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The Most Expensive Restaurant Menus in America

The Most Expensive Restaurant Menus in America



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If you’re planning on visiting one of these restaurants, be ready to drop some serious cash

The Most Expensive Restaurant Menus in America

When it comes to dining, we all have our definitions of what qualifies as a “splurge.” For some, a visit to a restaurant where entrée prices exceed $20 is reserved for special occasions only; others have no problem ordering a $50 steak any night at all. There are expensive restaurants, and then there are the expensive restaurants, the ones where everyday folks are left wondering how anyone can actually afford to eat there and still have money for the cab ride home. Reserved for high-rollers only, these are the 30 most expensive restaurants in America.

#30 La Grenouille, New York City

This iconic New York restaurant opened its doors on a snowy night in 1962, and has survived while its onetime counterparts like Lutèce, La Caravelle, and La Côte Basque have shuttered. So what makes this restaurant so special that it's continued to flourish, despite a change in management earlier this year? La Grenouille is a captivating snapshot of the classic dining trends of past eras, and the luxurious dining room, decorated with fresh flowers, ensures elegant surroundings. The menu may lack the kind of culinary drama often experienced at more modern fine dining restaurants, but when the food is as expertly prepared as it is here, there's no need to change a thing. The prix fixe is $106, with caviar supplements available at additional cost.

#29 Victoria and Albert’s, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in the Walt Disney World Resort, Victoria & Albert's, recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award, is known for being among the last remaining establishments in the country to require jackets for men. The modern American fare is crafted by chef Scott Hunnel, who makes a point to source ingredients from the most prime locations, such as truffles from Italy and beef from Japan. The tasting menu is $135 per person, with wine pairings an additional $65.

#28 Menton, Boston

Despite being younger than many of its counterparts (it opened in 2010), Menton has accomplished much in the culinary world, having earned four stars from the Boston Globe, as well as being named one of the “best new restaurants” in both Esquire and Bon Appétit magazines. Menton offers menus with both French and Italian influences: a seven-course tasting menu for $155 a person, as well as a four-course prix fixe for $95 a person.

#27 Daniel, New York City

This very grown-up restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side maintains standards of service and cuisine — French haute cuisine, very much an endangered species today — that harken back to an earlier era. But Daily Meal Council member Daniel Boulud's cooking is up-to-date and really, really good. Offering entrées like sea scallops with a birch reduction or cedar-wrapped Scottish sea trout, the restaurant’s nine-course tasting menu is available for $158 per person and three-course prix fixe for $125.

#26 Tru, Chicago

Anthony Martin, the young and ambitious chef helming the kitchen at Tru, quietly took the reins from Rick Tramonto a few years ago when Tramonto decided to shift primary focus to his other restaurants. Tru has received AAA Five Diamond Awards, a Michelin star award, and two four-star reviews from the Chicago Tribune, among its long list of accolades. The current nine-course menu is available for $158, and the seven-course prix fixe menu is $125.

#25 Moto, Chicago

With his sense of whimsy and cerebral molecular gastronomy, chef Richie Farina’s kitchen at Moto may better resemble a laboratory. His “Which Came First?” dish — complete with chicken and egg — is a favorite, and other dish names like “Thyme Capsule” are sure to intrigue. Guests may get a glimpse of the indoor “farm” on-site. Two tasting menus are available: the eight-course menu ($125), available only Tuesday through Thursday, and the 16-course ($175) tasting menu.

#24 Momofuku Ko, New York City

Now moved to a larger location, Ko, which has received two stars from the Michelin Guide for seven years in a row, still offers seating around a large counter and provides as unique an experience as ever. The dinner-only multi-course tasting menu for $175 has items like poached Matsutake mushrooms with pineapple, smoked egg with caviar, and charcoal-grilled beets with Furikake. A beverage pairing is available for $155 per person.

#23 Coi, San Francisco

Using carefully sourced ingredients, Coi chef Daniel Patterson — named 2014 Best Chef: West by the James Beard Foundation — serves thoughtful Northern California cuisine, balancing classical methods with modern techniques to create unusual and evocative experiences for diners such as Matsutake, a potato-pine needle purée. Some of Coi’s many accolades include a two-star Michelin rating and four stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. There is a daily tasting menu that varies from $155 to $185 (if walk-in spots are available, those are $195), and reservations are by a ticketing system; all have an 18-percent service charge at the time of purchase.

#22 Everest, Chicago

True to its name, Everest towers head-and-shoulders above many of Chicago's other upscale restaurants; literally, from its perch on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange Building, and also gastronomically, through Alsatian-born chef Jean Joho's superlative French food. The wine list is almost as stunning as the views, setting Everest above most other restaurants in its collection of great wines from Joho's home region of Alsace. Various menus are available, from the tasting menu for $185 to prix-fixe menu for $120, but signature dishes like Filet of Sole New Meunière are a must-try.

#21 Benu, San Francisco

Benu is located in a historic building in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district. James Beard Award-winning chef Corey Lee offers the chef’s tasting menu Tuesdays through Saturdays for $195 per person. The former French Laundry chef spent more than a year creating the perfect design, feel, and food for his restaurant. Sample tasting menus include such dishes as "thousand-year-old quail egg" and fluke with sesame leaf and daikon.

#20 Blanca, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Classic rock in a spare, modern, and polished atmosphere might be an unexpected atmosphere for a restaurant, but this is where Blanca works its culinary magic. With only a dozen diners at a time and eating facing the kitchen, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Wagyu beef in kohlrabi broth, cucumber sorbet with gin, and tofu with a pea purée are just some interesting combinations you may encounter in the $195 tasting menu.

#19 Le Bernardin, New York City

Think Le Bernardin and you think accolades: Michelin, The New York Times, James Beard Foundation. Is it a little stuffy? Sure… But with a super sleek renovation recently completed and a lengthy new lease, this iconic restaurant isn’t going anywhere. And if cooking fish well is an art, then chef Eric Ripert is Michelangelo; his contemporary French touch has led some to call his creations the world's best seafood. The four-course prix-fixe dinner menu is $135; there are also two tasting menus, the chef’s tasting menu at $198 ($336 with wine pairing) and Le Bernardin tasting menu at $155 ($246 with wine pairing).

#18 Herbfarm, Seattle

Located just outside of Seattle, Herbfarm offers a seasonally inspired dining experience that celebrates the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Each unique, nine-course meal features the freshest ingredients from forest, farm, and sea, and is paired with five or six wines; the menus, with themes such as Truffle Treasure and Chambers of the Sea, change with the season about every two weeks. There is a single seating each night and the tasting menu prices vary depending upon the theme, beginning at $205.

#17 Grace, Chicago

Behind the large glass window making the kitchen visible to diners, Grace’s chefs create gorgeous, colorful presentations on the plates, pretty enough that you might hesitate to cut them up. Luckily, the taste is worth it, with two tasting menu choices, Flora and Fauna, at $205 per person each. “Fauna” features seafood and protein, such as king crab with lemon mint, and “Flora” focuses on vegetables — a recent selection was sunchoke with Concord grapes. The available wine pairing is $125. Grace was awarded three Michelin stars in the 2015 Guide, improving upon 2014’s two stars.

#16 Jean Georges, New York City

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the few chefs in New York City with the distinction of four stars from The New York Times. At his eponymous restaurant in the Trump International Hotel and Tower, his classic French technique bridges old and new worlds, eschews heavy sauces, and embraces the spice and flavors of Asian cuisine. Guests may encounter such dishes as scallops with caramelized cauliflower and sashimi with pistachios, chile, and mint. Dinner prices range from a tasting menu of $208 to a prix fixe of $128.

#15 Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Va.

Patrick O'Connell, a self-taught chef, opened this restaurant in 1978 in what was originally a garage in a little town about an hour's drive from D.C. He formed alliances with local farmers and artisanal producers long before it was fashionable, and developed into a sophisticated modern American chef of the highest order. This Five Diamond Award-winning property, which creates classic French cuisine with a fresh update, offers its tasting menu at $178 per person Monday through Thursday, $188 on Friday and Sunday, and $208 for the dinner on Saturday. Garden views, silk lampshades, and elegantly set tables accompany delicious dishes like the Tin of Sin caviar meal, truffle-stuffed breast of pheasant, and scallops with candied yams and coconut.

#14 Mélisse, Los Angeles

Acclaimed chef-owner of Mélisse and native Southern Californian Josiah Citrin draws inspiration from ingredients available at the farmers market and the local purveyors he partners with to craft his seasonally changing menu. With two Michelin stars, four from the Mobil Guide, and a host of various industry awards, Mélisse attracts locals and visiting food enthusiasts alike who are looking to celebrate special occasions. The Carte Blanche menu costs $210, the vegetarian tasting menu $135, and various supplements, such as caviar or white truffles, are available.

#13 Alinea, Chicago

It could be said that Grant Achatz, whose training includes stints with Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, and Ferran Adrià, deserves the title of America's most creative chef. Pushing boundaries with items like the Edible Helium Balloon and the Black Truffle Explosion, he puts modernist techniques to delicious use. Besides such curiosities, Alinea has earned both the Michelin three-star rating and the James Beard Award for Best Service in the United States. Seasonal menus, ranging between 18 and 22 courses, begin at $210 before wine pairings, and reservations are sold by a ticketing system.

#12 Addison, San Diego, Calif.

Addison is the signature restaurant located in the Grand Del Mar resort in San Diego. Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef William Bradley combines French cooking with local ingredients to create his menus. Most first-timers opt for the 10-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, which costs $215 per person. However, the most popular menu is the four-course standard, which costs $98 per person. The elegantly styled dining room overlooks the resort grounds and centers on a wine room. The frequently changing menu offers dishes such as caramelized codfish and a chilled white corn velouté.

#11 Eleven Madison Park, New York City

Eleven Madison Park is an event all its own. The restaurant has, among its credits, four stars from The New York Times, where the reviewer hailed the imaginative presentation, and three stars from the Michelin Guide. Soaring ceilings and beautiful décor set the tone for the sole dining option available on the menu: the $225 tasting menu, where a diner might find items like cucumber snow and langoustine with fennel.

#10 The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, Calif.

Chef Chris Kostow's widely acclaimed Napa Valley dining spot creates food custom-suited to each guest based on a process of communication. The restaurant received a James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Service this year, and in 2013, chef Kostow got the James Beard Award for Best Chef: West. A Chef's Tasting Menu of nine or ten courses is offered each evening for $225 per person, and wine pairings for each course are offered for an additional $225 per person.

#9 Baumé, Palo Alto, Calif.

Bruno Chemel’s two-Michelin-starred Baumé is named after the French chemist Antoine Baumé — appropriate for this modern approach to French cuisine. The eight-course dinner tasting menu is offered at $238 per person; the six-course lunch tasting menu is $178. In both cases, service is complimentary. Guests, who will enjoy the polished service in an intimate setting, should be prepared to spend a few hours indulging in the array of dishes, such as the 62 Degree Jidori Egg, Avocado Kohlrabi, and Golden Osetra Caviar.

#8 Saison, San Francisco

The recipient of three stars from the Michelin Guide, Saison nevertheless has a more laid-back atmosphere than some of its counterparts. An open kitchen allows diners to see the meticulous preparation of dishes of extraordinary freshness, from a standout tomato salad to the trout roe. The dining room’s tasting menu price is $248 for an eight-course meal (an enhanced “Discovery” menu is also available at varying prices), and a customized wine pairing for $248 is optional.

#7 Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Located in the lower level of a gourmet grocery store in downtown Brooklyn, the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, the recipient of Michelin’s three stars, is one of the toughest tables to book in New York City. Part of the exclusivity stems from the fact that the entire restaurant includes only 18 seats of communal dining, but the quality of the food ensures that repeat customers get right back in the reservation line. Seafood, mostly shellfish, is the focal point here, and the prix fixe dinner of at least 20 small-plate courses changes daily. $255 is the current prix fixe price, plus tax and 20-percent service fee. Wine is now available; prices per bottle begin at $60.

#6 The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

Chef Thomas Keller approaches French cuisine with classical technique, and his restaurant The French Laundry established new standards for fine dining in this country. In 2012, Keller and The French Laundry received the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award, and the restaurant has been given the Michelin Guide San Francisco’s highest rating of three stars six years in a row. The French Laundry offers two daily nine-course tasting menus, a Chef’s Tasting Menu and a Vegetable Tasting Menu, for $295 per head.

#5 Per Se, New York City

Upholding the standards of excellent cuisine and customer service set by Thomas Keller’s restaurant empire, Per Se remains a must-visit dining experience in New York. Its elegantly luxurious dining room, overlooking Central Park, has an open fire and friendly wait staff that keep the experience from being stuffy. But while the prices are on the stuffy side — two nine-course tasting menus are offered daily: $310 for the Chef’s Tasting Menu, and $310 for the Tasting of Vegetables — many feel that with its three-star Michelin Guide rating, two four-star reviews from The New York Times and the “Outstanding Service Award” from the James Beard Foundation in 2011, the experience is worth every penny.

