These most expensive restaurants don't hold back: the decor, food, service and atmosphere are all top notch and rightly so for the price tag they come with. Most of these most expensive restaurants have accolades such as multiple Michelin stars, ranking as top restaurants in the world or offer unique experiences unlike any other restaurant in the world.
From underwater dining to palatial interiors and enough Michelin stars between them to make a constellation, we would argue that these impressive eateries put their money where their mouths are. In order to obtain three Michelin stars (which many of these restaurants have) the experience must be worthy of a special journey in and of itself. These are truly destination dining spots.
It is hard to argue these restaurants are NOT worth the cost of the food and whole dining experience. Depending on your budget, it could be a once in a lifetime or every X amount of years you can visit a restaurant at this caliber.
On the other hand, would you rather splurge on one incredible meal, which only lasts hours, or take that money and spend it towards something like a travel fund that could last a lot longer than a few hours? Only you can know what you would prefer. I would argue to do a little of both if possible: trying an expensive restaurant, but not all the time.
20 Noma - Copenhagen, Denmark
Reservations for Noma are done months ahead of time. This restaurant offers three different seasonal menus: a game and forest season in the fall, seafood season in the winter and spring and a vegetable season in the summer.
The reason for three seasonal menus is because Noma uses only the freshest, local, seasonal ingredients in their menu. Need more reasons to go to Noma? If you didn’t know, Noma was ranked the best restaurant in the world in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and is a two Michelin starred restaurant. The cuisine is considered Nordic fare, but it pushes the limits of Nordic cuisine which has brought praise around the world for the creativity in their dishes, including being at the helm of the worldwide trends towards foraging and fermentation. A meal here will set you back $296.
19 Osteria Francescana - Modena, Italy
If you are looking for what is considered the best restaurant IN THE WORLD for 2018, you will be heading to Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. This restaurant has won international fan fare mainly from Chef Massimo Battura who pushes the edge of traditional Italian food.
Interestingly, Battura almost closed the doors of his restaurant early on. Why? Well, Italy likes to stick to tradition - locals resisted his way of spinning classic foods. Battura and his staff are now probably so grateful they didn't close, as their hard work, creativity and determination has won them the title of the best restaurant in the world. Some not to miss dishes include Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano which uses of course local cheese from Emilia-Romagna region and the Adriatic Chowder which has blue lobster, razor clams and sea snails. The ten-course tasting menu costs €250, which, to be fair, comes out to a very reasonable €25 per course...
18 Ithaa Undersea Restaurant - Maldives
If you want a truly unique dining experience on top of great food and can afford to head to the Maldives, go to Ithaa. It was voted the most beautiful restaurant in the world in 2014. It is a truly unique experience because the restaurant literally sits under the sea and has a 180 degree view of surrounding corral gardens - and whatever underwater creatures feel like popping by to say hello.
That being said, if you are claustrophobic or have a fear of water, don't spend your money going here if you aren't going to enjoy the feeling of being under the sea. The starting price for lunch entrees is $120 and goes up from there.
17 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée - Paris, France
If you are looking for a restaurant that feels absolutely luxurious along with fine dining food, save your money for an experience at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris. It was voted #21 in top restaurants for 2018. The restaurant itself and the food are true works of art that play off each other. No expense was withheld for the decor: the chandeliers are made of thousands of crystals.
Even though this restaurant oozes opulence, the menu is based on natural cuisine. The head chef and team believe in exceptional produce expressing their simplicity. Because of the close tie to nature, the menu changes seasonally. Prices can range between €100-395 on their various menus with additional costs for drinks.
16 Maison Pic Valence - Paris, France
Chef Anne-Sophie Pic experiments with flavors to develop award winning dishes. She is known for combining flavors together in a beautiful, delicate, feminine way.
She is only one of six female chefs in the world to have a three Michelin star restaurant. Remember, any three Michelin star restaurant is considered to have exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey. So, if you do make the trip to Paris to visit Maison Pic, you could stay at the hotel Maison Pic which, much like the food, has a delicate, beautiful style. It is also set in a Mediterranean garden - sounds so delightful. A nine course tasting meal can cost about $375.
15 Restaurant Le Meurice - Paris, France
Le Meurice is another Alain Duccasse superior experience. Like Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Le Meurice focuses on the pure food from the earth. The seemingly simple dishes highlight the beauty of the food and let the ingredients speak for themselves.
