only for a couple hours while others last longer, but the magic hours seem to be between 5-7 PM.  Promos range from buy-one-take-one deals to all-you-can-drink offers. Even better is some establishments also offer discounts on food.

Bacon Mushroom Truffle Pasta from TreehousePh (Gourmet Society Partner Restaurant)

4. Order food that fills you up faster

Just like drinking water before eating, eating food that fills you up faster is another trick on your body. The quicker you feel full, the less likely you are to order and then spend more. Examples of food that fill you up quickly are soup with noodles, lean meat, potatoes, rice, and bread. By the end of the night, you’ll probably be too full to order dessert or another drink; thus, curbing your expenses.

5. Check out deal sites

Online deal sites, such as Deal Grocer and Metrodeal, offer as much as 50% off in select dining establishments. Whether it’s in a French brasserie for a romantic date or a resto-bar in the heart of the city for a catch-up with friends, these deal sites offer multiple choices to satisfy your cravings. It’s best to note that for majority of the deals, reservations are required if you’re using a voucher, so it’s best to call beforehand to secure a table.

6. Use privilege cards

Using membership cards will entitle you to discounts in select dining establishments. Gourmet Society Philippines, through its membership card program, offers a 20% discount in all partner restaurants with no minimum spending required. Aracama, Burgoo, Niner Ichi Nana, One Way, and The Hungry Hound are only five of Gourmet Society’s 150 partner restaurants, and the list keeps growing. If you’re a foodie, membership cards, such as Gourmet Society’s, allow you to experience the pleasure of gourmet food without killing your budget.

Quality over quantity

Gourmet dining is an experience every person enjoys. Whether you’re the type who raids buffets or someone who prefers a sit-down meal, dining out allows you to create experiences and memories and relate it to something tangible – food. However, gourmet dining on a regular basis can take a hit on your budget and finances. In Makati, you’re lucky to spend less than Php 200 in a restaurant. Using the six steps above, you’ll be able to experience gourmet dining without breaking the bank.
Gourmet Society MoneymaxPH