#4 Guy Savoy, Las Vegas

At the top of his profession, with a well-deserved three Michelin stars at his Parisian flagship, Savoy has translated the best in contemporary ingredient-based French cooking to the world’s most famous gambling mecca without missing a beat. The artichoke and black truffle soup, red mullet fillet, frozen cauliflower mousse, and other such extravagances will remind you why French chefs got so famous in the first place and why the bill is so pricey. In addition to the 14-course Innovation menu 14-course at $375, a nine-course $290 Signature menu, and an À La Carte menu is available.

#3 Urasawa, Beverly Hills, Calif.

This Japanese culinary shrine, with a sushi bar and just enough room for 10 diners nightly, is located in a shopping center off Rodeo Drive. Some might call it the West Coast version of New York City's Masa, which is not surprising considering that not only did Urasawa chef-owner Hiroyuki Urasawa train under Masa Takayama before opening his restaurant, but also the restaurant's spot previously housed Ginza Sushi-ko, where Takayama made his reputation. Urasawa has a nearly 30-course omakase menu, priced at $395, that changes daily.

#2 Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas

This opulently furnished dining room in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino is the first restaurant opened in America by the famed, award-winning Robuchon, commonly considered the greatest of modern French chefs. It maintains the highest standards, from its superb service and impressive (and impressively pricey) wine list to such finely crafted signature dishes as La Langoustine, truffled langoustine ravioli with chopped cabbage. The 16-course prix fixe menu is a truly memorable experience, as well it ought to be at $425 a head, wine not included. However, their most popular menu is the five-course tasting menu, at $195.

#1 Masa, New York City

Established as the premier sushi spot in New York City (as well as the best in the United States) Masa Takayama's namesake restaurant in the swanky Time Warner Center draws diners into its hushed, intimate setting for an evening of exquisite food and exotic presentations. The menu-less cuisine, with fish flown in from Japan, is accompanied by a high bar for entry: the price. For dinner at this Three-Michelin-star venue, you’ll pay a minimum of $450 per person before tip.


10 Insanely Expensive Meals Around the Globe

After seeing this pricey drink, you won't bat an eyelash at the price of most cocktails. The Burj Al Arab, a luxury hotel in Dubai, serves a "Diamonds are Forever" cocktail in a Swarovski Crystalline cocktail glass that has diamonds in the stem. The drink is made with L'Heraud Grand Champagne Cognac, Luxor 24k Gold Flake Champagne, The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Bitters, and sugar. Although it will set you back $1,347, you do get to keep the Swarovski crystal glass as a keepsake.

What It Will Cost You: $210

There aren't many three-star Michelin restaurants out there, but Chicago is home to a very well-known one: Alinea. The restaurant was opened in 2005 by Grant Achatz. It's best known for its progressive cuisine and use of molecular gastronomy, or the deconstruction of food. An 18-course meal of small dishes sets each guest back $210. For that, you will enjoy a spread that includes dishes described on the menus as "Woolly Pig: fennel, orange, squid" "Lamb: . " and "Balloon: helium, green apple." Intrigued? So are we!

What It Will Cost You: $3,200

In a hurry? Don't order the Samundari Khazana from Bombay Brasserie, then. If you do, you are going to drop roughly $3,200, so you will want to stick around and enjoy yourself. We love a good curry, but Bombay Brasserie really loves their curry. Why so expensive? The Samundari Khazana (translated roughly to "seafood treasure") contains Devon crab, white truffle, Beluga caviar, a gold leaf, a Scottish lobster coated in gold, four abalones, and four quail eggs.

What It Will Cost You: $145

Did we hear you complain about shelling out a couple of bucks for a New York City hot dog? Then you're in for a price shock. At Capital Dawg in Sacramento, California, the California Capitol City Dawg sells for around $145. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this top dog is an 18-inch, 3/4-pound, all-beef, natural-casing, Chicago-style frank served with French whole grain mustard, garlic and herb mayo, sautéed shallots, mixed baby greens, applewood and cherry smoked uncured bacon, Swedish moose cheese (which costs $200 a pound), chopped tomato, sweetened dried cranberries, a basil olive oil/cranberry-pear-coconut balsamic vinaigrette, and fresh ground pepper. It is served on a custom-made herb focaccia roll toasted in white truffle butter. It is also available in a combo with french fries and a soda for a hair more: $149.77. Unfortunately, this spot has plans to shut down. Help us begin looking for the new "top dog" in the wake of Capital Dawg's demise.

What It Will Cost You: $5,000

Can a hamburger be high-class? Hubert Keller of Top Chef Masters thinks so. His $5,000 burger is served at Fleur in Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay. The FleurBurger 5000, as it is called, consists of a Wagyu beef and foie gras burger patty topped with truffle sauce and shaved black truffles, all served on a brioche truffle bun. Although there is a pricier burger sold at The Palms (also in Las Vegas), the FleurBurger is served with a $2,500 bottle of Bordeaux.

What It Will Cost You: $366

Following increased popularity since the release of the hit documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," sushi master Sukiyabashi Jiro continues to maintain one of the most well-respected restaurants in the world. It's a small space (seats for about 10 people), but the patrons who make it in are set for a fabulous meal. The sushi spread costs around $366 per person, and you must eat what the Chef deems good for you. Trust him, he knows everything there is to know about his craft.

What It Will Cost You: $450

Masa was opened in 2004 by famed sushi chef Masa Takamaya. The menu is set at about $450 per person, not including tax or drinks. Chef Masa prepares the food himself, using ingredients like truffles, Kobe beef, fish from Japan, and beluga caviar &mdash only the best. It is a culinary indulgence.

What It Will Cost You: $450

If you still have some money left in your budget after getting yourself to Paris, take a trip to 3-star Michelin rated L'Arpége, founded by legendary chef Alain Passard. At the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, Passard is mostly known for the quality of his vegetables and the manner in which he serves them. The tasting menu runs around $450. It's money well spent, as Passard's talents make him worth his weight in gold or at least in fresh fennel.

What It Will Cost You: $450

The Louis XIII pizza, created by ambitious Chef Renato of Salerno, Italy, was deemed the most expensive pizza a few years ago &mdash the pie cost a staggering $12,000! In 2012, Steveston Pizza Co., a quiet pizza spot with multiple locations in Canada, is offering a slightly more affordable &mdash though still monetarily outrageous &mdash pizza called the "C6 Pizza." Priced at about $450, it's topped with lobster and black Alaskan cod, then served with Russian Osetra caviar on the side.


10 Budget Busters on Everyday Restaurant Menus

Going out to eat is not easy on the wallet, so a $5.99 all-you-can-eat spaghetti buffet seems like a good deal. But, is a pasta dinner for four, something you make at home, really worth $25? Not unless it's imported direct from Italy. Surprisingly, the steak dinner that would cost your group more than $100 might actually be a better deal.

According to Forbes magazine, a fine-dining restaurant's average cost of raw food is around 38 to 42 percent of menu price, but only 5 to 8 cents of every dollar goes to the restaurateur. The rest is swallowed up in overhead, payroll and food costs.

So, restaurants want to maximize revenue. To do this, they balance high-profit dishes like pasta or chicken (that cost less to buy and serve) against high-cost like seafood or beef, where the markup will be less. Certain industry practices help too. For example, a menu consultant might advise showcasing high profit dishes in the menu's top right-hand top corner and including a price anchor -- that extremely over-priced item that makes everything else look inexpensive. A daily special is another way to promote preferred items, and who doesn't want something special? Creative ideas, such as having patrons wait in the bar where they may order a drink or advertising an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet also help a restaurant's bottom line.

Since your average restaurant can only charge so much for an entrée, without losing business, it has to make up the difference on other parts of the meal. So, what specific items make restaurants the most money? Keep reading to learn about some popular budget busters on menus. The first one has a markup of more than 900 percent.

In many restaurants, you get free refills on soft drinks, so you may feel like you're really getting a bargain. After all, the wait staff brings you these tall glasses, brimming with ice and soda, and you don't even have to finish the first one before they have the next glass sitting in front of you.

But, did you know that your $1.95 soda is only costing the restaurant around 20 cents per serving? That's a markup of 975 percent, so even if you have a few refills, the restaurant is not sweating it. Soft drinks are not the only beverages making restaurants money as you'll see later in this article.

In the meantime, if you want to get the most value for your dining-out dollars, opt out on the soda. Water is better for you and tap water is completely free. But, if you really want the soft drink, say yes to refills or don't be afraid to ask for a to-go cup on your way out. After all, you've paid for it.

It's no secret that it often costs more to eat healthy -- fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins are more expensive than French fries or burgers. But, is a restaurant salad really worth the $7 to $12 that you might pay?

Take a shrimp Caesar salad, for example. The restaurant buys the romaine lettuce and other ingredients in bulk, and croutons are cheap, often made from day-old bread to give them that nice crunchiness. So, the true cost is in the seafood. It's a common perception that seafood is more of a delicacy and it's healthy, so we're willing to pay more for it. However, there's a good chance that the shrimp in a Caesar salad are not the large, high-cost Atlantic shrimp but low dollar product that's not much more expensive than chicken.

The iceberg lettuce wedge is another budget buster on the menu. In the 1950s and 60s, people thought iceberg lettuce was suave and sophisticated so the lettuce wedge became a popular salad in restaurants. Even though it's made a comeback now, it's basically a head of lettuce that is mostly water, drizzled in ranch dressing. For around $5, you can create this at home and have lettuce wedges to least all week.

For the best salad value, choose one that you couldn't create at home, with ingredients like fresh lobster or sirloin to justify the cost.

Relaxing with a glass of wine is a reason many patrons enjoy dining out, and restaurateurs enjoy you enjoying that. And why not? The markup on wine is usually around 300 percent, and it's not uncommon for it to be higher. A bottle that the restaurant buys wholesale for $10 (which would cost you around $15 in a store) will sell anywhere from $30 to $40.

How do restaurants justify that markup? Well, a food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle said that a markup of at least 2.5 times on wine was reasonable because of the costs involved in buying, stocking and serving the product. Also, the profit margin on wine by the glass is sometimes higher than by the bottle because the restaurant may be left with opened bottles that they have to use quickly or throw away.

For some, paying that high price to have a glass of wine is part of the package, but if you want to avoid this budget buster, see if you can bring your own wine. Many restaurants allow this and simply charge a corkage fee. The fee usually ranges anywhere from $10 to $20, but it's usually a better deal for your wallet, and it gives you the option of drinking a higher quality wine without breaking the bank.

Many people order seafood in restaurants because it's perceived as a higher value, healthier choice than other proteins. We think that seafood is better quality, more exclusive and therefore worth the expense. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes, seafood is just another menu budget buster.

For example, if you have a choice of a dish with $2 worth of chicken or $2 worth of shrimp, the restaurant will probably charge more for the shrimp dish. We'd not only expect that, we'd pay it.

Then, you have the issue of quality. Maryland crab cakes are delicious, but "Maryland-style" crab cakes mean those crustaceans hale from another, less exclusive locale though you'll pay a Chesapeake Bay price. Another example where you might not get what you're paying for is a seafood medley or fruits de mer (fruits of the sea) dish. Your shellfish -- shrimp, lobsters, mussels, oysters and clams -- are your high dollar items, but you'll probably also have other swimmers mixed in to give the dish quantity and help the restaurant manage raw food costs.

So, what do you do if you want to enjoy some good quality seafood? Ask where it's from. If you want shellfish, order the lobster, mussels or clams and leave the other fruits de mer out at sea.

The next budget buster isn't as special as it seems.

Whether it's the Blue Plate Special or the Chef's Special, almost all restaurants have that limited-time- only dish. But is this a truly unique dish from a creative chef, a pricing scam or something the kitchen need to get rid of before it expires? The answer could be all three.

A daily special is often a way for the chef to get creative, and spice up the menu for the restaurant's regular diners. But, it can also be a way to establish a pricing structure and manage diners' perceptions. If the special pecan-encrusted salmon is $30, you might feel better about ordering the shrimp scampi at $25.

Specials can also be ways to get rid of surplus. If the salmon is not moving quickly enough, it may end up as a "Salmon Surprise" that week. Additionally, if that particular restaurant does catering or hosts special events, they may have leftovers they need to use.

Specials also give restaurants pricing flexibility. Specials are a temporary item on the menu, if they're listed at all, so the chef can change prices based on changing costs or low sales.

To avoid busting your budget on a daily special, ask some questions about the preparation to help determine how special things really are.

Once upon a time, desserts were a way for restaurants to make easy money. The low cost of ingredients, the little preparation time required, and the $5 price tag for a slice of German chocolate cake helped profits. But, with the popularity of the pastry chef today, every fine dining restaurant in town features signature desserts, complex tarts and labor-intensive delicacies. So, if you want a little value for your dollar, order the dessert and watch the restaurant work for it.

Breakfast is a favorite pastime, especially on the weekends. But, unless you order the omelet stuffed with crab and lobster, you're probably spending too much.

How do most people begin their breakfast? With a cup of joe. The mark-up is about 300 percent and a profitable item for a restaurant, regardless of refills. And, we're not even discussing the skinny, soy-milk, and whipped cream specialty coffees. Orange juice isn't much different. Imagine a 64 ounce (1.89 liter) container from a grocery store, costing around $3 and assume restaurants buy cheaper in bulk. Dining out, a 16 ounce (473 milliliter) glass costs you between $1.50 and $2.50. You don't have to be a math genius to know this is a triple digit markup.

