Prepare to pick your jaw up off the floor: The 12-seat restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel property charges a whopping €1,500 (currently $1,593.06) a head for its 20-course dinner. Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero’s ultra-sensory experience marries food, art, and technology. Open only during the island’s summer season (June 1–October 1), the immersive eatery has a menu that changes annually. In the past, diners indulged in touches like personalized (edible) entrance tickets, a shell showing off various types of seafood cooked in their own juices, a DIY salad that guests pluck from farm tablescape—all synced to a different virtual backdrop projected onto the walls.
Photo by Scott Wright
Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China
Paul Pairet’s immersive eatery also errs on the side of high-tech haute cuisine: Ten diners per night gather around one table, where 20 courses are accompanied by a multi-sensory atmosphere of music, video, scents, and simulations. As if that didn’t make the 4000 RMB (about $625) experience intriguing enough, the dishes rotate frequently to ensure guests can’t be spoiled by anything they read online. – by Alamy
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London
Currently led by executive chef Jocelyn Herland, the contemporary French restaurant commands a sizable fee thanks to its founders and Michelin three-star rating. A seven-course seasonal tasting menu, which currently includes fillet of cross-continental beef and black truffle braised celeriac, runs about $269 (£180) per person for dinner—and that’s on the low end, sans wine pairings.
Courtesy Restaurant Le Meurice
Restaurant Le Meurice, Paris
Another of Alain Ducasse’s properties, this Versailles-inspired dining room oozes opulence, from the antique mirrors and crystal chandeliers to the five-course Collection menu. For $401 (€380), you’ll taste three specialties (perhaps the lobster with Jerusalem artichokes or Albufera poultry with white truffles), plus a selection of cheeses and desserts.
Courtesy Maison Pic
Maison Pic, Drôme, France
Chef Anne-Sophie Pic holds the distinction of being one of six female chefs in the world to run a Michelin three-star kitchen, and her inventive nine-course $338 (€320) Menu Essential proves why. One bite in the culinary journey might encompass Mediterranean rouget’ in a saffron broth, while the next might feature deer marinated in sake lees.
Masa, New York City
Two complementary principles reign at Chef Masa Takayama’s eponymous restaurant—simplicity and the essential flavor of each ingredient. The dishes on the $450 tasting menu may be austere in presentation, but the lack of crazy flourishes is part of the appeal, especially when it comes to the parade of exotic seafood.
Per Se, New York City
Even with its $310-a-head price tag, this temple of haute cuisine can be a tough reservation to score. Still, it’s worth the hassle (and cost) to experience Thomas Keller’s signature “oysters and pearls,” followed by a succession of eight impeccable dishes in which no ingredient is repeated.
T Chin via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Luxuriously marbled wagyu—specifically, the premium Sanda variety—at this subdued venue draws meat lovers from around the world. The sticker shock can range from $284 (28,870 JPY) to $341 (34,650 JPY) if you’re ordering from the prix fixe menu.
Sampling a meal at this Japanese restaurant means forking over around $437 (54,000 JPY) to indulge in kaiseki, a style of dining many believe to be the epitome of carefully conceived and executed Japanese fare. Third-generation chef Kunio Tokuoka delivers an elegant series of plates showcasing seasonal, local ingredients, such as abalone and butterfish, which guests savor in their own private tatami room.
Hôtel de Ville, Crissier, Switzerland
Husband-and-wife chefs Benoît and Brigitte Violier have earned three Michelin stars for their sumptuous French-inflected cuisine. The most decadent menu option clocks in at 11 courses (390 Swiss francs, or about $380) and treats diners to dishes like watercress velouté with crab and Oscietra caviar and foie gras served three ways.
Courtesy Le Pré Catelan
Le Pré Catelan, Paris
Most of the places on this list are here thanks to their prix fixe-only rates, but this spot has earned the distinction through its à la carte options: Mushrooms prepared with fig leaves and lardo goes for €100 (about $106), lobster l’Americaine with preserved turnips and lobster jelly asks €145 (about $154), and a tart-like lemon meringue dessert is €40 ($42).
Michel Bras Toya
Michel Bras Toya, Lake Toya, Japan
It’s a tough call as to which is more stunning—the sweeping panoramic views of the volcanic caldera lake or the two-Michelin star food coming out of the kitchen. The latest version of the top-tier “discovery and nature” menu (27,000 yen or about $219) tempts with duck filet marinated in Indonesian long pepper and poached king crab in a Hojicha green tea broth.
Courtesy Adrian Michael/Creative Commons
Schloss Schauenstein, Furstenau, Switzerland
You know you’re in for a swanky meal when the setting is an 18th-century castle in the Swiss Alps. Using a focused set of ingredients, head chef Andreas Caminada crafts a series of six three-Michelin- star–worthy plates (249 CHF, or $244) that range from goose liver with goat cheese and sweet maize to seared trout with tarragon sauce, beets, and pea purée.
I was introduced to traveling as a young girl by my mother. Although we never traveled outside of California, those experiences kept me longing for more travel experiences and to share them with my children. I am fortunate to have taken my mother and children on a 10 day vacation to Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas in addition to other destinations as well. Now that my children are grown, I am determined to see and learn from as many countries as I can. I love group travel and am committed to planning and attending many fun and educational trips with members of this club.
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