Also like Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Le Meurice is exquisite in decor and atmosphere. You aren't just going to get amazing food, you will enjoy a unique, beautiful dining experience. You will feel like you are dining in an ancient Versailles palace with bronze, frescoes, crystal chandeliers, marble and fancy mirrors that make up the stylish decor. Duccasse has multiple restaurants and is one of two chefs in the world to hold a combined 21 Michelin stars.
For a five course tasting menu, you can expect to pay about $480.
14 Narisawa - Tokyo, Japan
Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa was trained in Europe and returned to Japan in 1996. Narisawa has consistently been ranked in the top 30 restaurants in the world since 2009 and has been given two Michelin stars.
Narisawa is committed to using only sustainable products and using local, seasonable ingredients to create culinary masterpieces at the restaurant. Chef Narisawa visits and knows all the farms and food purveyors he works with. He has been known to put interesting, unique dishes on his menu like a broth made from a poisonous snake from Okinawa. Costs can vary but can be around $225 for dinner.
13 Kyoto Kitcho Arashiyama - Kyoto, Japan
Kitcho was founded in 1930, and current chef Kunio Tokuoka is the third generation chef to run Kitcho. There are now six Kyoto Kitcho restaurants in Japan.
Tokuoka has a passion for cuisine from Japan and has also written many books about the topic. Kyoto Kitcho Arashiyama has three Michelin stars meaning your journey and meal here will be worth it. For lunch and dinner a chef's course is served which is made up of 10 courses of the finest ingredients available that day. Therefore, the menu can change daily. It can cost you about $450 for dinner (plus tax and gratuity) per person.
12 SubliMotion - Ibiza, Spain
SubliMotion may be THE most expensive restaurant in the world. This restaurant is run by Chef Paco Rancero and has a Michelin stars. SubliMotion only has a 12 seat table and is only open from June 1 to September 30. Therefore, competition to get a reservation is fierce.
Chef Roncero is known for his creative use of molecular gastronomy, and the menu is set as a 20-course tasting menu. The menu changes each season, but it can cost about $1,700 per person. In the past, guests have had unique experiences such as individualized, edible tickets and a table side assortment of farm fresh vegetables to make their own salad - but that's just the start. Guests are treated to an ever-evolving, completely immersive, multi-sensory experience thanks to high-tech 360-degree projection screens surrounding the dining room.
11 Per Se - New York City, USA
Per Se is owned by Chef Thomas Keller. This three Michelin starred restaurant takes inspiration from the cuisines of France and the US, with a modern twist. Guests in the 19 tables in the restaurant have a beautiful view of Central Park and Columbus Circle.
Two tasting menus are offered daily and consist of a chef's tasting menu or a vegetable tasting menu. Vegetarians rejoice: you can have a tasting menu dedicated to vegetables! Both tasting menus cost the same - around $340 per person. If you want a taste of Per Se but don't want to pay the steep price, there is also a salon tasting menu with five courses for $195 per person, which is hardly what we would call a cheap eat, but may be slightly more doable.
10 Masa - New York City, USA
Chef and owner Masa Takayama is behind Masa. Masa is considered one of the most expensive restaurants in the world, and it is the most expensive restaurant in New York City.
Masa has received numerous accolades as a worthy destination from The New York Times, Forbes Travel Guide and Travel + Leisure and has a three Michelin star rating. The restaurant has just 26 seats, and reservations are taken 3 weeks ahead of time. Chef Masa prepares the menu himself, and the dinner course is a set price at $595 per person. You don't have to add on extra gratuities at Masa. Per custom in Japan, they are not accepted as exceptional hospitality is part of the dining experience.
9 Thomas Keller's Iconic Restaurant - Yountville, California
The French Laundry is the iconic restaurant from Chef/owner Thomas Keller. The building the restaurant is in was a steam laundry in the 1920's (hence the name of the restaurant). The menu takes inspiration from France.
The French Laundry has been on the top 50 in the world list multiple times, and it was rated the top restaurant in the world in 2003 and 2004. The French Laundry has also gotten praise from Anthony Bourdain and The New York Times and has a three Michelin star rating. Similar to Per Se, The French Laundry offers two daily tasting menus with nine courses. Menus can change daily based on available ingredients. Cost per person is around $310.
8 El Celler de Can Roca - Girona, Spain
El Cellar de Can Roca holds the number 2 restaurant in the world spot for 2018, has received three Michelin stars and has been ranked best restaurant in the world twice. Needless to say, this restaurant has stacked up the accolades.