On to the food: The majority of breakfast items like pancakes and egg dishes are highly profitable and cheap to make. So, that $9 stack of pancakes that you could make at home for a dollar or two is making the restaurateur very happy. Syrup, especially if it's a fancy specialty, may be the costliest part of your meal. Omelets are no different. Bacon, ham, turkey, peppers, tomatoes -- regardless of the type or style are still very inexpensive ingredients and unless specified, fairly generic and purchased in bulk. In other words, don't expect gourmet mushrooms or organic tomatoes in that omelet.

4: Side Dishes and Appetizers

With appetizers and side dishes, restaurant-goers have a hard time determining a good value. Subsequently, these items are more profitable for the establishment. The entrée is your main focus and that's what sets the standard. Adding mashed potatoes for an additional $4 may not seem like much when you're already paying $30 for a steak. Or, if you've passed up a shrimp entrée for $22, the shrimp cocktail appetizer may seem affordable at $9.00.

Jody Pennette, the founder of CB5 Restaurant Group, told Forbes in October 2011 that the prices on appetizers and side dishes had increased disproportionately to the raw food costs of these items. This gives restaurants a nice cash cow. "Restaurants keep mains as competitive as they can, knowing they have leeway in other parts of the menu, " Pennette added. Remember that the next time your order the $8 macaroni and cheese.

Another trick of the trade -- use mysterious ingredients that your average person doesn't eat or use. If you don't cook with lavender, use truffles or Beluga caviar in your recipes, you won't know what they should cost. The presence of that exotic element in your appetizer or side dish justifies the higher price, regardless of the quantity or quality used in the recipe.

So, skip the appetizer or extra side dish, and not only for cost reasons. Ordering them leaves you less likely to finish your entrée. That's leaving money on the table. Another thing leaving money on the table? Pasta.

Most people enjoy pasta, and what's not to love? It's filling, it's tasty, it works with seafood, meat or primavera and it's one of the more affordable items on the restaurant menu. But appearances can be deceiving.

Earlier we mentioned that food costs average between 30 and 42 percent of menu prices, average being the operative word. Pasta, for example, brings that number down which is why restaurant owners love you to choose the penne over the beef. Pasta costs around 18 percent of menu price, so restaurants can make a killing. Even served with shrimp, veal or fancy mushrooms, there is still a nice profit margin factored into most pasta dishes.

So, if pasta is a restaurant rip-off, what should you order? According to Clark Wolfe, a restaurant consultant from New York in a Forbes article, "Choose labor-intensive, time-consuming complex dishes that call for hard-to-find ingredients." You are paying for it, so why not get the most value from your meal? Wolfe added, "If you can whip it up yourself in 20 minutes with stuff from your kitchen cupboard -- do that."

In other words, go hard or go home. And we think that especially applies to the next item on our list.

If you're familiar with comic strips, you know Popeye, the spinach-eating sailorman. One of Popeye's friends, Wimpy, was a bit of a mooch with an insatiable appetite for hamburgers. Today's restaurant patrons are no different. However, the new gourmet burgers are enough to make anyone, including Wimpy, reconsider his options.

Most diners have a price point in mind when they order a hamburger, usually under $10. Extras like cheese, bacon, and mushrooms may cost 50 cents to $1 extra. But, today's restaurants have found ways to spice up the standard hamburger, and in doing so, command a higher price tag.

Chefs add unique burger toppings like foie gras, special mushrooms or truffles stuff patties with lobster or gruyere cheese or make them with Kobe beef, ostrich, or salmon. Spices and spreads like pesto, curry or wasabi are other ways to jazz up this standard fare. In the minds of customers, this also elevates the burger from the sandwich category into fine dining.

But, with these sophisticated ingredients, you get a very small portion relative to the price. How many truffles fit on a burger? How much wasabi do you need on the bun? Do a few lobster pieces justify the cost? To avoid this budget buster, stick to your good, old-fashioned burger. You may not feel as classy, but you'll get a better bang for your buck and still love the taste.

People would expect New York City to have some of the more expensive restaurants in the world, and it doesn't disappoint. In April 2011, Masa, a Japanese and sushi restaurant in Manhattan's Columbus Circle, was ranked as the most expensive NYC restaurant. Dinner averaged between $400 and $600 per person -- before gratuity, drinks or taxes!

So after all that, would the best deal be some good old-fashioned Chinese food from the local takeout place? Yes and no. International is another area where prices can be deceiving.

Looking at Japanese fare, most would say sushi is worth the price. It has low food costs but high labor. After all, it takes talent and time to make the rolls most people can't do this at home. But, where does the $6 edamame fit in? This popular side dish is oh-so-healthy, but restaurants buy a pound for under $2, boil the beans and add salt. So, when you get your 4 to 6 ounces (113 to 170 grams) of soybeans, remember that it cost the restaurant about 50 cents in food and labor.

If you love Chinese food, chicken-fried rice is probably on that list. What goes into a $7 to $9 bowl of this? Assume any restaurant is buying eggs, rice and oil in bulk. Add tiny bits of chicken, the cheaper veggies of the day, toss it all around and you've got your entrée. The better deal is the beef and broccoli stir-fry. It's more expensive but it's healthier and a better deal for your wallet.

Or go Mexican and consider guacamole. A guacamole chip and dip appetizer costs between $3 and $10, but the restaurant pays $1 for an avocado. They mash it up, add some spice and it's done. Remember, if you can do it quickly and easily at home, it's probably not worth the restaurant's price.


The Most Expensive Restaurant Dish in Every U.S. State

Here are the most outrageously expensive menu items we're dying to try.

What's life without a few splurges here and there? Americans love their big portions, but some people want the flourish of a elaborate and beautifully plated meal by master chefs to plaster all over their social media feeds. If that sounds like you, we've got you covered.

Herewith, you'll find a guide to the most luxurious, outrageous, and delicious restaurant dishes you can eat (sometimes only with reservations months in advance) across the United States. And for more on great food around the country, check out the Greatest BBQ Joint in Every U.S. State.

A lot of Americans might overlook the fact that Alabama is a a seafood paradise. Birmingham's Highland Bar & Grill offers up a $95 variety platter of oysters they call the "Super Guadalupe Special." You might need a prayer or two if you hope to finish it alone. For more ideas on dining in style, take a look at the Best Power Lunch Restaurant in Every U.S. State.

Surrounded by 360-degree views of stunning Arctic water views, the appropriately-named Crow's Nest is situated of the top of the Hotel Captain Cook in scenic Anchorage. The catch of the day is always fresh from freezing nearby waterways, but the real star of Crow's Nest is a $68 ribeye steak that will make even the most diehard seafood lover's mouth water. And meat lovers, if you're cooking a steak at home, Steal Bobby Flay's Top Steak-Cooking Secret.

Coming in at a whopping $35,000, Scottsdale's Bourbon & Bones Chophouse will pick you and a dozen of your friends up in a limo to be treated to its Epic Crystal Dinner. The evening stars an exclusive wine list—featuring a menu with prices larger than some mortgage payments—and a dozen dry-aged, 32-ounce Wagyu Tomahawk Ribeye Steaks. And if you feel guilty about splurging this much, don't: A portion of the night's proceeds goes to Arizona's largest family homeless shelter, so you can pat yourself on the back during the limo ride home. And for more on the best group trips, these are the 10 Most Expensive Airbnb Rentals in the U.S.

Little Rock's Ristorante Capeo serves up Old World staples with a homestyle Southern flair. Their Veal Ossobuco will throw any Italian food purist for a loop—and will run up a solid $43 (not including the wine pairing).

Californians—Angelenos in particular—are no strangers to great Japanese food, but many have never seen anything like the sushi at the Michelin-starred Urusawa in Los Angeles. It's not just the highest standard of quality present in the food that's rare. It's the $395 prix fixe that Urasawa only serves up from master sushi chefs. For those thinking that shelling out $400 for a 30-course sushi fix is too much, you can breathe a sigh of relief that, at the very least, gratuity is included. Tipping in Japan is nonexistent and is one of many Major Cultural Mistakes Americans Make Abroad.

Denver has been a growing hub of experimentation with staples of American food for years now, but EDGE Restaurant & Bar in the Four Seasons Hotel takes the staid steakhouse and injects it with some new vitality. Their 30-ounce Waygu Tomahawk steak costs a belt-busting $130 and, due to its cartoonish size, is sure to also be literally belt-busting. And for more great info for meat-eaters, here's how to Cook a Steak at Home Like a Pro.

The only thing you won't be taking a gamble on at the Foxwoods Casino—just a short drive into Connecticut from New York City—is by dropping dough on an expensive meal at David Burke Prime. The impressive 280-seat restaurant serves up all kinds of chops, seafood, and other delights. But the real big spenders aim for something a bit more aged. The kitchen staff at David Burke Prime dry age their 38 oz. Ribeye in pink Himalayan salt for 55 days so it can be as tender and delicious as possible when it's served. And remember: Wherever you choose to dine, here are the 20 Secrets Your Chef Won't Tell You.

Located in the stately Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, The Green Room is something of a time capsule of a more elegant period in history—one where men wear jackets by decree and tea time is adhered to with strict seriousness. While you're here, lean into that mystique. The restaurant's Veal Porterhouse is respectably priced at $40, but you might want to calculate how much that velvet smoking jacket will add to that bill.

Miami might not be known for its Asian food, but upstart luxury sushi restaurant Naoe is singlehandedly changing the city's culinary landscape. The only menu option in the 16-seat venue is an ultra-luxe $200 prix fixe made up of a variety of raw fish delights prepared in front of you by Chef Kevin Cory.

Since opening in 1993, Bacchanalia has consistently brought some well-deserved acclaim from elite chefs and serious food critics to Atlanta's culinary scene. Roast duck, beef tartare, and farm-to-table cheeses are the highlights of this chic prix fixe menu. (Don't worry: You can mix and match selections.) If you'd like to enjoy your meal with some caviar, that can add up to an extra $120. For more on fine dining, consider the 19 Fancy Menu Phrases Everyone Should Know.

Halekulani's in-hotel restaurant, La Mer, takes the stunning views of Honolulu Bay and makes them a virtual appetizer for your eyes. La Mer's menu is dotted with delights fresh from the sea, but the crown jewel of the menu is the Oscietre Grand Cru: Fresh sturgeon caviar priced at $390 a portion.

It's not all just potatoes with your meat when you step down in Idaho, and Boise's State & Lemp is proof. A local standout, State & Lemp flaunts connections to local agricultural suppliers and even features a themed dish—it changes every season—on the menu. The seasonally-tinged menu is fixed at $95. And $30 wine pairings will keep your bill a bit steep.

Dining at Chicago's Alinea is not your typical night on the town. The Michelin-starred restaurant offers three separate dining rooms and experiences: The Gallery, The Salon, and Kitchen Table. None of them are inexpensive, but the Kitchen Table option, in particular, offers the most elaborate menus, where an intimate group of six can enjoy a lavish meal for $385 per person.

St. Elmo's has been part an Indiana mainstay since 1902. (It's even Ron Swanson's favorite steakhouse on Parks & Recreation.) For those feeling a bit landlocked looking at the menu, worry not: There is a Surf 'N' Turf option that will add an 8-ounce lobster tail to your sizzling steak for $79. Pair any prime cut you find yourself in front of with any one of the Best Craft Beers In Every U.S. State.

801 Chophouse is a burgeoning chain of Midwest steakhouses that have gained attention by only serving USDA Prime beef. But the Chophouse in Des Moines is serving up a bit of the sea. Try swapping out regular mashed potatoes for some lobster mashed potatoes—or try The Grand Platter, an absolutely monstrous conglomeration of iced Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp, Alaskan king crab, and oysters. Expect both your waistline and wallet to go bust after shelling out $90 on all that seafood.

If you're a fan of either Scotch or sirloin, then you'll be in heaven once you sit down at this premier steakhouse in Kansas. The culinary team at Scotch & Sirloin are trying their darnedest to drown patrons in prime cuts of steak. Try your hardest to get through the gargantuan Chateaubriand for two at $76.

Steakhouse guru Jeff Ruby certainly knows his way around a cutting board. With several self-titled restaurants under his belt and celebrity clientele, the food has to live up to that kind of hype. Diners at Jeff Ruby's can eat like royalty (or like hometown heartthrob George Clooney) when you order the 30-ounce 55 Day Dry Aged Tomahawk Ribeye steak—or you will, at the very least, feel like a king when you pay the $115 bill.

The culture of food in Louisiana is not unlike a gumbo, a colorful melange of Afro-Caribbean, French, and Cajun cuisine. New Orleans' Square Root is the perfect example of a modern-day eating establishment celebrating that multifaceted heritage. The 15-course fixed menu for two might seem daunting to some, but the refined takes on fried chicken and okra will more than justify the $300 price tag.

It doesn't always have to be lobster night in Maine—and Portland mainstay Hugo's celebrates that diversity of choice. The a la carte menu stars several modernist takes on classic seafood appetizers, but the real crown jewel at Hugo's is the $90 blind tasting, curated by their executive chefs. And if you're feeling even more adventurous, a bespoke wine tasting to pair with your blind dinner is available for an additional $75.

