Almost always the food is the primary reason I choose a place to dine. Once in a while we all end up at places where we just have to make the best of it due to work, family obligations, etc.
I just realized there is one type of restaurant in my life where food is not really part of the equation when I go to one. Rooftop Revolving Restaurants! Most mid to large cities have one. There is something so retro and kitsch about them that they just become amusingly delightful. I find them to be somewhat of a time-warp sort of way of viewing a new (to me) cities skyline. They always feel a bit surreal. I try to get there just a bit before sunset. Ideally I time it so there is one rotation of pre-sunset and one rotation of post sunset. If I can get away with just drinks -great. But it frequently is not possible to not have dinner...somehow in this instance I don't really mind!
Looking forward to reading of your dining dichotomy...
Edit: In case you now have an urge to visit one, here is a link with a little history and a number of locations: