Poverty and food insecurity are rampant in the world, and even the wealthy are feeling the pinch of recession and inflation. Nevertheless, somehow there is still a market for $10 million yachts, $20 million condos, and $30 million estates – and for fancy dinners that cost more than what a large percentage of the world’s population earns in a month or more. These few hours’ worth of food and drink cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars per person. (Of course, you wouldn’t worry about things like that if you were one of the richest Americans of all time.)
How can a restaurant meal be so expensive? Many factors are at play. Luxury ingredients – wild mushrooms, caviar, bluefin tuna, and such – can cost hundreds of dollars a pound (or in the case of fresh Italian white truffles, as much as $10,000). Then there’s the preparation of pricey dishes, which is usually extremely labor intensive (those baby vegetables don’t carve themselves). At many Michelin three-star restaurants, the kitchen staff literally outnumbers the diners. (These are the most expensive Michelin three-star restaurants in the world.)
Add in the costs involved in creating a memorable environment for patrons, including dazzling decor, the finest tableware, intricate service, and the cost of prime real estate, and then add in the prestige factor of being able to afford an extraordinary meal cooked (or at least conceived) by a world famous chef.
To determine the world’s most expensive restaurants, 24/7 Tempo consulted numerous food, travel, and business websites to assemble a shortlist of high-ticket eating places around the globe. We then checked the restaurant websites themselves as well as reservation and local review sites to assemble a final list.
Restaurants are ranked according to the price of their least expensive fixed-price dinner, excluding beverages, tax, and tips (unless otherwise noted). Some of these establishments offer less expensive menus at lunch, and some also provide à la carte options. These might allow a diner to order a meal for less than the price given here, but the fixed-price dinner affords better comparability of price and full dining experience. Prices were converted from local currencies to U.S. dollars using exchange rates on Sept. 28, 2022.
Included on this list are classic and contemporary French restaurants, representatives of Scandinavia’s thriving culinary scene, some modern American gems, two highly original Spanish places, a legendary sushi bar, and even an undersea temple of gastronomy.
Remember that the prices given are for a single meal without anything to drink and without non-voluntary taxes and voluntary gratuities. These can add hundreds of dollars to a tab – and since few people would sit down alone to an extravagant feast like those provided by these establishments, whatever the final total is would likely be doubled.
It should also be noted that at several of these restaurants, including Ultraviolet in Shanghai and SubliMotion on the Spanish island of Ibiza, the dining experience is enhanced with music, art, and theatrical performances.
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