Fine dining at Michelin-starred restaurants around the world can come at a price. But what you get for those high price tags (which can often be accompanied by sticker shock) are outstanding dining experiences that can take you to a castle in Switzerland or to an underwater culinary experience in the Maldives. From Japan to Europe to the Big Apple, luxe dining menus are often designed tasting courses paired with wines, which substantially adds to the consumer’s bottom line.
Japanese restaurants all over the world often charge premium prices for lavish seafood experiences. Masa in New York City, for example, costs $450 per person before beverages, gratuity or tax, all of which can easily take the bill up to roughly $600 per person for its tasting experience. And be sure not to cancel a reservation at Masa — that, too, will cost you (close to $200 per person).
For a Japanese all-beef tour that costs a pretty penny, choose Aragawa in Tokyo. The menu, or lack thereof, highlights beef in all of its glory. But not just any beef — rather, the purebred Tajima cattle that are raised for more than 28 months in the Sanda region of Hyogo Prefecture.
Famed chef Alain Ducasse knows how to construct expensive menus over in Europe. Two of his restaurants, one in Paris and the other in the U.K., make The Daily Meal’s list for quite lavish tasting menus. In his only U.K. outpost in The Dorchester, guests come from all over to sample the exquisite cuisine and one of its signature dishes, the fillet of halibut and Irish sea urchin with sauteed baby squid.
And it’s not just the cuisine that adds to the overall cost of a bill; it’s the ambiance and atmosphere to boot. In the case of Ithaa in the picturesque Maldives, it’s all about going underwater in search of the perfect meal. Be sure to opt for the wine pairing here, which is all based upon a champagne theme.
Click through our slideshow to see the top 10 most expensive restaurants in the world, ranked with the most lavish dining locale at No. 1. The costs of the tasting menus are rough estimations and often include wine and beverage pairings and may fluctuate due to season.
1. Kitcho, Kyoto, Japan
One of the priciest dining experiences in Japan is at Kitcho, a beautifully designed restaurant run by award-winning chef Kunio Tokuoka. The chef believes every dish that is served to his customers is a work of art and represents the sights and smells of Japanese culture. A meal at this high-end establishment will run close to $600 per person, but it’s worth every penny, according to the chef.
2. Restaurant Le Meurice, Paris
Famed chef Alain Ducasse makes our top 10 list twice this year. At Le Meurice in Paris, he knows how to put together a costly menu. His collection menu at Le Meurice costs a cool $509 (€380) per person for dinner, and his lunch menu will cost you $174 (€130) – and those prices are before beverages, tax and tip. While the food is outstanding, the ambiance is arguably just as fantastic, as it was inspired by the Salon de la Paix at the Château de Versailles.
3. Masa, New York City
Located in the Time Warner Center in the heart of New York City, Masa is one of the most luxe dining experiences you can have in the Big Apple. Run by chef Masa Takayama, who was born in Tochigi, Japan, the three-Michelin-star restaurant only offers a tasting menu. It costs close to $450 per person before beverages, gratuity or tax, for the ultimate Japanese experience. To even cancel a reservation could cost you $200 per person.
4. Maison Pic, Valence, France
Maison Pic is a legendary French restaurant in Valence, France, that boasts three Michelin stars. Today, chef Anne-Sophie Pic is crafting the food and menus just as her father, Jacques Pic, did before her, and her grandfather, André Pic, before that. (All three Pics achieved three Michelin stars during their tenure.) For the most decadent experience at the restaurant, guests can choose the Collection Pic menu, which costs roughly $445 per person. Anne-Sophie is known for putting her own twist on classic menu dishes that have been served going back to the 1930’s.
5. Aragawa, Tokyo
For the high-end diner who loves a truly exquisite place, Aragawa in Tokyo is not to be missed. The restaurant highlights purebred Tajima cattle that are raised for more than 28 months in the Sanda region of Hyogo Prefecture, where only animals who meet specific criteria are selected for designation as Sanda beef, according to the restaurant. The prices are astronomical here, and a meal can cost up to $370 per person for the ultimate beef experience.
6. Ithaa, Maldives
Ithaa restaurant in the Maldives is located 5 meters (about 16.5 feet) below the surface and has 180-degree views of the vibrant coral gardens. The cuisine has a European slant, and is constructed into a six-course tasting menu paired with champagnes. The menu offers items like Malossol Imperial caviar with sour cream and potato blinis, and yellow tail king fish with saffron champagne risotto and beurre blanc foam. The all-inclusive six-course option will cost around $320 per person (plus a 10% service charge and 8% tax per person), but the restaurant does offer a slightly less expensive four-course lunch tasting menu that costs $125 per person.
7. Hôtel de Ville, Crissier, Switzerland
This three-Michelin-star restaurant is run by husband-and-wife team Benoît and Brigitte Violier and has a rich history of showcasing legendary chefs in the region for more than 40 years. Some signature dishes on menus past have included “Scarlet” tomato, pulp, and pip consomme with Imperial Ossetra caviar, and “Salers” beef grilled with wild pepper, cristallines de charlotte and young fresh salad leaves. The chef’s tasting experience will cost roughly $318 per person but there are also less expensive menu options available.
8. Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London
Alain Ducasse’s London concept is situated inside The Dorchester in London. The chef’s tasting menu, created by executive chef Jocelyn Herland, consists of seven seasonal courses that include dishes like crayfish velouté and fillet of halibut, Irish sea urchin and sauteed baby squid. The seasonal tasting menu costs $289 and the current tasting menu runs at about $193 without beverages or wine pairings.
9. Michel Bras Toya, Toya, Japan
For sweeping views of awesome volcanic Lake Toya, make a reservation for Michel Bras Toya, a unique French-inspired restaurant located on the coast of Hokkaido in Japan. Cedric Bourassin is the current chef and director of the restaurant, and has crafted a menu utilizing local ingredients from Hokkaido with a French twist. The most expensive menu at the restaurant costs roughly $287 per person.
10. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
Named as one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World by Restaurant Magazine in 2013, Schloss Schauenstein charges a premium to dine inside this beautiful Swiss castle. Head chef Andreas Caminada is at the helm of this three-Michelin-star restaurant, creating aesthetically pleasing dishes that utilize local cuisine, a perfect match to the 12th-century castle. And don’t forget to sample wine during the meal. Schloss’ sommelier Oliver Friedrich has been awarded “Sommelier of the Year 2013” by restaurant guide Gault-Millau. A meal here will run roughly $269 per person.
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