Since 1997, Charleston has been the epicenter of Baltimore's fine dining scene. Head Chef Cindy Wolf has been consistently pumping out delicious food while still managing to keep the menu fresh and daring in its presentation and vigor. The menu is made up of 3 courses for $79 but jumps to $124 for a six-course selection. Wine pairings could bring the priciest of dinner options to $222—and that's before gratuity and tax.

Head Chef Frank McClelland's elegantly simple Boston fine dining institution, L'Espalier, only offers two nightly tasting menus, but the experience and flavors are more than worth the limited options. The 8-course tasting menu will run up a $208 bill. But for those that enjoy high-end caviar, the Caspian Sea Beluga will run a whopping $380 per portion.

Located in the MotorCity Casino Hotel, the luxe restaurant Iridescence is serving up elegant elegant chops and a uniquely American take on the Japanese art of kaiseki, starring an imported Japanese A-5 Kobe Beef Strip Loin for a whopping $120.

Serving up classic cocktails and great grub since 1946, Minneapolis' Murray's Steakhouse is a cozy, modern take on the time-tested American steakhouse. Try not to fill up your stomach or check on the abundance of bar snacks and appetizers so you can leave room for the massive Chateaubriand for two at $115.

You might feel the burn in Mississippi once you step into the Jackson branch of Char Restaurant. A growing chain taking on Southern comfort food with an upscale flare, Char's $51 bone-in, chili-rubbed cowboy ribeye is sure to light a fire in some hungry diner's stomachs and wallets.

One doesn't have to look far for great BBQ in Kansas City, but Pierpont's is bringing some pricey fruits de mer to its landlocked food lovers. Diners can enjoy Royal Siberian Sturgeon, one of many fresh seafoods flown in daily, with crème fraîche and crackers for $99. For more on getting the best dining experience, read through the 20 Secrets Waiters Won't Tell You.

Montana might be known as Big Sky Country to some, but visitors to Billings' Northern Hotel might easily confuse it for Big Steak Country. The world-class chefs at TEN dress up locally-sourced Montana beef and greens into dishes that everyone will go wild for. If you and a friend are feeling brave, you can try tackling the 48-ounce Colorado Tomahawk Ribeye with a salad meant for two at $83.

The menu at Mahogany Prime Steakhouse is another example of a Midwestern state known for loving corn-fed things just bucking that trend and going all out with a food choice you can't just get anywhere. Eat like you just won the lottery or the Super Bowl when you order two pounds of Alaskan King Crab Legs for $100.

Las Vegas is home to numerous world-class casino resorts that play host to some of the best fine dining in the world, but the French chef Joël Robuchon's self-titled flagship in the MGM Grand stands alone. The guy has more Michelin stars under his belt than any other chef in the world—and his Las Vegas oasis of refined eating boasts three stars alone. The only dining option in the intimate 12 seat venue is the five-course tasting menu for $425—and it's definitely something you want to set aside some of your gambling money for.

Sometimes you just want to eat some well-made, no-frills food, but Manchester's Hanover Street Chophouse is taking that to the next level. There are the requisite chops and pasta dishes, but for a state with a fairly small sliver of coastline, Hanover Street's menu is packed with seafood delights. See if you and a similarly hungry companion can tackle the $85 Seafood Tower.

Situated at four-starred Crystal Springs Resort, Restaurant Latour takes New Jersey's nickname of the Garden State literally. Executive Chef Anthony Bucco personally inspects the greens and vegetables—foraged straight from the grounds of the resort—to ensure a true farm-to-table fine dining experience. Diners can choose from a $115 prix fixe menu or a $145 Chef's Choice tasting menu of locally-sourced seafood and meat, not including a $65 wine pairing.

Named for the ancient society indigenous to the area, Anasazi at Santa Fe's Rosewood Inn features stunning desert views and a menu featuring a wonderful blend of modern and Native American cuisine. Chef Edgar Beas forages for wild mushrooms and locational wood to smoke meats in the traditions of the indigenous peoples of New Mexico. The experience of eating the dry-aged strip loin served up with locally-sourced ingredients is more than worth the $45.

Everyone knows there's no shortage of good food in New York. Still, one question remains: Where is the priciest meal in the Big Apple? Look no further than the top floor of Columbus Circle's Time Warner Center, where exalted chef Masa Takayama (he of three Michelin stars) is continuing his life passion of making sushi into a sublime and transitory art form. Though simplicity and elegance is the name of the game there, Masa's reservations often fill up months in advance and will run diners $595 a person for the multi-course omakase menu.

Fearrington House, located in Fearrington Village just outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is a quaint former dairy farm serving up some serious country eats. The various menus of the eateries at Fearrington will be sure to make anyone hungry, but the main eponymous restaurant has a $150 per person chef's tasting menu that will leave everyone satisfied. See if you can't fit the black truffle tortellini down over some to-die-for roasted sweet potato soup.

After braving the cold and the fierce winds that define North Dakota winters, sometimes you want to eat like royalty to get some of that internal warmth back into your system. Bismarck's 40 Steak + Seafood might just be up to that steep task. There are surprisingly fresh and large seafood dishes, but the real business is in the barn, as always. If the 96-day dry-aged, King cut, cowboy ribeye steak for $65 doesn't thaw out your insides, then nothing will.

There's a running joke that a disproportionate amount of NASA astronauts come from Ohio because they're all looking for a way out of Ohio. But Orchids at Palm Court will bring all of them and probably some hungry alien visitors back for more. Diners can sample an out of this world Chef's Grand Course Tasting Menu for $120 per person, not including the Grand Wine pairing for an extra $60.

This is another case of a landlocked state known for its prime cuts of beef doing seafood dishes in a very big way. Tulsa's Prhyme is an upscale and updated interpretation of the classic American steakhouse serving old favorites in a vibrant presentation. A centerpiece of that mentality is their take on Surf 'N' Turf, a 30-ounce prime porterhouse steak topped with lobster, jumbo lump crab and shrimp, and sautéed in foie gras butter for $123.

Looking at the food at Portland's Castagna feels like looking at something in an art exhibit or a scientific display. The harsh white of the plates makes the food stand out in stark comparison and the deconstructed nature of the cuisine contributes to diners feeling like they're consuming an abstract art piece. You'll experience a barrage to the senses when you taste executive chef Justin Woodward's multi-course tasting menu for $165 per diner. Then dull those sense by splurging for the $85 wine pairing.

Philadelphia is known for its history and, sure enough, stepping the town's vaunted Vetri feels like taking a step into the past. Located in a picturesque townhouse that Ben Franklin could have had lunch in, Vetri boasts a cozy dining atmosphere with a menu of Italian-inspired comfort foods, like almond truffle tortellini and ginger gorgonzola-stuffed squash. The only dining option, however, is the prix fixe menu, which clocks in at $165 per customer.

Fresh-caught seafood and locally-produced vegetables are abound at Providence's enclave of fine dining, Gracie's. Open-minded diners will have the opportunity to dine on eclectic dishes, like wonderfully-dressed hen eggs and charred Spanish octopus, in a colorful nine-course prix fixe menu, which includes wine pairing, for $190.

Enjoying a stay in Charleston but want to enjoy something other than sweet tea? Look no further than the down-home charms of Halls Chophouse. Try not to fill up on jumbo shrimp cocktails and stuffed mushrooms before setting eyes on Red's Porterhouse—an entire cut of sirloin and tenderloin filet weighing 36 ounces that will set you back $115.

Delmonico Grill might just be the best antidote to a blustery South Dakota evening that money can buy. The Rapid City eatery takes Midwestern mainstays and injects them with some whimsy, like bison tartare or espresso-rubbed ribeye. The real star of the show is a dish named after the restaurant: It's a bone-in ribeye for two at $79.

A trip to Blackberry Farm won't just center you in serene Tennessee wilderness and backwoods charms you'll be surrounded by great food as well. Hotel guests at Blackberry Farm have several choices of casual eateries for breakfast and lunch, but the main attraction is The Barn. Serving up and shining a spotlight on locally-produced Appalachian Foothills cuisine is the centerpiece of the James Beard-winning multi-course menu for $250 per diner, which comes with selected wine pairings.

Houston-area Killen's Steakhouse is proof that everything truly is bigger in Texas. Just look at the restaurant's enormous cuts of brisket and pork. For those feeling absolutely adventurous in the Lone Star State, the 48-ounce Marble Ranch Ribeye Longbone is for diners with deep stomachs and deeper pockets. This no-holds-barred steak dinner costs $175, putting serious dents in your hopes to go back home with genuine leather cowboy boots.

We don't know where you'll work up a larger appetite: Carving down world-class mountains or powering through several Sundance screenings. Either way, Park City's Riverhorse on Main is more than ready to cater to both hungry crowds. Eager to dazzle, Riverhorse has smoldering appetizer towers of seafood and prime cuts along with a smattering of locally-sourced wild game meat. The dinner we have our hungry eyes on is the 20-ounce Bone-In Ribeye steak with portobello fritters and a red wine shallot butter sauce for $60.

Getting in from the cold calls for some comfort food and Guild Tavern has every base covered on that front. Dishes like poutine and braised pork shoulder just scream out to be shared fireside with good company, but you're actually going to need help with the $79 Prime Sirloin Steak for Two. You'll be glad you did.

Dining at the Inn at Little Washington is a genteel and refined experience. Being seated in front of verdant Virginia meadows sets the tone for a vibrant and humble meal of simple ingredients prepared with passion. Diners can feel the passion that goes into the carpaccio and chilled veal tongue that make up some of the $218 per person prix fixe menu, not including the $125 wine pairings.

Situated on the picturesque Lummi Island off the coast of northern Washington, The Willows Inn offers guests stunning views of serene Pacific Northwest waterfront and serves up some of the best and fresh fish, all caught right off the island. Dressed with greens and vegetables grown by the Inn's staff, the $195 Chef's Tasting Menu is as appropriate tour of Lummi Island as any.

Hungry visitors to West Virginia University will rejoice once they see the menu at Stefano's. Filled with Italian pasta classics and seafood entrees, you can't really go wrong at this Morgantown eatery. But the lavish foodie's attention will inevitably be drawn to is the $55 20-ounce Ribeye with the option to drop a massive 16-ounce South African lobster tail on top of that for another $90.

We all know there's great food in Green Bay, but this is more of a place where a cheese hat isn't as readily accepted (even if everyone there bleeds green and yellow). Republic Chophouse is a meat-lovers paradise that also finds itself catering to more delicate sensibilities as well. Artisanal cheese plates and chive garlic croquettes might fill you up happily, unless you want to take a Lambeau Leap into trying the 30-day aged 22-ounce Bone-In Ribeye for $79

There's doing it up and then there's doing it up: dining at one of America's most beautiful National Parks. The Jenny Lake Lodge, located in Grand Teton National Park, is a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Reservations are recommended because you are surrounded by scenic views of Grand Teton and the Rockie Moutains the prime view seating can and do fill up fast. See if you can focus on the $92 prix fixe menu and not the snowcapped peaks. After all this eating, you're going to want to read through the 50 Genius Weight-Loss Motivation Tricks.

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Worth the Splurge: America's Most-Expensive Steaks

It's no surprise that steakhouses charge incredible prices for their most-luxurious cuts, but most chefs and beef lovers will tell you that they're worth every dollar. Here are some of the best high-end steaks in the country — enjoy them medium rare.

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Photo By: MGM Resorts International

Photo By: Ilya's Photography

Prime One Twelve, Miami: Kobe Ribeye

Prime One Twelve claims to be the first modern steakhouse in the US &mdash a serious distinction &mdash but they're not all talk. Since 2004, they've served Miami dishes like Kobe beef dumplings that would lead to chin-scratching from old-school chophouse maitre d's. They continue the Kobe experimentation with hot dogs ($28) and hamburgers ($30), but the most-luxurious thing on the menu is certainly the Japanese A5 Kobe at $230 for a 35-ounce bone-in rib-eye. However if you'd like to save a few bucks (and put on a few extra pounds), go for the Porterhouse for two, at $125..

RPM Steak, Chicago: 42-Ounce Mishima Tomahawk

There are plenty of steak options in Chicago's River North neighborhood, but RPM sets the bar for quality and variety of beef. For traditional meat-and-potatoes types, it doesn't get much better than a 28-day prime dry-aged New York strip, cut by hand at Master Purveyors in the Bronx. But the most-luxurious cut on the menu is the monstrous 42-ounce Mishima Tomahawk. It features American wagyu raised in Tacoma, Washington it's brushed with beef butter to add even more intense fatty flavor, and will put a $215 hole in your bank account.

Cut, Beverly Hills: Tasting of New York Sirloin

Wolfgang Puck needs no introduction. His name is as synonymous with the growth of American fine dining, and the original location of his Cut steakhouse in the Beverly Wilshire may be one of the most-extravagant experiences in his empire of dozens of restaurants. The most expensive steak on the menu is naturally their pure-bred Japanese wagyu from the Miyazaki Prefecture at $26 an ounce, but for our money, the better value is their Tasting of New York Sirloin, still a hefty price tag at $140, featuring three preparations of sirloin, including a USDA Prime dry aged for 35 days, American Wagyu from Snake River Farms and a two-ounce slice of that $26-per-ounce Miyazaki beef.