The restaurant is run by a trio of brothers: Joan the chef, Josep the sommelier and Jordi the pastry chef. Many of the dishes on the menu are inspired by the three brothers' childhood. They are slated to open a chocolate shop and boutique hotel in 2019 which are sure to be just as high caliber as their restaurant. Cost per person can be around $250 plus cost of beverages.
7 Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester - London, England
Another creation from Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London tops the list for expensive restaurants. It makes sense this is one of the most expensive restaurants because The Dorchester is one of the most expensive hotels in the world.
Alain Ducasse offers contemporary cuisine under executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet. The most seasonal ingredients from Great Britain and France are used to create a modern and refined menu. Prices start at around $230 per person, plus costs of beverages and gratuity. You can also pick a specific table to dine at in one of the three unique, private dining rooms. For example, Table Lumiere is considered the ultimate Michelin dining experience; the table is surrounded by luminescent 4,500 shimmering fiber optic lights.
6 Guy Savoy - Paris, France & Las Vegas, USA
Guy Savoy has multiple restaurants: Guy Savoy in Paris and Las Vegas as well as four other restaurants in Paris. The chef has gained multiple Michelin stars, including three for Paris Guy Savoy, and Guy Savoy Paris has been ranked in the top 50 restaurants in the world in the past.
Guy Savoy tied for top restaurant in the world from La Liste for 2019. Cost for a seven course lunch is €250, with drinks bringing it up to €320. If you are in Las Vegas, you can enjoy Guy Savoy around the same price. The prestige tasting menu starts at $385 per person.
5 Eleven Madison Park - New York City, USA
If you don't want to leave North America to get the best (and most expensive) restaurant experience, then you will want to go to Eleven Madison Park in New York City. This restaurant was actually ranked the best restaurant in the world in 2017, and in 2018 was ranked fourth best restaurant overall and best restaurant in North America.
Before Eleven Madison Park was a world ranked restaurant, it was a bank. Chef/owner Daniel Humm creates innovative, new cuisine based on US classics. Their standout dish is considered the New York "cheesecake" which actually has sturgeon and caviar in it! Lunch and dinner tasting menus can cost around $315 per person.
4 Aragawa - Tokyo, Japan
Unlike other expensive restaurants, you are not paying for fancy decor when you go to Aragawa. This restaurant has humble surroundings in the basement of a Tokyo office building. In fact, if you search for Aragawa online, you'll notice there is no website for this restaurant which makes reservations hard to come by. Don't let the unpretentious surroundings fool you though: the food is high caliber.
Aragawa is known for its top of the line Wagyu beef. The cows are from a special farm that has a specific way of feeding and treating the cows. Cost for a meal here can range around $260-370, depending on what you order.
3 Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville - Crissier, Switzerland
La Liste voted Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville one of the top restaurants in the world for 2019 and it has a three Michelin star rating. A dining experience here will offer elegance and extreme attention to detail from the staff. Cost per person can be up to $400 for the tasting menu. You can also learn to cook like a high end chef with their on-site cooking classes.
2 UltraViolet - Shanghai, China
UltraViolet has only one table for 10 people and 20 courses are served. This elite Shanghai restaurant is one of the most expensive in the world with prices ranging from $500-900 per person.
UltraViolet is ranked #24 out of 50 for best restaurant in 2018 and has received three Michelin stars. Eating at UltraViolet is truly a dining experience. The location of the restaurant is a secret; you arrive at an unmarked door somewhere in the city. All the senses are engaged with theatrics, lighting, video and audio demonstrations throughout the meal. Many dishes are a play on words or slightly deceptive in appearance (but amazingly delicious).
1 Mugaritz - San Sebastian, Spain
Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz questions and pushes the logic of the gastronomic world in his restaurant Mugaritz. The dining experience here takes about three hours and offers 20 courses that will stimulate all your senses. The tasting menu costs about $250 per person, drinks are extra.
Mugaritz is ranked ninth best restaurant in the world for 2018. Photos of the 2017 tasting menu are on the restaurant website, and this will give you an indication of the unique offerings Mugaritz can offer. Dishes have included: lettuce heart with a touch of chorizo, a sip of flowers and warm water, creamy veil of acidic potato, kiwi mushroom and peppers, aged mole leaves and bone marrow and scarlet shrimp and sweet corn.