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Eating out: fine dining or gastropub?

The concept of ‘fine dining’ feels as though it has been around for an eternity. For many, it conjures up images of artfully constructed plates of high-quality food, classy surroundings and waiters that hang on your every word.

The term ‘gastropub’, however, feels a fairly modern one – indeed it was only in 1991 that the term was first coined by the new owners of a pub in Clerkenwell, London. In venues that bear the description, you will more often than not find traditional, comfort food served in generous portions, made to a good standard using fresh, quality ingredients.

There are benefits to eating out in either manner, suiting as they do different needs and appetites. There is even an area of crossing-over between the two – there are gastropubs that bear Michelin stars, although there is only one that has earned the coveted award twice.

It is also true of both types of dining that the quality may vary, as can the value for money. A restaurant that aims for fine dining might put the food on the plate in a style that befits the name, but that’s not to say that it’s any good – or indeed, to your particular taste.

It’s the same with gastropubs. The term is becoming increasingly used by pubs to describe their cuisine, but with nearly every one of them serving some form of steak and Guinness pie, Thai curry and Sunday roast, it’s likely that the quality will vary.

In either case, review sites and word of mouth are invaluable assets in determining where to go. A good meal in the comfy, unpretentious setting of a pub is better than a bad one in an intimate, stylish venue that purports to serve fine cuisine, as well as being (usually) cheaper. However – as good as a meal in a gastropub might be – if you’re sharing the room with loud, boisterous locals then it might not be the best setting for an intimate date.
The best advice is to decide on how high-end you want your meal to be, ask around for others’ experiences, and make sure you have a charge card in your wallet to pick up the bill. With the American Express Platinum Card, you can earn membership points as you spend, which are redeemable against a variety of shopping, experiences and travel rewards.

The author of this article is part of a blogging team that works with brands like American Express. The content contained is for information purposes only and should not be used to make any financial decisions.

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