Sure, you can go to Masa and drop $1,160 on dinner for two, but why stop there when you can order a frittata, pizza, or ice cream sundae for nearly that much each? Or, even better, why not just go all in by burning through $3.95 million on a strawberry dessert? Restaurants from New York and Las Vegas to Sri Lanka and beyond compete to create the world's most outrageously expensive dishes — some certified, some not, but certainly all over-the-top. Some use gold leaf and foie gras to jack up the prices, while others go for pricey cuts of meat or rare wines to accompany. Plus, of course, there are the diamond engagement specials.
Eater reached out to restaurants and bars around the world who are known for their high-rolling ways to find out the story behind their whale-friendly dishes — and see how many of these they actually sell. Here now, 18 of the most expensive dishes and drinks in the world — and in the interest of not having entirely steaks and burgers on the list, some honorable mentions, too:
18. DougieDog, Vancouver — $100 Dragon Dog
When DougieDog owner Dougie Luv set out to make the world's most expensive hot dog, he didn't want to use some of the ingredients restaurants traditionally use to kick up their prices such as caviar. But, as he tells Eater, he sure didn't mind high-end meat. So this $100 foot-long bratwurst is infused with hundred-year-old Louis XIII cognac and topped with fresh lobster, picante sauce and Kobe beef seared in olive and truffle oil. Luv says he has sold 783 of these dogs since creating them last year and while he usually requests 12 hours notice the restaurant does keep three on hand just in case.
[Photos: Barclay Prime]
17. Barclay Prime, Philadelphia — $100 cheesesteak
Stephen Starr's Barclay Prime dresses up the Philadelphia classic cheesesteak with wage ribeye cut down with foie gras and topped with truffled homemade fontina cheese on a sesame roll. It also comes with a glass of Dom Perignon 2000 and comes out to the tune of $100. According to a rep, people order the cheesesteak pretty often and usually in groups. There's no need to order it in advance.
16. Kai Mayfair, London — $170 Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup
The Guinness World Record for the world's most expensive soup belongs to London's Kai Mayfair, though some changes have been made since that record was logged in 2005. While the dish once contained shark's fin, an employee tells Eater that particular (and controversial) ingredient has been replaced with noodles to go along with the abalone, Japanese flower mushroom, sea cucumber, dried scallops, chicken, huan ham, pork and ginseng. It must be ordered with five days' notice and sells for £108 ($170).
[Photo: Bar Masa, Las Vegas]
15. Bar Masa, New York City — $240 Masa toro with caviar
It's pretty easy to rack up quite a bill at New York City's Bar Masa, but it'll go a lot quicker with just one order of the Masa toro with caviar roll. This is an eight-piece roll that will set you back $240 because, well, fatty tuna and caviar are not cheap. It's also on the menu at Bar Masa's Vegas outpost, and is served with a crispy, buttery brioche.
[Photo: The Old Homestead Steakhouse]
14. The Old Homestead Steakhouse, NYC — $350 steak
For those whales who love to drop a lot of money of expensive cuts of meat, August 2012 brought some very good news. That was when the US Department of Agriculture lifted its import ban on Japanese beef, meaning the great return of Wagyu beef — for those who can afford it. Old Homestead Steakhouse's New York City location offers the A5 Kobe served NY Strip-style in a 12-ounce portion for $350. They recommend to reserve the Wagyu steak in advance as apparently "steaks fly off the grill as quickly as the beef arrives" at the restaurant. According to a rep, on any given night, they sell as many as 25 Wagyu steaks.
Decadence D'Or [Photo: Sweet Surrender], Cupcakes [Photo: Foursquare]
13. Sweet Surrender, Las Vegas — $750 cupcake
Chef Olivier Dubreuil of the Venetian and Palazzo created the Decadence D'Or cupcake for Sweet Surrender at the Palazzo in Vegas three years ago, and it seems to be selling just fine. This $750 cupcake is created from chocolate made from Venezuela's rare Porcelana Criollo bean, topped with Tahitian Gold Vanilla Caviar and edible gold flakes. It also includes Louis XIII de Remy Martin Cognac and comes in a hand blown sugar Fleur-de-Lis. An employee explains to Eater that the cupcake requires 48 hours advance notice.
Serendipity 3 [Photo: Facebook]
12. Serendipity 3, New York City — $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae
Perhaps the most well known of all these dishes is the $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae at New York's Serendipity 3. First created in 2004 for the restaurant's 50th anniversary, the Golden Opulence involves three scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla beans, topped in 23K edible gold leaf, sprinkled with a couple of expensive and rare chocolates? plus there's the candied fruits, gold dragets, chocolate truffles and bowl of caviar. It's sold in a Baccarat Harcourt goblet with an 18K gold spoon, naturally. About 200 of these have been sold in the nine years since it was created, according to a rep, who adds that there are two more reservations coming up on Valentine's Day. These sundaes require 48 hour advance reservation because the ice cream and caviar are flown in.
11. Nino's Bellissima, New York City — $1,000 pizza
Nino's Bellissima is home of one of the world's most oft-cited expensive dishes — a pizza that costs $1,000. As a manager explains to Eater, the pizza comes topped with four types of caviar plus some lobster tail for good measure. Order it a few days in advance.
10. Norma's, New York City — $1,000 Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata
There are two versions of Norma's frittata for high-rollers: there's a $100 frittata with only one ounce of caviar on it or the $1,000 frittata topped with 10 ounces of caviar. The latter is officially the world's most expensive omelette, according to the Guinness Book of Records, and also involves one pound of lobster covered in egg on a bed of fried potatoes. According to a rep, the restaurant at New York's Le Parker Meridien sells about 10-12 of the $1,000 Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittatas throughout the course of a year — and that same number per month for the $100 dish. There's no need to order in advance.