Knife, Dallas: 240-Day Creekstone Rib Eye

John Tesar doesn't joke around when it comes to steaks. The three-time James Beard semifinalist teamed with Chef Adam Perry Lang to master a unique white mold dry-aging method that avoids the funk that can come with black mold and brings out a natural sweetness. As at most top steakhouses, you can find plenty of 24-day aged cuts here, but there's nowhere else you'll find anything quite like Knife's ridiculously marbled 240-day Creekstone rib eye ($80 per inch).

Barclay Prime, Philadelphia: Wagyu Ribeye

These days, people want to know where their food comes from, including their steaks. Plenty of steakhouses will tell you their meat supplier, but it's a rare restaurant knows its cows by name. Barclay Prime in Philadelphia can tell you the date of birth, name, family and weight of each cow. Naturally they offer plenty of prime dry-aged options, but the most-decadent of the lot are the wagyu options, available in an American eight-ounce filet from Snake River Farms, or two A5 Japanese wagyu offerings: a New York strip for $125 or ribeye for $195.

Jeffrey's of Austin, Texas: Center-Cut Tenderloin

Jeffrey's paved the way for fine dining in Austin back when it opened in 1975, and it received a facelift from one of the city's hippest restaurateurs in 2013. It's continuing the tradition of excellent steaks, with the help of a grill burning local live oak (plus a 1,200-degree broiler). The hulking cuts like rib eyes and porterhouse are always crowd-pleasers ($165), but there are few steaks more buttery than a masterfully prepared tenderloin. Save room for sides like grilled broccolini and wood-roasted leeks by opting for a petite 8-ounce center-cut tenderloin wagyu filet &mdash a bargain at $45 &mdash farmed just two hours away at Beeman Family Ranch in Yoakum. Or if you're feeling frugal, hit up the Monday Steak Frites Night at Jeffrey's sister restaurant, the neighboring Josephine House.

Prime at Bellagio: 12-Ounce Wagyu

The Bellagio fountains are one of Vegas' biggest attractions, but the star of the show at the Bellagio may just be the steak at Prime. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten conducts symphonies on the plate, with an appropriately Sin City-level price tag. Their A5-Certified Kobe Beef is available in filet, New York strip, and ribeye cuts, and costs anywhere from $360 for eight ounces to a jackpot-mandating $720 for a 12-ounce cut.

Chandlers, Boise, Idaho: Bull’s Eye Wagyu Ribeye

Seven nights a week the sounds of live jazz ring out in Chandlers' dining room, but you don't come to this downtown Boise, Idaho, spot just for saxophone solos. It's all about the steaks, which include the full meaty spectrum, from Chairman's Reserve to USDA Gold American Wagyu, which is a steal at $95 for a 12-ounce "Bull's Eye" ribeye. For the most-luxurious option, go for their certified Japanese Wagyu in five- or 10-ounce filets that run for triple-digit market prices.

Alexander's Steakhouse, San Francisco: Sanuki Wagyu

Wagyu is a huge trend in the beef industry, and Alexander's Steakhouse is one of the best places to try the luxurious Japanese meat. It offers wagyu raised in 10 different Japanese prefectures, each with a unique flavor profile, but the chef's current favorite is the Sanuki. The cows are raised on the island of Shodoshima in the Kagawa prefecture and finished with a diet of olives, which gives the meat a high acid content that transforms the fat into something closer to olive oil. Alexander's is one of the few steakhouses in the world to serve it, but with that rarity comes a luxe price tag: $225 for just 3 ounces.

Stripsteak Waikiki, Hawaii: 35-Day Dry-Aged Porterhouse for Two

Chef Michael Mina's Stripsteak pays homage to the Hawaiian Islands with dishes like sake-and-hamachi poke, but the main course is obviously the steak. For those looking for an ultimate bite, it doesn't get much better than the Kagoshima Prefecture A-5 Wagyu with red yuzukosho and ponzu, but at $32 an ounce it's a delicacy that's best enjoyed in small portions. Big appetites should go for the most-luxurious cut from the broiler, a 35-day dry-aged porterhouse steak for two ($185).

Bazaar Meat, Las Vegas: Kobe Ribeye

Spanish-American chef Jose Andres was recently named one of the 100 most-influential people in the world by Time Magazine and nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work, which doesn't make his steak taste any better, but you'll know the hefty price is going to a chef with a conscience. His Spanish-style bone-in ribeyes cooked over oak stand out from the rest of the Bazaar Meat menu and clock in at $98 per pound of Washugyu Angus from Lindsay Ranch, Oregon, but the most-luxurious cut is the A5 Kobe ribeye from Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, at $50 an ounce, cooked on an ishiyaki grilling stone with a side of mustard.

El Gaucho, Seattle: Chateaubriand for Two

El Gaucho has taken over the Northwest, with locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, and Portland, and coming soon to Vancouver, thanks to a steak program that focuses on the very best of American-sourced beef. You'll want to come thirsty thank to a top-notch wine list and the private select barrels of Maker&rsquos Mark that fuel one of the most-expensive Manhattans money can buy ($24), but don't forget the appetite &mdash their tableside-cooked Chateaubriand for two features a 20-ounce center cut of tenderloin for $135.

Epic Steak, San Francisco: Wagyu Flight

San Francisco's Epic Steak doesn't hold back. In-the-know diners kick off time there at the upstairs Quiver Bar with views of the Bay for the Holy Cow! Happy Hour, before heading down to get serious with some seriously decadent meat, in six-ounce portions. Their Wagyu Flight is the beef experience of a lifetime &mdash essentially a tour across Japanese prefectures to taste the diversity of their meticulously raised cattle. The Imperial Wagyu uses cows who've developed for at least 400 days, Miyazakigyu A5 has the tightest marbling of the lot, and their Snow Beef A5 comes from the northern-most point of Japan in Hokkaido, raised in freezing conditions which result in an extra-low melting point. It'll set you back $180, but it&rsquos a trip across Japan on a plate.

Old Homestead, New York City: A5+10 Japanese Wagyu

Every steakhouse seems to claim they have cuts of beef you won't find anywhere else, but few are on the same level as Old Homestead. Their "prized wagyu" comes from exclusive auctions that no other restaurant outside of Japan is permitted to attend, as bid on by the restaurant's owner who travels to Japan alongside an interpreter. The marbled beef looks almost pure white, with a grading beyond the A5+10, the highest possible score. A 12-ounce cut will run you $350, but in addition to the beef, you're also paying for history &mdash the restaurant was founded in the meatpacking district over 150 years ago in 1868.

Babbo, New York City: Grilled Rib Eye for Two

Proving that you don't need to go to a luxury steakhouse for a high-end chop experience, Babbo's 3-star New York Times review means you can trust anything that comes out of its kitchen. Beef lovers will want to go with the grilled rib eye for two ($140), served with an heirloom-tomato panzanella and luxurious aceto Manodori vinegar glaze.

Craftsteak, Las Vegas: Dry-Aged 22-Ounce T-Bone from Double R Ranch

Craftsteak is one of the best places within view of the Vegas strip to order. a strip steak. Both American and Japanese wagyu are offered here, but you can't go wrong with the dry-aged 22-ounce T-bone from Double R Ranch in Washington state.


The World's 12 Most Expensive Meals

The next time you complain about a $7 Diet Coke in a restaurant or the dreaded $25 Caesar salad, consider this—it could be much worse. It's not just that some restaurants create outrageous dishes to get attention (like a $1,000 ice cream sundae or a $666 "Douche Burger"), it's that there are now countless prix fixe menus around the world that require a second mortgage. Regardless of how otherworldly these meals are, here are some bills you're likely to choke on.

Opened in 2014 by Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero, Sublimotion is located in the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza and costs a staggering € 1700 (or a little more than $1,800) per person for the gastronomic privilege of dining there. (The price has actually fallen back to earth in the last couple years thanks to the strength of the dollar.) Each seating at Sublimotion—or "show" as they call it—accommodates 12 diners and features one tasting menu of about 15-20 courses. And it's a feast for the senses—combining food, art, and technology during a meal that takes approximately three hours. Stratospheric cost aside, the reviews have been quite good.

In 2011, when Masa was a mere $450 per person, New York Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton famously asked: "Is it worth it?" (Not exactly, he concluded.) Five years later, the prix fixe menu at chef Masa Tamayaka's high temple of sushi is now a savory $595 per person—not including drinks and tax. About the only upside to the high price of dinner is that starting March 1, Masa no longer accepts gratuities.

Courtesy of Guy Savoy Monnaie de Paris

When a three-Michelin-starred chef names his restaurant Monnaie de Paris (after the French mint that's now its home), you know it's going to cost you bank. In 2015, Guy Savoy moved his signature Parisian restaurant to the iconic 18th century building in the 6th Arrondissement—with windows overlooking the Louvre and the Pont Neuf. And while diners can go a la carte and spend about $250 a person for dinner, that's not why you go to a three-star restaurant, is it? The restaurant offers several prix fixe options, but the ne plus ultra is an 18-course "Innovations and Inspirations" menu that includes roasted lobster and artichoke soup with black truffle. The cost? €490 (or around $525). But for those who want to spend a little less, Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace offers an Innovation-Inspiration menu for $375 that comes with a view of the Eiffel Tower—on the Las Vegas Strip.

Chef Kunio Tokuoka helms the Kyoto outpost of Kitcho (known as Arashiyama) as part of his birthright—both his father and grandfather were the chefs here before him. There are several prix fixe menus to choose from, but the most expensive is 54,000 yen (or $475) a person. It's at least a 10-course meal, including two separate sashimi sections as well as grilled and steamed courses. And for those who are even more adventurous eaters, Kitcho has an omakase that is market priced, no doubt higher.

Diners and philosophers can debate chicken vs. egg all they want, but this much is certain—long before there was Sublimotion in Ibiza, there was Ultraviolet in Shanghai. Created by French chef Paul Pairet in 2012 (from a concept he had been working on since 1996), Ultraviolet is a multi-sensory dining experience that includes a light show, course-themed music, and diners' names projected on the table. (All of which is served up at Sublimotion.) The main difference between the two restaurants, which both offer 20-course meals, is that Ultraviolet's prix fixe costs considerably less—3000 RMB per person (or about $450).

Chef Joël Robuchon at the 2016 Grand Vermeil award ceremony, rewarding the best chefs of Paris. . [+] (FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Las Vegas doesn't exactly shy away from excess so $425 for the Degustation Menu at Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand isn't particularly shocking. For that price, diners have their choice of many small plates—including caramelized quail, seared duck foie gras and sweetbread. And let's face it, a few good hands of blackjack can pay for dinner.

Courtesy of Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée

In February, Alain Ducasse reclaimed the coveted three Michelin stars for his restaurant at the Plaza Athénée in Paris, which reopened in 2014. But fine dining comes with a price. The prix fixe "Jardin-Marin" menu—which includes three half-courses, cheese and dessert, but not drinks—costs € 390 (or about $425). Ducasse's restaurant at Le Meurice in Paris offers its own pre-fixe for the same amount. And for those on a budget, both restaurants offer a set lunch menu for a moins cher $225.

(Photo by Maurice ROUGEMONT/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Chef Alain Passard first received three Michelin stars in 1996 for L'Arpège in Paris' 7th Arrondissement. Twenty years later, Michelin is still worthy of three stars in the Michelin galaxy. Passard's prix Degustation Menu—which includes the restaurant's legendary "hot-cold egg"—runs € 370 (or $400). But for those who want to sample the vegetarian prix fixe, for which Passard is also renowned, the price is a more down-to-earth $315.

(Photograph: Creative Commons/Flicker/Case Simmons)

Considering that chef Hiro Urasawa trained under Masa Tamayaka, it's no wonder his eponymous Los Angeles restaurant is considered the West Coast version of New York's Masa. But while Masa charges $595 for its lavish omakase, Urasawa costs a mere $395 (drinks not included) for its 30-course version. And getting a reservation may not be easy—the Rodeo Drive restaurant only has 10 seats.

Anne-Sophie Pic of Maison Pic in France. (FRANCK FIFE/AFP/GettyImages)

In 2007, Anne-Sophie Pic became only the fourth woman in the world to earn three Michelin stars for her cooking at Maison Pic in Valence, France. Although she has no formal training, the 46-year-old Pic comes from a legendary line of chefs—both her father, Jacques, and grandfather, André, earned three stars for Maison Pic. Such culinary pedigree doesn't come cheap—a pre-fixe dinner at Maison Pic costs € 320 (or $350)—but at least you can make a weekend of it: the restaurant is part of the Relais & Chateau hotel of the same name.

A dish at Per Se. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Starwood Preferred Guest)

When Thomas Keller's Per Se opened in 2004, the price of a nine-course prix fixe dinner was a healthy $150. Today, that number is $325 per person (service included). But according to a wickedly mean New York Times review by Pete Wells earlier this year, it's not worth the time or money. As Wells wrote, " Per Se is among the worst food deals in New York." For those who still want to splurge on Keller's cooking, there is always his French Laundry in Northern California, where the prix fixe only $310.

Courtesy of Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

This 18-seat restaurant is one of the hardest tables to book in New York. Why? Being the only three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Brooklyn, for one thing. But mainly it's chef César Ramirez' 15-course tasting menu, which changes on a daily basis and is inspired by Japanese and French cuisine. There is also an impressive 3,000-bottle wine cellar. The price for dining there—$306. But at least the restaurant is part of the new no-tipping movement—which means that when you finish dining at Brooklyn Fare you'll still have subway fare.

