Tasting Table Asks: What's The Best Part Of Eating At A Fancy Restaurant? - Exclusive Survey

Ambient lighting, crisp tablecloths, doting servers, and, oh yeah, a mouth-watering menu. Dining out can be a real treat that merges a great meal with a great experience. Whether you book a table for two at a hotel restaurant or plan your weekend around trendy, Michelin-star eateries, there's no better way to treat yourself.

Granted, high-end restaurants typically come with hefty price tags; after all, you're often paying for fresh ingredients, a creative menu, and a memorable night out. To make dining out all the more common and accessible, consider sharing your food. Splitting meals may come with certain navigational hiccups, but sharing a dish is an easy way to save money, recommends USA Today

In fact, food is only one reason, albeit a good one, to make a reservation at a fancy restaurant. Business Insider says excellent restaurants aren't necessarily fancy or pricey because of what they serve. Rather, upscale dining is all about the setting, service, and ambiance — qualities cited in our latest survey. 

Tasting Table recently asked 588 people about their dining preferences, soliciting what folks value most when indulging at a fancy restaurant. While fine dining truly has it all, one quality surpasses the others. 

Food is the main priority

This result may seem obvious, but you don't know until you ask, right? In a landslide, 55.1% of our readers believe the best part of eating at a fancy restaurant is actually eating. Of the 588 people surveyed, 324 cited food as the primary draw for fine dining.

But the dining experience doesn't start and end with the actual meal. At the end of last year, Better Homes & Gardens predicted that restaurants would attempt to draw diners by making it more of an event. As the restaurant industry has bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic, dining experiences evolved to become precisely that. More than 19% of people surveyed — 114 diners — look forward to an eatery's ambiance, while 17.52% or 103 people make reservations at restaurants for the impeccable service. 

On the lower end of priorities, two additional items round out our list for folks' preferences in fine dining. About 6% of people like to look the part; 38 diners cited getting dressed up as the ultimate reason to eat out. Finally, nine people accounted for 1.53% of the vote, like eating out because sometimes it just beats cooking. 

To experience each of these culinary perks, book a table at one of the world's 15 most beautiful restaurants. Fine dining options are all-encompassing — and far-reaching — so you'll have no shortage of options. You can book a table with the kind of menu, atmosphere, and service that turns any meal into a celebration.