If you’re going to splash out a large amount of money for a dinner for a special occasion or because you’re worth it, the whole experience had better be pretty damn spectacular. The food must be delicious, the service must be amazing, and the atmosphere should be grand. The following restaurants can all deliver sublime times, but which one is very best of all?

I spent all my rent money on dinner here, but at least when the bailiffs beat me to death I will die blissfully:

Splurges after the jump…

A. Martin Bosley’s

The best fine-dining restaurant in the country, according to Cuisine, and it’s hard to argue. If you’re after something approaching the molecular gastronomy of Ferran Adria or Heston Blumenthal (all foams, dusts and porcini/chocolate combinations) then this might be the closest you’ll get in Wellington. It helps to like seafood, but you can always blow $80 on Wagyu beef if you’re that way inclined.%

B. Trade Kitchen

A thoroughly impressive debut in a brand-new site far from the traditional dining and nightlife areas. Their sparkling modern decor (giant Tom Dixon lights and Richard Killeen graphics) is a nice departure from tradition, and their willingness to mix different cuts of meat in a single dish (such as beef fillet with ox cheek tart and marrow beignet) speaks of an ability to mix subtle innovation with immaculate technique, at an impressive price.

C. Matterhorn

Not really “faine daining” in the traditional sense, but damned close and often with an invigoratingly original approach to ingredients. World-class chefs such as Rex Morgan and Nick Huffman have left their marks on the menu, and former signature dishes such as muttonbird and pikopiko risotto and truffled champagne and potato soup are remembered with fondness. Weekends are raucous, and more suited to snacking on bowls while knocking back the cocktails, but come for dinner mid-week and you’ll experience a top-end dining experience without the top-end price.

D. Citron

A wonderfully intimate setting for decadent and delicious meals. Splash out, go for the degustation menu, let the knowledgeable and charming sommeliers choose your wine, and get set for an unforgettable journey into cuisine.

E: Capitol

Capitol is a small restaurant, and its kitchen is so famously tiny it’s frequently compared to a ship’s galley, and yet somehow they manage to turn out the most delicious food. We think that their secret is by using the best ingrediants and keeping things really simple, but we haven’t managed to figure out how they manage to keep their bathrooms smelling so delicious (exactly, when’s the last time you actually looked forward to smelling a bathroom?). Capitol’s staff have mastered the art of friendly but smoothly professional service (just ask Gandalf), and as well as an extensive range of apperetiffs and digestives, their small wine list offers some really lovely choices. If you ever get the chance to attend a Winemaker’s Night, where they match a set menu with wines from a particular vineyard, you should rush at it (Four exquisite courses matched with Serisen wines for $85? Hell yes!).

To spend some serious cash at these places, look for them on Zoomin under “bestuncheap”.