I cover all things luxury lifestyle—with a focus on food, spirits, and travel. I'm the former digital director of the Haute Media Group. I've also done time at The New

I cover all things luxury lifestyle—with a focus on food, spirits, and travel. I'm the former digital director of the Haute Media Group. I've also done time at The New York Observer, Metropolis magazine, Lifestyle Mirror, and Tatler Philippines. And I have very deep thoughts about life's finer things—like red meat, brown liquor, and green M&Ms. Follow me on Instagram: @kalindahao


10 Most Expensive Meals from Michelin Starred Restaurants

What are the most expensive meals from Michelin-starred restaurants? The multi-sensory experience and 20-course meal priced $1,761 SubliMotion dominates our 2021 ranking, costing almost twice the price of the second most expensive meal in our list. Here&rsquos a quick look:

While most citizens would normally be looking for the most affordable, and great tasting meals on the market, some would be willing to pay a pretty penny for unforgettable dining experiences. With Michelin-starred restaurants serving as a premier indicator for the best of the best, gourmands can take a glance at the most expensive meals from Michelin-starred restaurants in 2021 to determine the top meals that doesn&rsquot skimp on exquisite ingredients and luxurious decors for the ultimate dining experience.

If looking to dine at a restaurant that serves exceptionally made dishes, taking a quick look at the Michelin Guide will help you choose where to book your next dinner reservation. Having a list of hundreds of restaurants around the globe, the Michelin Guide has a simple restaurant star rating system to help gourmands find the best tasting meals: one star for &ldquoa very good restaurant in its category,&rdquo two stars for places that are &ldquoworth a detour&rdquo due to &ldquoexcellent cooking,&rdquo and three stars for those that offer an &ldquoexceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.&rdquo

Thousands of restaurants vie for a Michelin star thanks to the prestige it gives businesses. And when they win the coveted ranking, they can&rsquot rest on their laurels as they must competitively and consistently maintain the quality of meals served unless they want to have their Michelin star removed. Michelin reviewers judge restaurants on a yearly basis, removing stars or awarding them to deserving restaurants. To ensure fair, objective reviews, they act as regular customers to avoid receiving special treatment.

Due to the reputation of Michelin ratings, many travel far and wide to eat at these vetted restaurants. If you&rsquore looking to travel and spend money for an ultimate food trip, it&rsquos best to travel to either Japan or France, as they hold 28 and 27 Michelin 3-star restaurants respectively , according to a 2017 report by Statista. These countries are followed by the United States (14), Germany (11), China (10), Italy (9), Spain, and UK (5).

Contrary to popular opinion, granting of Michelin stars is not affected by the luxurious decor and setting of a restaurant, as they solely focus on the quality of food and a restaurant&rsquos consistency. Nonetheless, the Michelin Guide also displays spoon and forks to indicate the comfort and quality of the dining experience, and they also award a bib gourmand status for restaurants that offer &ldquoexceptionally good food at moderate prices&rdquo based on local economic standards. Criteria for their main Michelin-star rating include the quality of ingredients used, rich flavor and cooking techniques, value for money, consistency, and chef personality in the dining experience. This is why there are affordable Michelin-starred restaurants such as a one Michelin-starred stall in a Singapore hawker center that offers a SGD $4-priced chicken rice dish. However, considering that quality ingredients largely influence the rating system as well as bringing out the flavor of food, extremely expensive restaurants largely dominate the two and three star bracket.

While the Michelin Guide is looked upon by many individuals and restaurants, it has its fair share of controversy. Some allegations include French restaurant bias and chef favoritism. A few chefs and restaurant owners also expressed regret in receiving a Michelin star and denounced their distinction after their award caused unsurmountable expectations from customers dining at their place. Meanwhile, there are those that have criticized the Michelin Guide for its &ldquoabsurd&rdquo standards for restaurants and found it difficult to maintain food costs to remain profitable. Who would have thought back then that a tire company founded back in 1889 would have such a huge impact on businesses?

Because of the high requirements to stay on top of the competition, some restaurants strive to provide the best meals available through high-priced meals that only deep pockets can afford. With this, it&rsquos worth looking at the top 10 most expensive meals from Michelin-starred restaurants.

10. The French Laundry (Yountville, California) &ndash $310 for a twelve-course tasting meal

In The French Laundry, each dish is served in a small enough amount to get your taste buds riled up for more. The French Laundry aims to replicate this sensation and make you experience something new and unique in each of the twelve-course tasting meal by never using the same ingredient throughout. The menu also changes daily to based on the season as well as the freshest ingredients available on the market, thus, making each visit worthwhile. Expect various bread selections, season-specific salads, fresh fish courses, and an assortment of desserts, among others.

Three Michelin-starred restaurant The French Laundry is considered by many as one of the world&rsquos best restaurants in the 1990&rsquos and early 2000&rsquos, winning awards left and right for several years.

This three Michelin-starred restaurant is ran by Thomas Keller, a reputed American chef who was considered one of the most important chefs in the 1990&rsquos. He is also known for the 1994 debuted restaurant The French Laundry as it was considered one of the world&rsquos best restaurant for a certain period of time. He also a three Michelin star with Per Se, while his other restaurant Bouchon holds a one star. The French Laundry underwent a $10 million-worth renovation in 2017 with a large wine cellar, 9000 square feet landscaping, feminine kitchen design with vaulted ceilings and higher countertops, wrap-around windows to peer in the kitchen, and windows overlooking a garden.

9. Per Se &ndash $340 for a nine-course tasting meal (New York City)

Leading to the entrance of Per Se is the iconic blue door of The French Laundry sandwiched by two equally sized contemporary glass panels. However, the blue door doesn&rsquot actually open. The glass panels are actually the main doors. This playfulness hints at the unique dining experience that awaits customers of Per Se.

Run by Thomas Keller and bearing similarities to his established restaurant The French Laundry, Per Se seeks to make each of the nine-course meal bring an exciting, unique, and playful twist by ensuring no ingredient is repeated throughout the course. This applies whether you pick the chef&rsquos tasting menu or vegetable tasting menu that both costs $340, a laudable feat considering they change their menu daily based on ingredient availability in the market.

Located in New York City, Per Se has a simple but refined contemporary interior with a gorgeous view of Columbus Circle and Central Park. Its upscale and relaxing atmosphere is said to make each meal feel timelessly soothing, regardless if you&rsquore delighting on ice cream and house chocolates or eating away at sea scallops and wagyu beef.

8. Restaurant de l&rsquoHotel de Ville Crissier (Crissier, Switzerland) &ndash $400 for an 11-course meal

With a large roster of 25 chefs headed by reputed chef Franck Giovanni, Restaurant de l&rsquoHotel de Ville Crissier serves authentic French dishes that match the season. This means that you can experience a unique course five times a year. As of writing, served on the 11-course menu priced 390 CHF or $400 includes scallops from the Somme Bay, Duck Foie Gras powdered with pistachios, and grilled suckling lamb, among others. Be prepared to spend much more if tempted by their 40-page wine list.

Restaurant de l&rsquoHotel de Ville Crissier has a great reputation, holding several Michelin-starred chefs in its history as well as the prestigious &ldquobest restaurant in the world&rdquo distinction from The List and 2021 best restaurant of the year from Gault & Millau.

7. Le Meurice Alain Du Casse (Paris, France) &ndash &euro380 for a three-course tasting menu or &euro580 to include wine pairings

Le Meurice by Alain Du Casse, a classy three Michelin-starred restaurant that has a luxurious French 18th century decor, is highly recommended if looking to spend big bucks on on fine dining in an elegant and romantic place with your loved ones. Its three-course, artifice-free tasting menu includes three dishes, cheeses, and dessert.

6. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee (Paris, France)- &euro395 for a three half-course meal

A posh, crystal filled dining room will make you feel like a king as you delight yourself with Alain Ducasse&rsquos trilogy largely composing of fish, vegetables, and cereals. This three Michelin-starred restaurant features a posh decor with thousands of suspended crystals. There&rsquos a &euro 395 Jardin-Marin menu and &euro 210 Naturalite menu, both of which does not include drinks. Similar to Alain Du Casse&rsquos Le Muerice, the &euro 395 jardin marin dish includes three half dishes, cheeses, and dessert.

5. Guy Savoy (Paris, France) &ndash &euro415 for a 12-course meal

If you&rsquore looking for a sumptuous three Michelin-starred French restaurant that has a fine, Michelin-vetted &ldquoexcellent standard&rdquo wine list, Guy Savoy is worthy of a detour. The set menu comes with a concasse of raw oysters, green & blue lobsters, caviar with smoked sabayon, a four-week duck breast that was aged and marinated with spices, and much more.

Three Michelin-star chef and owner of the titular restaurant, Savoy, has amassed multiple Michelin stars in the past. He&rsquos also the mentor of superstar and Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay.

4. Masa (New York City) &ndash $595

Run by the titular three-Michelin starred sushi chef Masa Takayama, this New York City situated restaurant serves fresh ingredients sourced from Japan for authentic-tasting meals. You&rsquoll definitely pay more than the advertised $595 per head as this fee doesn&rsquot include tax or drinks.

If you&rsquore looking for something specific to eat, you&rsquoll have to twink twice before going to Masa because there&rsquos no menu. Masa is an Omakase-style restaurant, which means the chef decides what to serve on a daily basis. Though you can definitely expect dishes with high-quality ingredients such as fresh fish and Kobe beef.

3. Kitcho Arashiyama (Kyoto, Japan) &ndash $646

Dining at Kitcho Arashiyama is a treat for both the eyes and your palate. This three Michelin-starred Kitcho Arashiyama will greet you with a serene, elegant scenery of nature housed inside a tea ceremony house-styled restaurant. This great scenery is complemented by the freshest and seasonally-selected Japanese food that not only tastes well, but are also a pleasant to look at due to their eye-catching colorful layout and plating.

2. Ultraviolet (Shanghai, China) &ndash 4000RMB or $900 dollars

Similar to the most expensive Michelin-starred restaurant, Ultraviolet greatly enhances the way you perceive and taste your food through a multi-sensory experience, complete with HD panels, thumping multi-channel speakers, always-changing neon lights to complement or contrast your meal, and much more. For about $900, you will experience a 22-course journey from a three-Michelin starred restaurant that touts an Avant-garde set menu set in an exclusive place limited to ten seats.The walls are painted bright white to better project and control the intricate lighting technology in immersing you on your 22-course journey.

1. SubliMotion (Ibiza, Spain) &ndash $1,761 for a 20-course meal per head (Ibiza, Spain)

Do you fancy eating at a Spanish avant-garde meal while immersing yourself in a place that stimulates all your five senses? If so, this restaurant is the right choice for you. Topping our most expensive meals from Michelin-starred restaurants is SubliMotion. For a whopping $1,761 per head, you can experience an immersive multi-sensory eating experience at SubliMotion located at the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza, Spain. It comes complete with a few 2-star Michelin chefs, musical directors, fashion designers, DJ, illustrators, screenwriters, choreographers, and other essential staff you&rsquod see in a big-budget production. This three-hour production is designed to tickle all of your five senses throughout a 20-course journey.

SubliMotion is run by two-star Michelin chef Paco Roncero, and his expertise in molecular gastronomy greatly complements the restaurant&rsquos multi-sensory experience. In 2017, Roncero partnered with fellow Michelin-starred chefs, thus making it an eight Michelin-starred food experience all in all.


Gourmet Pub Grub: The 40 Best Bars in America for Food Lovers

Leave those basic burgers and no-frills fries behind at these watering holes where you can slake your thirst without sacrificing your appetite.

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Haute Watering Holes

Getting to sip top tipples doesn’t preclude having a gastronomic experience — at least not at the country’s top 40 bars for food lovers. These bars, pubs, lounges and speakeasies could have phoned it in when it came to the food menu, but instead they sought top talents to produce dishes that go far beyond cheese and charcuterie or a gourmet burger. Think sardines a la plancha, eye-catching okonomiyaki and seafood towers overflowing with the ocean’s bounty. These watering holes are known first and foremost for their drinks, but maybe they shouldn’t be.

Photo of Matador Bar’s avocado pizza courtesy of The Miami Beach EDITION

The Alembic Bar (San Francisco)

Known for its flattering lighting and its throwback cocktails that come with stories, this Haight Street watering hole deserves more love for what&rsquos flying out of the kitchen. While the menu changes with the chef&rsquos whims, there are two dishes that would incite a riot if they were removed from the repertoire: jerk-spiced duck hearts served with pickled pineapple and thyme salt, and bone marrow smeared with caper gremolata and garlic confit. Other highlights include house ricotta, Berkshire pork fritters and a Meyer lemon parfait for dessert. A backyard garden supplies the bartenders and cooks with the herbs they need to turn out inspired drinks and plates.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Dalton

Leyenda (New York City)

Most flock to Leyenda Brooklyn Cocteleria to sip a drink from renowned cocktail maven Ivy Mix. The Latin American-inspired Brooklyn bar turns out drinks like the Say Anything, with jalapeno-infused tequila, cachaca, Aperol, watermelon, lime, mint and salt. It tastes like vacation. So does the food. Chef Sue Torres&rsquo churrasco skirt steak is memorable long after the check is settled. So, too, are her panuchos &mdash fried tortillas topped with coconut-habanero shrimp, refried beans and avocado. Mix jokes that she "accidentally opened a restaurant," but the kitchen and bar are equal parts awesome.

