Most Exclusive Restaurants in the World
by Jo Keohane
Dreaming of pushing the boat out a little? Want to indulge in something a little bit special and extravagant? Are you ready to wave a meal ticket to luxury-ville/ripoff-ville (delete as appropriate) defiantly in the face of the pesky credit crunch.
Well, you better watch out, because there’s one heck of a waiting list!
Enjoy On’s guide to the most exclusive restaurants in the world – and you thought it was tough to book a seat in Anthony’s!
French Laundry – California
The legendary Napa Valley restaurant, and head chef Thomas Keller, have rarely been out of those ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ lists since the venue opened in 1994. On offer each day are two 9 course tasting menus (one veggie, one meat).
Star dishes include Oysters and Pearls and Fuji Apple Sorbet. Expect to pay £157 per head.
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
+1 707 944 2380
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – London
Even though he’s been left conspicuously off the latest best restaurants list, Ramsay’s Royal Hospital Road location remains a hot, hot ticket. The restaurant has only 13 tables (just five that seat two) and takes bookings exactly two months in advance. Sightings of the big man himself are rare, however.
Star dishes include Pigeon with Foie Gras and Cornish Lamb.
8 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HP – 020 7352 4441
“The tasting menu is around £100 and runs to 13 courses”
El Bulli – Spain
The fact that Ferran Adrià’s restaurant is only open for 6 months of the year makes this an even hotter ticket than usual. Waiting lists are legendary, with normal punters looking at a year or more wait for a table. The tasting menus are famous for their ‘ugggh’ as well as ‘oohh’ appeal as food here is experimental with a capital E – this was the man who started the whole ‘molecular gastronomy’ trend after all. The tasting menu changes day-to-day with 30 courses being served in 3 ‘acts’. There is no physical menu; each dish is explained as it is served. Expect to pay around £150.
El Bulli – 00 34 9721 50457 – elbulli.com
Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athenee – Paris
Ducasse is the undisputed king of the Paris restaurant scene, with 3 amazing places under his belt. Most impressive of these is the restaurant in the grand Plaza Athenee Hotel where you can easily drop £150 a head. First you have to get a table though and as the restaurant only sits 50 and is closed for a month in the summer, you could be in for a long wait.
Star dish is the Volaille de Bresse (a specially reared chicken from Burgundy).
Tetsuya’s – Sydney
Widely regarded as one, if not the, best restaurant in Australia, Japanese native Tetsuya moved to Sydney aged 22 and opened his first restaurant less than two years later. Specialising in spankingly fresh fish, the tasting menu is around £100 per head and runs to 13 courses.
The signature dishes including Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout with kombu, daikon and fennel.
529 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
+61 2 9267 2900
“Think about booking at least 6 months ahead”
Turandot – Moscow
Not surprisingly the most expensive city in the world also contains one of the most OTT restaurants. The total cost of building and kitting out Turandot is rumoured to be around £30 million pounds. The interior is a riot of gilding, porcelain and mirrors and is a fave hangout for Russian mafia, celebs and super models. The menu is an eclectic mix of Asian and Japanese flavours and high-end ingredients.
Expect to pay around £90 per person for star dishes such as Jasmine Tea Smoked Pork.
26 Tverskaya Boulevard, Building 5, Moscow, 103050
The Fat Duck – Bray
Heston Blumenthal’s iconic restaurant has spent quite a few years either occupying or nudging the top spot in the world restaurant awards and has put Britain firmly back on the global map as a fine dining destination.
On offer each day are a tasting menu of 13 courses for £130 a head. Think about booking at least 6 months ahead to secure a coveted table. Cult menu items include Snail Porridge and Egg and Bacon Ice-Cream
The Fat Duck, High Street, Bray, Berkshire, SL6 2AQ, England
+44 (0)1628 580333
Joel Robuchon at MGM – Las Vegas
The old image of Vegas as a den of gambling, vice and all-you-can-eat buffets has been steadily worn down by an influx of Michelin-starred chefs. French chef Joël Robuchon opened his first U.S. restaurant at MGM Grand and it remains one of the most coveted tables in town (as well as the only 3 Michelin-starred one).
The 16-course tasting menu will set you back £235, so a good excuse to hit the tables before dinner. Star dish is La Langoustine, a truffled langoustine ravioli with chopped cabbage.
“A mecca of sushi and sashimi”
Aragawa – Tokyo
Specialising in one perfect dish – steak – this hidden gem is buried in Tokyo’s Shinbashi district. There’s no website, it’s notoriously difficult to find and reservations are really hard to come by. But it’s the go-to destination for Wagyu beef aficionados.
Surprisingly there’s not much offered here in way of plate dressing. Steaks are expertly cooked then served simply with mustard and pepper. For this privilege customers pay an average of £240 a head but remember this is Japan where it’s not uncommon for meals to top the £500 a head mark.
Masa – New York
A New York mecca of sushi and sashimi with only 26 seats. Head chef Masa Takayama flies its top-notch fish and shellfish directly from the famous Tokyo fish markets daily, making the chef’s Omakase tasting menu price of £260 per head seem almost justifiable. Just don’t mention the words ‘carbon footprint’.
Star dishes include Risotto with sea urchins and truffles.
10 Columbus Circle, 401 New York 10019
+1 (212) 823-9808