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Jan 30, 2012 10:08 AM

25 Most Expensive Restaurants in the U.S.

According to this recent article:

1. French Laundry
2. Per Se
3. Michael Mina
4. Alinea
5. Charlie Trotters
6. Melisse
7. Tru
8. Le Nomades
9. Daniel
10. Everest
11. The Inn at Little Washington
12. Robert's Steakhouse
13. Manresa
14. Le Bernardin
15. Moto
16. Addison Restaurant
17. The Kitchen
18. Corton
19. Coi
20. La Grenouille
21. Baume
22. Del Posto
23. Komi
24. Cyrus
25. Eleven Madison Park

Most of the restaurants seem to be in New York City. Chicago, and San Francisco Bay Area with some curious omissions: Masa (New York), Urasawa, Jean Georges. Also, while the "average check" methodology sounds flawed. I wonder how these averages compare with other upscale restaurants in Europe and Asia.

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  1. Masa (NYC) is pricier than Per Se. How could they have missed that?

    They've also missed some relatively new restaurants that probably weren't around when they did their comparisons, such as RN74, Michael Mina & Rajat Parr's Burgundy-centric place in San Francisco.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      I can't find Masa at all in's database. Try a search -- e.g.

      I think the data are based on credit card receipts... and maybe Masa doesn't show up on credit card receipts as "Masa" but as a holding company's name or something similar?

      1. re: drongo

        Only other thing that could bring Masa down is if they pooled the receipts from Masa and Bar Masa together.

        1. re: drongo

          Also. the average check at Jean Georges is listed at $123, which would only make sense if they included the much lower priced lunch menu.

        2. I beg to differ!!!
          Any high end Chinese/Cantonese restaurants in SF, LA or NYC can easily beat the afore-mentioned list hands down if one orders a la carte Sun dried Japanese Abalone, Premium sharksfin, Fishmaw, sea cucumbers and birds nest! A single 4 oz Japanese abalone can run you a couple of thousand dollars! and thats just for starters!!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Charles Yu

            I don't think any Chinese restaurant in the states has an average cheque cost of nearly a thousand dollars... For every order of abalone and shark fun there area thousand orders of less expensive dim sum or Yangzhou fried rice

            1. re: Blueicus

              You certainly could reach that price point in NYC, SF or LA with a fancy menu for a special event at a fine Chinese restaurant. Qingdao Sea Cucumbers (up to US$2000 an ounce!) for example brought in just for the meal!

              1. re: scoopG

                "Qingdao Sea Cucumbers (up to US$2000 an ounce!) for example brought in just for the meal!"

                But that seems like a special request and not something that is available from a set menu. I believe the article is basing it on an "average" dining experience.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  Well, like truffles from Italy or France they too could easily be hand carried into the USA at any time. I think Charles Yu's point is still valid. With all these lists comes a very heavy bias towards European or Euro-American fare.

                  1. re: scoopG

                    i think thats because its AVERAGE plate. generally there are alot of orders for cheap americanized asian in any resto, like kung pao and orange chicken, which probably skews the results way down

          2. What a joke.

            Melisse isn't even the most expensive restaurant in Los Angeles.

            13 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              which one is? please don't tell me it's providence as I'm taking my girlfriend there in a few weeks.

              1. re: chezwhitey

                Urasawa, Bazaar, Capo, CUT, Patina, Providence and maybe a few others would be as or more expensive -- depending on what you order.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Urasawa is the most expensive by some margin, but Melisse probably is number two. It is very, very hard to walk out of there for less than about $450 for two. You can eat well enough at the others for $100 or so less.

                  1. re: condiment

                    The Hump at SM airport can deliver quite a hefty bill as well.

                    1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                      The Hump was shut down a couple of years ago after they were caught serving whale meat.

                    2. re: condiment

                      How does one "eat well enough" at CUT for $100 or less for two? Just one app usually runs you between 15-20 and even the cheapest cut of beef is around 35.

                      If one did not do the tasting menus at Melisse, you *can* get out of Melisse for about 250 for two.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        well, wouldnt that mean that an app and an entree each would put you right around 100?

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          $100 less = $350. Perfectly doable at Cut. $250 will do just fine if you stay away from the Japanese beef. With tax, tip and a bottom-of-the-list wine, you ain't getting out of Melisse for anywhere near that - the cheapest menu (there is no a la carte) is $105, and practically everything worth getting carries a supplement.

                          1. re: condiment

                            at what point does a meal just not become worth that kind of price?

                            besides a place like french laundry, alinea, or per se, i just cant imagine over 200 dollars for a meal being worth it (in the US)

                            1. re: mattstolz

                              The high prices are driven, in part, by the quality of ingredients, and also by corporate expense accounts. While I wouldn't hesitate to book Per Se for a business dinner, I'd probably think twice if I had to pay for it out of my own pocket.

                              1. re: mattstolz

                                Alinea is a pretty fair value for what you get. Yes, it's an insanely expensive place to eat if all you want is a nice dinner, but it's an experience that can't be compared to that with which most people are familiar.

                                The food price averages $10 per course and while some are small bites they're often very intricate and use ingredients that most people can't regularly access. And despite their size you will be full after your dinner.

                                Most steakhouse restaurants end up at about $100 per person, so for a little more than twice the price you get a memorable evening as opposed to a really nice steak.

                                1. re: ferret

                                  yeah, thats why alinea was on my list of places i'd actually pay that kind of price for. but the steakhouse for over 100 bucks per person i will never understand.

                                  1. re: mattstolz

                                    It's the $12 creamed spinach that puts everyone over the top.

                  2. Locations might have been helpful. because we have a very well-reviewed restaurant here in Boulder called The Kitchen but they can't possibly be referring to it, it's a nice restaurant but not very expensive.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LurkerDan

                      The Kitchen is in Sacramento, California. Click on the link below for locations (too lazy to type them).


                      1. re: Riverman500

                        Thanks. Guess I'll stick with my The Kitchen, which is a fabulous restaurant and a lot cheaper!

                    2. Actually Jack `N The Box is the most expensive restaurant even if you have terrific health insurance.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Leper

                        I guess this is where Rachel Ray & her $40.00 a day is worth looking at for most of us