Photo courtesy of Hanna Lee

Drink (Boston)

Drink&rsquos cocktail game changed Fort Point when it won Tales of the Cocktail World&rsquos Best Cocktail Bar award in 2013. Maybe it even changed Boston. The cocktails, like the food, rely on farms for the freshest ingredients, and the bar team and kitchen staff work together seamlessly. While it&rsquos impossible to make a stop at Drink without dipping thick-cut fries into malt vinegar aioli, in-the-know visitors save room for steak tartare, savory doughnut holes, the foie gras frankfurter and the ice cream sandwich of the day. Every visit feels like you received a coveted invitation to a cocktail party.

Photo courtesy of Wayne Chinnock

Vanguard Bar (Milwaukee)

Opening a food-lover&rsquos bar doesn&rsquot mean you need polished utensils and cloth napkins. Vanguard Bar, which makes its name on a list of more than 100 brown spirits, is also a sausage emporium. The top-selling sausage is the duck BLT, which comes wearing shredded lettuce, hollandaise aioli and bacon, but the bar is also home to the original Milwaukee-style bratwurst topped with cheese curds, cheddar cheese and Cheez Whiz. The 26 sausages in total tempt patrons with exotic combinations like octopus chorizo and, for vegetarians, Soy Meets World. Each link comes with a recommended beer pairing.

Photo courtesy of Vanguard Bar

Pub Royale (Chicago)

The first thing patrons check when they enter Pub Royale is the draft list at the back of the India-inspired pub. That&rsquos where a board displays a swath of low-bitterness beers and ciders because they pair best with the spicy Indian food coming out of the kitchen. Cocktails, too &mdash like an Iced Royale Chai, with whiskey, coconut, chai, cinnamon and black pepper &mdash can tame the heat. One of the most-popular dishes, Gobi Manchurian, is the ideal bar snack, with crispy cauliflower, sweet and spicy Manchurian sauce, sesame and cashews. Other favorites include the buttered paneer, India hot chicken, mussels and naan, and salt cod samosas.

Photo courtesy of Martha Williams

Trou Normand (San Francisco)

San Francisco&rsquos Trou Normand is known equally for meticulously crafted cocktails and in-house charcuterie. The drinks let French brandies and spirits take the lead, most notably Armagnac and Calvados. Trou Normand, after all, refers to the French tradition of taking a small drink between courses to cleanse the palate. The owners feel the rich, fatty flavors of cured meats stand up well to distilled spirits, hence the 40 different types of charcuterie on offer, from the familiar mortadella, bresaola and 'nduja to exotic salame like rabbit with preserved orange, cumin and cara cara. Order charcuterie by the board for the best value, and also consider the roast pork off the dinner menu.

Photo courtesy of Colin Price

Nightcap (Austin)

The cocktails are fun to order at Nightcap because of their clever names like Tequila Mockingbird and Jalapeno Business, but the real magic lies in the fact that you can order a next-level dessert with your drinks. Take the doughnut and foie gras, for example: a ricotta beignet, lemon, pickled blueberry, foie buttercream and granola. Nightcap has plenty to entice you on the savory side, too. The roasted chicken breast with potato dauphine, black garlic, maitake mushroom and truffle jus has already emerged a winner at the still-new spot.

Photo courtesy of Kristyn Miller Photo

Cure (New Orleans)

NOLA is smitten with Cure&rsquos happy hour, which stretches seven days a week and includes 12 classic cocktails priced at $6 each. The bar&rsquos generosity during peak hours isn&rsquot the only ride worth buying tickets for on Freret Street: The seasonal cocktails are fiercely original, and the small plates are so fresh they don&rsquot feel like bar food. Chef Jason Klutts says he can&rsquot get enough of his own steak tartare, but patrons are also smitten with the pimento cheese and the crunchy, oven-fried chicken served with arugula salad.

Photo courtesy of Cure

Eat the Rich (Washington, D.C.)

Ice-cold Virginia oysters are the yin to hot hushpuppies&rsquo yang at Eat the Rich. The punk-rock bar from James Beard nominee Derek Brown is so unpretentious that the cocktails come in pitchers, oyster cages serve as chandeliers, and bartenders seem to instantly know your name. They serve Rappahannock River Oysters &mdash some of the region&rsquos best bivalves &mdash plus a slate of seafood dishes like trout hash, a fried fluke sandwich, prawn mac and cheese, and "redneck laundry," or caviar served with Route 11 potato chips. Wash it all down with the Buck Hunter, a pitcher of bourbon, house ginger syrup, lemon, soda and angostura bitters.

Photo courtesy of Scott Suchman

Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen (Denver)

Euclid Hall borrowed drinking foods from around the world to complement its lengthy, idiosyncratic beer list (divided by types of math to indicate drinking difficulty level). That&rsquos why you&rsquoll find pad Thai pig ears served alongside Bavarian schnitzel and Canadian poutine. Where the kitchen really shines, though, is sausages. From short-rib kielbasa to boudin noir, there&rsquos something for every sip. What you&rsquoll notice is that chefs and bartenders share one counter during service &mdash a sign that the food and drink operations are as linked as their sausage.

Photo courtesy of Chad Chisholm

Armoury D.E. (Dallas)

Armoury D.E. graciously keeps its kitchen firing until 2 a.m., which means haute Hungarian late-night eats for the crowd in Deep Ellum, an artsy neighborhood in East Dallas. Gulyas, a Hungarian goulash soup, goes great with the extensive set of double-distilled fruit brandies and strong house cocktails. There are some popular picks that don&rsquot carry a Hungarian accent, like the short-rib burger made even better by pecan-smoked bacon and the charred pulpo featuring octopus that simmers in white wine and Spanish spices before seeing the grill.

Photo courtesy of Armoury D.E.

Standby (Detroit)

The kitchen and the bar play like old friends at Standby. That&rsquos why the barbecue sauce is spiked with mezcal, olives are marinated in gin, and carrots get a boost from brandy. The cocktail newcomer found on the Belt has a substantial food menu with hearty entrees that lean a little Renaissance Festival, such as milk-braised lamb, Moroccan steak and lacquered turkey leg. If you&rsquore just grazing, there&rsquos horchata and shrimp cakes, duck-fat-fried almonds and an American take on the classic Japanese street food takoyaki that folds in hot sauce, feta and fennel pollen.

Photo courtesy of Sal Rodriguez

Interurban (Portland, Ore.)

North Portland&rsquos Interurban humbly describes itself as a neighborhood drinking den, but its enviable whiskey list and command of craft cocktail recipes add up to more, especially considering that the kitchen cranks out memorable snacks for $16 or less. The boar burger satisfies on a carnal level, with Los Roast Hatch chiles, fried onions, queso botanero, pickled jalapenos and aioli. Jonny Henry does all his curing and sausage-making in-house, which doesn&rsquot go unnoticed on the Publican&rsquos Board, boasting rabbit rillettes, venison-cherry terrine and more. There&rsquos also a corn dog, for those who fondly recall going to a state fair.

Photo courtesy of Interurban

Matador Bar (Miami)

The menu at Matador Bar is in the hands of recent Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford, who also serves as the executive chef de cuisine at Matador Room next door. To further the pedigree, this one-two punch of bar and restaurant is a creation of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, so you know the bar bites will go way beyond average. Instead, plates pop with Floridian appeal. The raw shaved Florida red snapper comes with a zesty green-chile dressing and crunchy rice, and the peekytoe crab and corn fritter is golden-brown enough to go with a cold beer. If you&rsquore looking for a dish worthy of snapping a pic, there&rsquos the avocado pizza, whose namesake vegetable fans out like a rose.

Photo courtesy of The Miami Beach EDITION

Bar Goto (New York City)

Bar Goto channels Tokyo with the vibes of both an izakaya and a Japanese-style whiskey bar. You know the drinks sing, since they come from Pegu Club alum Kenta Goto, but nothing is lost in translation when it comes to the food, either. The okonomiyaki &mdash a savory pancake that comes in four flavors &mdash is a work of art, and the miso wings bring waves of umami. It helps that Goto&rsquos mother had an okonomiyaki shop in Chiba, Japan, where he chopped the cabbage and made the dough when he was growing up. For an outside-the-box pairing, try gobo fries made out of burdock root with a plum Sazerac.

Photo courtesy of Paul Wagtouicz

Holeman and Finch Public House (Atlanta)

The Holeman and Finch burger is as beloved in Atlanta as the Braves, and it pops up on national best burger lists on the regular. But there&rsquos much more to Linton Hopkins&rsquo menu: The chef is committed to using the whole animal, with dishes like Buffalo chicken skins, veal brains with black butter and toast, and clay-pot onions with kale and lamb testicles acting as proof. Even the cocktails feel chef-driven. The Chrysanthemum goes down smooth, with housemade chamomile liqueur, bittersweet vermouth, blanc vermouth, absinthe and thyme.

Photo courtesy of Bart Sasso

Portland Hunt + Alpine Club (Portland, Maine)

Portland was a city best known for beer until the Portland Hunt + Alpine opened in 2013 with cocktails that drew national attention. Riffs on classic cocktails &mdash plus some originals &mdash continue to attract imbibers, as does the Scandinavian comfort food worthy of an evening at The Beard House. Try the Norseman cocktail &mdash an aquavit old fashioned that's been fat-washed with brown butter and garnished with apple slices &mdash alongside the bar&rsquos signature Smorgasbord, which overflows with meat, fish, local cheese, steamed clams and breads. Other must-try items from the small but mighty kitchen include gravlax sandwiches, popcorn spiked with green-chile powder and a butterscotch budino with whipped creme fraiche.

Photo courtesy of Meredith Perdue

The NoMad Bar (New York City)

This Super Bowl of hotel bars has all the finesse and flavor of its sister restaurant, the acclaimed NoMad, but the bar setting enables guests to kick back a bit. Cocktails may have been the intended main draw, but the food gets equal buzz. Bring a small team to take down the chicken pot pie made NoMad-worthy with black truffle and foie gras (using the restaurant&rsquos renowned chicken), or try the burger that yields return visits because of its Pat LaFreida patty that incorporates dry-aged beef, bone marrow and suet (delectable fat). There are also three types of tartare, a refreshing lobster roll and even a hot dog wrapped in bacon with black truffle and celery.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Michael Chin

Latitude 29 (New Orleans)

The godfather of tiki drinks, Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, is behind Latitude 29, so bendy straws and other Instagram-worthy garnishes are the lei of the land. Asian eats have always been the natural pairing for fresh and fruity tiki drinks, but this French Quarter bar serves food inspired by the islands of Hawaii instead of Cantonese flavors more typical of mid-century tiki bars. The best example is a take on loco moco featuring a hamburger patty, coconut rice and savory mushroom gravy. Other stunners include cross-cut pork ribs, a mahi mahi banh mi sandwich and a reimagined take on bacon-wrapped rumaki. Latitude 29 cuts no corners in the kitchen: Almost all bread is baked in-house, and microgreens are sourced from a nearby farm in Tremé.

Photo courtesy of Latitude 29

Libertine (Indianapolis)

Libertine takes the humble deviled eggs and elevates them into something for foodies. Order them and marvel when three varieties arrive: classic smoked trout with Kentucky spoonfish caviar and beet pickled with horseradish. That&rsquos just a nibble of Libertine&rsquos bar bites, designed to complement a sophisticated slate of cocktails named for personalities such as Andy Warhol and David Bowie. One cocktail comes in a teacup, forming a juxtaposition with the far less dainty food, including chicken wings that are cooked sous vide in bacon fat for four hours before they hit the fryer. There&rsquos also a cornmeal waffle with fried chicken livers and barbecued mushrooms, for those with an appetite.

Photo courtesy of Libertine

The Partisan (Washington, D.C.)

The drink menus are dizzying at The Partisan. It&rsquos hard to know where to begin: with a daring wine program that showcases Lambrusco and other eccentric sips a beer menu full of sours or a spirits selection that&rsquos hard to rival. Pick your poison, then grab a sushi-menu-like checklist to order housemade charcuterie that&rsquos serious about using the whole animal. There are absinthe-lime pork rillettes, Thai basil bresaola and a pickled half smoke, to name a few choices. Follow the meat board up with a seared pork trotter with bacon kraut, bacon-wrapped partridge or a gaucho-style lamb shoulder sure to satisfy caveman cravings.

Photo courtesy of Marissa Bialecki

Canon Whiskey & Bitters Emporium (Seattle)

Bring your spectacles if you plan to peruse Canon&rsquos award-winning, 160-page list of spirits, dubbed the Captain&rsquos List. Chances are that if you&rsquove heard of a spirit, the bar has it available. But there are more attractions at Canon beyond the library of spirits and 40 well-crafted cocktails. The food menu, which changes every two months with the seasons, is full of whimsical selections like the angostura-bourbon nuts and the signature bone-marrow luge that can be a vehicle for sherry, mezcal or whiskey. Other options include the pork belly bun with apple slaw and the pork loin with carrot romesco.

