Courtesy Conrad Hotels
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
Situated more than 16 feet below sea level in the Indian Ocean, this glass-enclosed restaurant is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the palette. The spot is only big enough to fit 14 guests, who take in 180-degree views of coral reefs and sharks while eating spicy sea snails and veal tenderloin from the $320 menu.
Photo by Pierre Monetta
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris
The dining room of Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in Plaza Athénée is practically a work of art, where diners can sit within stainless steel “shells” below chandeliers made of thousands of crystals. The menu focuses on healthy, environmentally friendly food, like lentils with caviar and vegetables from the Versailles gardens. Expect to pay between $170 and $228 for an entrée and $52 for dessert.
T Chin via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Per Se, New York City
Even with its $325-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.
SubliMotion, Ibiza, Spain
Prepare to pick your jaw up off the floor: The 12-seat restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel charges a whopping €1,500 (currently $1,757) 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– September 30), the immersive eatery has a menu that changes annually. In the past, diners have indulged in touches like personalized (edible) entrance tickets, a shell showing off various types of seafood cooked in their own juices, and a DIY salad that guests pluck from a farm table-scape—all synced to a different virtual backdrop projected onto the walls.
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 €320 ($375) Menu Essential proves why. One bite during your meal might encompass Mediterranean rouget in a saffron broth, while the next might feature deer marinated in sake lees.
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 28,870 JPY ($261) to 34,650 JPY ($313) if you’re ordering from the prix fixe menu.
Courtesy Le Pré Catelan
Hôtel de Ville, Crissier, Switzerland
Late chef Benoît and his wife Brigitte Violier have earned three Michelin stars for their sumptuous French-inflected cuisine. The most decadent menu option clocks in at 11 courses (390 CHF, or about $400) and treats diners to dishes like filet of lamb and muscles with saffron. That price only goes up when you add a bottle from the restaurant’s 40-page wine list.
Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China
Paul Pairet’s immersive restaurant errs on the side of high-tech haute cuisine: Ten diners per night gather around one table, where 20 courses are served alongside a multi-sensory atmosphere of music, video, scents, and simulations. As if that didn’t make the 4000 RMB (about $598) experience intriguing enough, the dishes rotate frequently to ensure guests can’t be spoiled by anything they read online.
Courtesy Restaurant Le Meurice
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 six-course seasonal tasting menu, which currently includes confit duck foie gras and Dorset crab, runs about £140 ($180) per person for dinner—and that’s on the low end, sans wine pairings.
Courtesy Maison Pic
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 €380 ($445), you’ll taste three specialties (perhaps the langoustines or ‘Ikejime’ line-caught sea bass), plus a selection of cheeses and desserts.
Two complementary principles reign at Chef Masa Takayama’s eponymous restaurant—simplicity and the essential flavor of each ingredient. The dishes on the $595 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.
Sampling a meal at this Japanese restaurant means forking over around 43,200 JPY ($390) to indulge in kaiseki, a style of dining many believe to be the epitome of carefully conceived and executed Japanese cuisine. Third-generation chef Kunio Tokuoka delivers an elegant series of plates showcasing seasonal, local ingredients, such as abalone and tofu with sea urchin, which guests savor in their own private tatami room.
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 (261 CHF, or $267) that range from goose liver with goat cheese and sweet maize to seared trout with tarragon sauce, beets, and pea purée.
Courtesy Adrian Michael/Creative Commons
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 JPY, or about $244) features dishes like grilled duck foie gras, and marrow pan fried celtuce with yuba and black truffle vinaigrette.
Michel Bras Toya
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: Duck foie gras goes for €100 (about $117), lobster with French caviar asks €145 ($170), and a tart-like lemon meringue dessert is €40 ($47).