The discussion below about the most expensive restaurants got me thinking: do you have any rules of thumb that you try to follow regarding how much you are willing to spend at restaurants?
I am a big wine drinker, and I understand why restaurants mark-up wine and I don't complain about it. Having said that, I also rarely buy bottles in restaurants that cost more than $60, for two reasons: first, paying $25 for a bottle that could be had in a store for $10 isn't that big of a deal -- it's only $15. But when we're talking about wines that are $40 in the store and $100 in a restaurant (i.e. the same 150% markup), then we're talking about a $60 mark-up, which is starting to seem like real money! My second reason for the price ceiling is that I find it hard to concentrate on too many things in a high end restaurant: the wine, the food, and the conversation. Something usually gets lost on me. So I usually reserve my drinking of the best wines I can afford for home, when I can pair them with a simpler meal and better focus...and sit on the couch and linger for a few hours.
I'm curious what other people think about treating themselves to the best in food and wine? Do you view a $100 bottle of wine as too extravagent? How about those $200 per person (plus wine) restaurants -- is that something you do every once in while, just like taking a trip to Paris, or buying yourself a high end stereo? Or, are you the type that says "the best meal in town is the $8 plate of rib tips at 'lil Porgy's, why spend more?" ...both valid lifestyle choices...:)