Photo courtesy of Canon

Band of Bohemia (Chicago)

With much of the ownership&rsquos lineage hailing from famed, Michelin-starred Chicago icon Alinea, expectations are high at Band of Bohemia. The culinary brewhouse is renowned for slightly bonkers brews like guava-pink peppercorn and cocoa nib-fig-bay rum black ale. The food menu complements the draft list by recommending small plates to pair with each quirky pour. A spunky banana curry with roasted cauliflower, goat-milk caramel, peanuts and eggplant goes with the lime-leaf-lemongrass-jasmine beer, for example. Meat lovers will be especially satisfied with grilled steaks from humane purveyor Jefferson Township.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Rubio

Employees Only (New York City)

Try to find a bucket list of Big Apple bars that doesn&rsquot include Employees Only. The West Village titan shares responsibility for birthing the craft cocktail movement that&rsquos cresting today, but by no means should you go there for drinks only. The carefully sourced menu was designed with cocktail pairings in mind, such as the Provencal, a take on a gin martini using herbes-de-Provence-infused vermouth it begs for a dozen fresh East Coast oysters. Want something cooked? Try bone marrow poppers, bacon-wrapped New Zealand lamb chops or elk loin with Yukon potatoes, oyster mushrooms, Tuscan kale and charred onion.

Photo courtesy of Emilie Baltz

American Sardine Bar (Philadelphia)

Most swim to American Sardine Bar for the small but well-curated craft beer list that touches on almost every style of suds. But the name of the bar is a clue that there&rsquos some food as well, namely sardines prepared four ways: sauteed, grilled, a la plancha or fried. (If you count sardines on a sandwich, the number rounds up to five.) The small but flavorful fish go great with a cold saison. Additional dishes include the spaghetti sandwich and the occasional "Pittsburgh cheesesteak" that pays homage to the Steel City&rsquos beloved Primanti Bros.

Photo courtesy of American Sardine Bar

Butcher and the Rye (Pittsburgh)

Yes, there are wacky murals, antler light fixtures and taxidermy, but this bar that nods at lodge culture is big-city refined when it comes to food and libations. Known for cocktails, an 800-bottle whiskey list and an attractive beer selection, this Cultural District saloon is also the first Pittsburgh bar to be nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for outstanding bar program since the category was created. Richard DeShantz&rsquos food menu is designed to pair with whiskey, including dishes like Dirty Pasta, with ground duck, strozzapreti, sage, brandy and Pecorino Romano. The Sunday Gravy, with tomatoes, ricotta and lamb neck, is just as savory.

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Florentine

Lion’s Share (San Diego)

In a craft-beer-soaked city fueled by fish tacos, it&rsquos a nice change of pace to visit a bar that serves broody cocktails with game meat, like the bar&rsquos beloved antelope sliders. They&rsquore adorned with red-onion marmalade, smoked Gouda cheese and grain-mustard aioli, and make a great first act. Another popular dish that goes great with the cocktails at Lion&rsquos Share is the rabbit hand pie held together by a duck fat pie crust. Chef Mark Bolton recommends trying a rye-based cocktail called De la Louisianne to pair with his elk loin steak served with caramelized Brussels sprouts, Honeycrisp apples, smoked onion puree, grits and a Cabernet reduction.

Photo courtesy of Lion&rsquos Share

Julep (Houston)

Julep serves everything you&rsquod want at your dream Derby Day party: pimento cheese, johnnycakes, oysters, hushpuppies and drinks that define the South. Alba Huerta stirs a mean mint julep, Sazerac and Ramos gin fizz, for example. Those with deep pockets and discerning palates can even order a Pappy Van Winkle bourbon tasting. When it comes to food, the seafood tower is the top pick, arriving with lobster, crab, oysters, scallops, shrimp and fino sherry to sip on. Smoked-fish deviled eggs make a nice start to a meal in the gray-and-white-hued cocktail bar.

Photo courtesy of Julep

The Rabbit Hole (Minneapolis)

This husband-and-wife-owned bar &mdash modeled after a Korean pojangmacha &mdash has a sense of humor. Just look at Kat and Thomas Kim&rsquos best-selling Harold & Kumar Poutine, with house-cut fries, pork curry gravy, kimchi, caramelized onion, Parmesan, cheddar, soft-poached egg and chipotle aioli. That monster dish, plus the Rice Rice Baby (kimchi-fried rice with bacon and pickled jalapenos), preps stomachs for the bar&rsquos inventive, stiff drinks. The honey pig saam, double-fried chicken wings and go go noodles are also worth the calories.

Photo courtesy of Julia Merle-Smith

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour (Phoenix)

No stranger to "best bars" lists, Bitter & Twisted boasts a serious setting (its 1920s-era Luhrs City Center address) and has an even more serious cocktail program. More than a few minutes are required to flip through the drink menu. The food, on the other hand, can only be described as fun. They&rsquore in on the ramen burger craze, for starters: Crispy ramen noodles form the bun. Traditionalists can try the dumpling burger, whose pork and beef patty is made even better by the addition of dumpling sauce. Be sure to start every meal with Hurricane Popcorn blitzed with Asian spices, then end with booze-infused "high spirited" cupcakes.

Photo courtesy of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

Tørst (New York City)

The spunky beer list at Tørst is biblical in size, with rare finds that practically emit a bat signal for beer geeks to come hither. Though suds are the main attraction at the sister bar to the Michelin-starred restaurant Luksus, Chef Daniel Burns&rsquo bar snacks span a fine take on Welsh rarebit, kedgeree (smoked whitefish, curry and soft-boiled egg) and a duck confit sandwich with spicy cabbage and pickled cucumber. It&rsquos imperative that guests order a dish that comes with the bar&rsquos housemade, traditional Danish rye bread, such as the charcuterie plate. Those who visit on Sundays will get a traditional United Kingdom-inspired Sunday roast.

Photo courtesy of Signe Birck

The Rum Line, Open Seasonally (Miami)

The Rum Line stocks 165 varieties of its namesake sugarcane spirit, which skilled bartenders stir into punches, daiquiris, jungle birds and even Inca Kola. To match the tropical vibe, the South Beach bar&rsquos kitchen prepares beachy bites like oyster ceviche, salmon tacos and jerked chicken lollipops. It&rsquos not uncommon to see groups sharing both a volcano bowl cocktail and a raw-bar seafood tower during an afternoon that easily stretches into evening because you&rsquore on island time at The Rum Line.

Photo courtesy of The Rum Line

Black Market Liquor Bar (Los Angeles)

If a speakeasy and a gastropub swirled their DNA together, the offspring would be Black Market Liquor Bar. The Studio City spot&rsquos list of high-proof "fancy drinks" includes the notorious "Fade to Black" with 103-proof bourbon, Clément Sirop de Canne and walnut bitters. That much liquor requires a cushion of comfort food like barbecued short rib, ricotta gnudi, oxtail tagliatelle and spicy Korean chicken wings. Before you call it a night, cash in on the deep-fried Fluffernutter that screams after-school snack.

Photo courtesy of Black Market Liquor Bar

The Townsend (Austin)

Despite its cavernous setting inside the historic Townsend-Thompson Building, this Austin cocktail authority is laid-back. As proof, two of their signature dishes are a no-muss burger and a clever North African-spiced take on hot chicken served with semolina flatbread and red sauce. Both are from from Chef Justin Huffman, whose resume includes local greats like Uchi and Contigo. The cocktail menu is long enough that you could try a different drink every day for two weeks straight, but come for the food, too.

Photo courtesy of Ruben Morales

Taste (St. Louis)

The bar team at Taste knows all the tricks trending today. They&rsquore barrel-aging, stirring in sherry, incorporating vegetables and herbs, and reaching for the spice drawer. The shareable small and large plates that make up the food menu are seasonal and slightly simpler. The best-seller, after all, is the bacon-fat-fried cornbread, an indulgence that goes with any cocktail on the menu. The pork burger and brick chicken are equally popular with regulars. They also serve mussels in a fragrant coconut-milk bath, jagerwurst with all the trimmings typical of Germany, and churros accompanied by velvety almond panna cotta.

Photo courtesy of Tuan Lee

The Gin Joint (Charleston, S.C.)

Pick your potent potable at Charleston&rsquos jewel box of a cocktail bar and then don&rsquot pass Go without collecting the house popcorn, which smacks of pad Thai. It&rsquos one of several housemade salty snacks that act like an accelerant for bitter elixirs like the Tweed Ring, with amaro, Fernet, Aperol, grapefruit liqueur, lime and bitters. Another is beef jerky so good that Edmund&rsquos Oast now uses the recipe. More-substantial eats from MariElena Raya include clams and chorizo served with grilled ciabatta for dipping, and pork buns piquant with hoisin sauce. Find that second stomach for dessert, because the Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar is an experience, thanks to the inclusion of popping candy.

Photo courtesy of The Gin Joint

ABV (San Francisco)

With a name that stands for alcohol by volume &mdash the measurement of how boozy a drink is &mdash cocktails are the clear emphasis at this Mission District bar. Trendy spirits like Japanese whiskey and mezcal lure the masses, but most patrons also come hungry. The kitchen stuffs olives with Hudson Valley foie gras mousse, for starters. That isn&rsquot to say that there are frills: All of ABV&rsquos food is meant to be eaten with your hands, including their best-selling beef tongue Reuben, Mapo sloppy joe and falafel lamb dog.

Photo courtesy of ABV

Lobo Fell’s Point (Baltimore)

Hang out in Lobo for a few hours and you&rsquoll start to understand why Baltimore&rsquos nickname is Charm City. The drinks incorporate iconic local ingredients, most notably so the Spring Shandy with cult classic Natty Boh beer, fresh-squeezed grapefruit and cantaloupe. While most patrons visit for the original and classic cocktails, the food encourages customers to make a meal out of small plates. There&rsquos a cheeky cheeseburger tartare that tops rare filet with micro celery, shaved cheddar, pickled tomatoes and sesame seeds, for example. There&rsquos also the smoked pork loin sandwich, which lures those in the know with Binkert&rsquos smoked pork loin, provolone, roasted garlic spread and broccoli rabe. A full charcuterie program and raw bar are also available.

Photo courtesy of Lobo Fell&rsquos Point

Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar (Boston)

Boston&rsquos brown-liquor aficionados make their way to Citizen for 220 whiskeys, including rare finds like a dozen proprietary single-cask bottles created just for the bar. Oyster options rotate daily, but the kitchen also embraces pork in a big way. Guests can order a whole-roasted pig dinner that feeds 10 or more people. "You learn a lot about the guests who choose to eat the eyeballs," says the bar&rsquos owner, David DuBois. If that&rsquos too primal, another top pick is the house-smoked linguica with cheddar grits, rainbow chard and bacon jam.


Signature Recipes from America's Famous Restaurants

Impress guests with famous recipes made in your very own kitchen.

Looking for the recipe for a world-famous dish? We've gathered a few of America's most classic restaurants' signature dishes that you can make at home!Want to make restaurant-quality food with fewer calories and less fat? Try these restaurant recipe makeovers.

Location: New Orleans, LA
Serving Guests Since: 1880. The current owners purchased it in 1969.
Fun Fact: Top chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse launched their careers at Commander's Palace, now headed by executive chef Tory McPhail.
Signature Dish: Bread Pudding Soufflé with Whiskey Sauce
Why It's Legendary: From the picture you can surely see why this marriage of bread pudding and soufflé is out of this world!

spago pizza smoked salmon caviar

inn at little washington filet rare tuna foie gras

In the 1950's, the only pie at the legendary Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach was apple pie. "But a visiting food critic from Chicago mistakenly mixed Joe's up with another restaurant and praised the Key Lime Pie," wrote Geoffrey Tomb of the Miami Herald after an interview with Jo Ann, the creator. Requests came flooding in, and Bass's father told her to develop a recipe. After a few modifications from new chefs at the restaurant, here is today's signature pie.

Location: New York City
Serving Guests Since: 1959
Fun Fact: Built the same year as the restaurant, the Guggenheim Museum cost a mere $1.5 million. The total cost of The Four Seasons? A whopping $4.5 million &mdash and this was in the '50s!
Signature Dish: Crabmeat Cakes, Crisp Beets, and Sweet Potatoes
Why It's Legendary: The crab cakes are formed using the cannelle technique (a three-sided shape), which is not only striking

architecturally, but unique.

Location: New York City
Serving Guests Since: 1974
Fun Fact: In 2008, radio shock jock Howard Stern and longtime girlfriend Beth Ostrofsky married at the classic restaurant.
Signature Dish: Pasta Primavera
Why It's Legendary: On a family vacation in 1974, Le Cirque's proprietor, Sirio Maccioni, was faced with empty cupboards. He did what any good home cook would: He threw together what he did have. From that, the world-famous Pasta Primavera was born.


3 Jean-Georges

Jean-Georges is another restaurant under the direction of a French chef who owns numerous restaurants around the world. They offer numerous tasting menus depending upon the type of cuisine you are looking for and how much you plan to eat.

This restaurant does require a formal dress code and men to have jackets in order to enter which gives the restaurant an expensive atmosphere.

It's unclear what each of these menus cost, but you can be certain it will put more than a dent in your wallet.