There’s few things more satisfying than stumbling across a real foodie bargain. Walking out of a restaurant feeling that you’ve snagged yourself an absolute steal can make you feel as light as a feather, regardless of how much you’ve managed to wolf down in the hours before. It can turn a good evening into a great one.
On the flip side, there are some restaurants that seem to revel in massive price tags. It may be difficult to swallow, but a trip to one of these elite institutions is all about learning to splash the cash - accepting that you’re about to lose the equivalent of a small housing deposit is part and parcel of the experience. For anyone who’s just won the lottery or fancies seeing how far their credit card can be pushed, here’s a collection of the seven most expensive restaurants around the world.
1. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée - Paris
As the 13th best restaurant in the world, you might expect Alain Ducasse’s three-star feast to come with a sizable cheque. To taste treats such as “refreshed Brittany langoustines with golden caviar” and “Gascogne Bay turbot, cheeks in jelly, radish and poppies in champagne”, you will need to shell out $450 per person, before wine. Better start saving.
2. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant - Maldives
There can be little doubt that Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is one of the most stunning dining locations on earth. Situated 16-feet below the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, guests in the 14 cover dining room can enjoy the finest fresh seafood, whilst peering at gently drifting marine life through a polished glass dome. Yours for $320 - again, without wine. Plus, you’ll have to fly to the Maldives.
3. Ultraviolet - Shanghai
Everything about chef Paul Pairet’s signature restaurant is unique. Guests are seated around a single, 10-person dining table before being immersed in an intoxicating display of visuals, sounds and scents, all while eating one of the most innovative menus on earth. Colours, music and temperature all change to enhance the food and constantly challenge diners. To taste this 20-course art exhibition, you’ll need to cut a cheque for $900.
4. Masa - New York
For something that doesn’t need to be cooked, sushi can end up costing a pretty penny. The prime example of this, outside of Japan, is chef Masa Takayama’s eponymous eatery. Serving traditional sushi in an American setting, Masa specialises in exotic and unusual seafood - which certainly helps to add a few zeros to the price. A set dinner here will cost around $600 per person.
5. Le Pre Catelan - Paris
More often than not, fancy set menus tend to be the source of exorbitant menu pricing. However, as Le Pre Catelan proves, a la carte is also more than capable of giving penny pinchers a heart attack. With entrees starting at $110 and mains at $135, this is one restaurant where no amount of menu scouring can save you from coughing up more than you bargained for.
6. Kitcho Arashiyama Honten - Tokyo
In many restaurants, all you’re paying for is quality cooking. At Kitcho, you’re paying to be part of history. World renowned for providing one of the best kaiseki menus on earth, Kitcho is a family run business where tradition remains at the core. Serving 10-faultless courses and boasting three Michelin stars, it almost seems worth spending $600 per person.
7. SubliMotion - Ibiza
You could be forgiven for expecting the most expensive restaurant on earth to be in Paris, New York or London. That it’s on a small Balearic island, surrounded by booming nightclubs might come as something as a shock. Riffing on the Ultraviolet schtick of total dining immersion, the menu created by two-star chef Paco Roncero comes in at a ridiculous $2,000 per head. They have to find some way to make a profit in a 12-cover restaurant, after all.
There aren’t many who can deny the perverse thrill of throwing bundles of money at tasty food. Even if it’s only for a night, we all like to occasionally live beyond our means. But, regardless of how long you may save, these restaurants are a cut above the standard fancy meal out. Unless you strike gold, it’s going to take a few more years of scrimping to justify a $1000 dollar dinner.