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My family of 4 spent $460 on dinner at The Capital Grille. The upscale steak-house chain is now one of our favorites.

My family of 4 spent $460 on dinner at The Capital Grille. The upscale steak-house chain is now one of our favorites.
  • My family dined at The Capital Grille and loved our experience at the upscale steak-house chain.

  • Our meal cost $460 and included an appetizer, salad, four entreés, three sides, dessert, and alcohol.

  • We would absolutely come back, especially for the calamari appetizer and tasty steaks.

My family and I started a quest to try as many different chain restaurants as possible about a year ago.

Neither my husband nor I had ever eaten at most well-known chains, but after our teens started seeing TikToks about restaurants such as LongHorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze, we decided to give them a go.

We've tried various chains including Ruth's Chris and Olive Garden, and have found some impressive dishes while making our rounds.

But our recent visit to the upscale steak-house chain The Capital Grille blew us away. It may just be our best chain-restaurant experience to date.

The Capital Grille's menu features classic steak-house appetizers and entreés

Capital Grille menu in woman's hand
The Capital Grille is known for its dry-aged steaks and comfortable but elegant atmosphere.Terri Peters

The Capital Grille operates more than 60 restaurants in the US, including 10 in Florida, where I live. We visited one of the Orlando locations.

At the entrance, we were greeted by elegant lion statues, which gave the restaurant an extra dramatic flair and set the stage for what we'd experience inside.

The menu continued to impress us. The Capital Grille serves appetizers such as jumbo-lump-crab cocktails and oysters on the half shell, plus salads, soups, entrées, classic steak-house sides, and desserts.

My family loves steak houses, and we immediately began drooling over sides such as Parmesan truffle fries and lobster mac and cheese. It was hard to decide what to order because everything sounded incredible.

We started the meal with wine and cocktails

My all-time favorite wine is a Caymus cabernet, so I chose a $43 glass of the red wine to start my meal.

My husband, forever a bourbon lover, ordered the $16 In Fashion, The Capital Grille's old-fashioned-style cocktail. It's made with small-batch bourbon, Grand Marnier, black walnut bitters, an orange ice sphere, and cherries.

Both drinks were perfect and got us in the mood to relax and enjoy a decadent meal. Because we visited during a special wine event, I also paid $35 to add wine tasting to my dinner.

I learned about seven wines and had fun tasting them, too. Because we had a long drive home (and seven glasses of wine is a lot), my husband sipped my wine with me and held off on ordering a second drink.

Our calamari appetizer was the best we've ever had

Fried Calamari at Capital Grille
The pan-fried calamari is a signature appetizer at The Capital Grille.Terri Peters

Our starter, the pan-fried calamari, was a thing of beauty.

The $20 dish consisted of a large plate of perfectly crisp calamari topped with hot cherry peppers. We had never tried calamari topped with peppers before, but the flavors were amazing together.

We'd totally order this appetizer again. In fact, I'd probably ask other restaurants for spicy peppers to pour over my calamari to try to duplicate this dish.

We shared a top-notch wedge salad, too

Lettuce, dressing, and tomatoes on a plate at Capital Grille
The wedge salad's dressing was tangy and creamy. Terri Peters

At The Capital Grille, the iceberg wedge salad is served with blue-cheese dressing and smoked bacon.

Our server even had the salad cut into shareable bites so everyone in my family could try it. At $14, it felt well worth the price, especially with the flavorful heirloom tomatoes served next to it.

Before the main course, we cleansed our palates … and our hands

Hand holding warm cloth at  Capital Grille
We enjoyed being able to cleanse our hands before our main course. Terri Peters

We were served a sorbet to cleanse our palates before our main course arrived. And we were each presented with warm, lemon-scented washcloths before our entreés arrived.

Having the opportunity to cleanse our hands before the next part of the meal was an impressive touch. It also felt like a true example of The Capital Grille's level of attention to detail.

I ordered a steak au poivre that was unbelievably tender

Steak with sauce at Capital Grillle
The Capital Grille impressed me with its au poivre. Terri Peters

The 14-ounce, dry-aged New York strip steak, topped with Courvoisier cream sauce and peppercorns, cost $60 and was worth every penny.

I love steak au poivre, and this one didn't let me down. The dry-aged steak was cooked perfectly and deliciously tender, and the creamy, peppery sauce was wonderful.

My husband ordered the $100 steak-and-lobster special

Steak topped with lobster at Capital Grille
The $100 steak topped with lobster was decadent. Terri Peters

At our server's recommendation, my husband went with the evening's special — a 10-ounce filet mignon topped with lobster tail.

At $100, he was worried the splurge wouldn't live up to the hype, but the worries disappeared when the tender steak and buttery lobster arrived at the table.

It looked great, and he felt it was well worth the price.

My daughter enjoyed her filet mignon

Steak next to pile of greens on plate  at Capital Grille
The filet mignon was a perfect portion for my daughter. Terri Peters

A filet mignon is one of my 13-year-old daughter's favorite dinners, so she was thrilled to find one on the menu.

At $58, it was about the same price as my steak entrée. She ate nearly all of it, only taking a little home as leftovers.

My burger-loving son stayed true to his roots

Burger and fries at Capital Grille
The Capital Grille's burgers even impressed us. Terri Peters

Always a bit of a picky eater, my 15-year-old son tends to stick to his standard order of a plain cheeseburger and fries.

He ordered the $24 cheeseburger, which came with perfectly crispy salted fries. The burger was flavorful and one of his favorite steak-house burgers so far.

We also ordered three classic steak-house side dishes

Three metal bowls of side dishes at  Capital Grille
We got creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and roasted wild mushrooms. Terri Peters

After seeing copycat recipes for The Capital Grille's famous Sam's mashed potatoes, we knew we had to try them ourselves.

The side dish is made from red-bliss potatoes, sweet cream, butter, and salt. A family-style serving cost us $13.

The potatoes were delicious, as were the creamed spinach ($12) and the roasted wild mushrooms ($13).

For dessert, we ordered crème brûlée

Crème brûlée is always our go-to steak-house dessert, so we ordered the $12 version on The Capital Grille menu.

The dessert, served with berries, was the perfect temperature — slightly warm with a crispy sugar coating that was satisfying to crack through.

It was a great way to end our meal, especially when paired with a $12 glass of port wine, which my husband and I shared.

The $460 bill felt well worth it for the memorable experience we shared

Author Terri Peters and her family at Capital Grille
Dinner at the high-end steak restaurant cost my family just more than $450, but the price felt worth it.Terri Peters

Dinner at the high-end steak chain cost my family of four just more than $460, but the price felt well worth it for the amazing service and memorable evening.

We feasted on some of the most delicious steak-house food we'd ever had and loved the restaurant's elegant but inviting atmosphere.

We'd definitely return again as a family on a special occasion. My husband and I have also already discussed returning for a date night.

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