9. Margo's, Malta —$2,420 White truffle and gold pizza
An employee who answered the phone at Margo's Malta tells Eater that the pizzeria needs one week advance notice to make its white truffle and gold pizza — only available during truffle season from October through May. As its menu indicates, the truffles are flown in from Piemonte and its minimum price is €1,800 ($2,420), depending on the price of white truffles. The pizza is topped with organic water buffalo mozzarella and 24K gold leaf. As the menu reads, "This is not just a pizza, this is a sign from God telling us how great She is."
8. Fleur, Las Vegas — $5,000 FleurBurger
Part of chef Hubert Keller's inspiration for the eye-popping $5,000 Fleur Burger 5000 at his Las Vegas restaurant Fleur was borne out of competition: In 2005, Keller noticed Daniel Boulud had a burger that was $100 and wanted to beat it. So this Kobe beef burger comes topped with seared foie gras and truffles on a brioche truffle bun. But what really jacks up the price is a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus wine and the two crystal stemware glasses that the restaurant delivers to the home of anyone who orders the burger. So far, a rep tells Eater the restaurant has sold about 26 Fleur Burger 5000s and there is no need to order in advance.
The Trilogy ring. [Photo: Gleneagles]
7. The Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland —$5,102 Trilogy
This luxury hotel in Scotland teamed up with in-house jewelers Mappin & Webb a couple of years back on a line of cocktails named The Luxury Collection. The Trilogy comes in first at £3,250 ($5,102) and is comprised of Stolichnaya Elite vodka with a twist of lemon and an 18K white gold ring as a garnish with a baguette and pave diamonds. Meanwhile, for £2,750 ($4,317), The Romance involves No3 gin, maraschino liqueur, Parfait Amour and lemon juice to go with its white gold diamond-encrusted pendant from Florence. Gleneagles sells about one or two a year, per a rep.
[Photo: Salvatore Calabrese]
6. Salvatore at Playboy, London —$8,633 Salvatore's Legacy
Salvatore Calabrese broke the Guinness World Record for the world's most expensive cocktail last year with the creation of his £5,500 ($8,633) Salvatore's Legacy. It's also apparently the world's oldest cocktail, created with rare booze such as 1788 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur, 1860 Dubb Orange Curacao and early 20th century Angostura Bitters. This cocktail can be found at Salvatore at Playboy, and a spokesperson explains that the cocktail is ordered with Salvatore's approval. A total of three have been ordered since the cocktail's inception.
5. Algonquin Hotel, New York City — $10,000 martini
Give New York City's Algonquin Hotel three days' notice and a $10,000 diamond-studded martini will await at the Blue Bar. A spokesperson tells Eater that the bar and hotel works with an in-house jeweler to procure the customizable diamond, which is then placed within the cocktail.
[Photos: XS Nightclub]
4. XS Nightclub, Las Vegas — $10,000 Ono
As Eater Vegas reported a few months back, the XS Nightclub at Encore Las Vegas has its own $10,000 drink, the Ono. This cocktail features Charles Heidsieck Champagne Charlie 1981 and Louis XIII de Remy Martin Black Pearl cognac — oh, and it comes with a pair of men's silver cufflinks and a woman's 18K white-gold chain with a black pearl pendant. Not too shabby.
[Photo: Fortress Resort & Spa]
3. The Fortress Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka — $14,500 Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence Dessert
The Fortress Resort & Spa in Sri Lanka offers its high-rollers a dessert that it describes as more of "a challenge for those adventurous as heart." The Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence is made with gold leaf Italian cassata, flavored with fruit-infused Irish cream. There's a fruit compote, a Dom Perignon champagne sabayon at the base and a handmade chocolate carving in the shape of a local stilt fisherman. Oh, and it's adorned with an 80 carat Aquamarine gemstone whose diameter "spans the head of a soup spoon." The dessert costs $14,500 at DUO restaurant, according to a spokesperson for the resort, and orders must be placed a day in advance.
Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel & Restaurant [Photo: Facebook]
2. Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel, England — $35,000 Pudding
Chef Marc Guibert of the Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel in England's Lake District went after the world's most expensive dessert title in late 2011 with a chocolate pudding that costs £22,000 ($34,531). Shaped to look like a Faberge egg, the pudding is made with high-end chocolate, gold leaf, champagne, caviar and a diamond. It's layered with champagne jelly and laced with edible gold. So far, a rep tells Eater Guibert has sold just one egg. The dessert must be ordered two weeks in advance.
1. Arnaud's, New Orleans — $3.95 million Strawberries Arnaud
Arnaud's in New Orleans no longer offers the $1.4 million dessert that gained it notoriety years ago. Nope, now that dessert is worth a staggering $3.95 million. Co-owner Katy Casbarian explains to Eater that the historic New Orleans restaurant partnered years ago with MS Rau antiques on a proposal package that includes their signature Strawberries Arnaud dessert and a diamond ring. While the original 4.71 carat ring is no longer available, it has been replaced with a 7.09 carat pink diamond to accompany the dish of strawberries served in a marinade of port, red wine, spices and citrus with vanilla ice cream. "Needless to say," she writes, "it is our worst selling dessert."
Honorable Mentions (repeat categories)
Serendipity 3's $295 Le Burger Extravagant (NYC); Joel Robuchon's $235 L'Oeuf de Poule (Las Vegas); Le Burger Brasserie's $777 Kobe beef and Maine lobster burger (Las Vegas); Oishii's $250 steak with black truffles (Boston)
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