A few months ago, we wrote about the “Dinner for Two Experiment,” in which we tried to determine whether dining out using a Restaurant.com certificate was cheaper than cooking the same meal at home.  You had some strong opinions about the post (we appreciate your feedback!) and we heard you, so we decided to try this experiment again with your thoughts in mind.

First, it should be noted that we aren’t suggesting eliminating cooking at home entirely or that dining out for every meal is a cheaper lifestyle overall – we know some of you bargain hunters out there do incredible things with coupons and can make a little money go a long way.  Our intention is simply to show how Restaurant.com can help you have a special night out with dinner for two, each ordering an entrée of your choice (as opposed to likely eating the same dish at home) for less than the cost of purchasing all the ingredients for that same special meal and cooking it yourself.

We know that not every meal is as decadent as the one described in our first post, so we toned it down a bit for this second go-round.  We sent our resident mom of the blog team out for dinner with her husband to enjoy some time together without kids in tow.  We armed them with a $25 Restaurant.com gift certificate for Onion Pub and Grill and instructions to enjoy a meal they might have if dining together at home.

Since we’re currently in the height of barbeque season, both opted for entrees they might grill themselves if enjoying a weekend dinner at home.   He selected the Black and Bleu Burger, which came loaded with blue cheese crumbles, onions strings and a generous side of fries.  She opted for the salmon filet with wild rice and veggies.  They also shared an appetizer of crab cakes – something you probably wouldn’t whip up for a casual barbeque at home, but is a great example of what makes a restaurant experience a special treat.

After the discount from the Restaurant.com gift certificate was applied, their bill came out to $29.50, which includes gratuity and drinks.  We created a shopping list on Peapod.com with the ingredients for the crab cakes (adding only crab meat and bread crumbs since we don’t know what other ingredients were used in the restaurant’s recipe), burger, fries, salmon and sides, and our total came to $52.09 (we subtracted the delivery and fuel surcharges from Peapod’s bill.)  Assuming the $25 gift certificate was purchased for $10, the Restaurant.com meal was $12.59 cheaper.

This meal might be simplified and made more cost effective with coupon cutting and having ingredients on hand in your pantry, but you wouldn’t get to enjoy the ambience of the restaurant, the night out, or having someone prepare the food for you.  Not to mention, fries at home are just never as good as those in a restaurant!

We hope you enjoyed this second attempt at the Dinner for Two Experiment.  We encourage you to try it yourselves and share your experience with us.  Even if you find that it fails, you’ll get to enjoy a great meal and a fun night out at a discount!