(Image taken from Alain Ducasse Facebook page)
Kitcho, Kyoto Japan
Set in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto, one of the most exceptionally verdant areas of Japan, Kitcho has been operating for 3 generations. Quintessential cherry blossoms and seasonal autumn coloured leaves make up the back drop of this 3 star Michelin restaurant. Current chef and owner Tokuoka, strives to live up to his father and grandfather's culinary legacy, and to improve on this wherever he can. The setting and food are both traditional Japanese with a contemporary approach and innovative execution. A lunch will cost you around R5800 and dinner around R6500 per person.
Sublimotion, Ibiza, Spain
When you visit their website, you're not sure if you're looking at information for a restaurant or information on a science themed fun fair. The fact is that Sublimotion is the theme park of restaurants, playing with all your senses, complete with optical illusions, temperature controlled air and a theatrical display of gastronomy. The whole experience is ultimately a show, performed by decorated Spanish chef Paco Roncero and his team, that transports you somewhere beyond your imagination. The food is a technology and chemistry-fuelled exhibition, with a style that has been compared to the likes of Heston Blumenthal. They don't have a Michelin Star yet, but perhaps it's hard for the board to be incognito when the restaurant only has one 12 seater table. Is it worth the visit? I couldn't tell you; but for around R23000, I sure as hell hope so!
Masa, New York
Masa is a Shibui haven that offers diners a stylish and equally authentic Japanese sushi experience, from chef Masa Takayam. Originally making a name for himself in LA, Masa then opened his New York restaurant that is now adorned in accolades, including 3 Michelin stars, and it was the first Japanese restaurant to receive this honour in the U.S. Masa's experience with fish dates back to his childhood, helping in his family's fish market in Japan. His years of experience with fish preparation and service contributed significantly to the refined knowledge and culinary ability he holds today.
Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse, Paris
It doesn't get much grander than this, inspired by Salon de la Paix, a lounge in the Chateau de Versailles in Paris, the setting epitomises French baroque with elegant modern touches. If you look above floor level, you could really be in Versailles but the crisp white seating tells of a modern era. Founding chef, Alain Ducasse, has several other famous fancy restaurants plotted around Europe, most notably his self titled 'haute couture' restaurant at The Dorchester in London. The food at his Parisian establishment is unsurprisingly French, but you can be certain it is far from your run-of-the-mill French food. It might be what French food looks and tastes like in heaven, with a focus on the preservation of produce's natural flavour. A dinner with a set menu will cost you €580 (around R8930).
Dating back to 1967, Aragawa is known for their prized wagyu beef from the Sanda region in Japan. The animal is chosen very carefully to make sure the quality of the beef is as premium as possible. What you are paying for aside from the obvious quality, is the highly precise way the beef is prepared. The steak is broiled on metal skewers above special coals, and there are 10 stages of this broiling process that give the steak its Aragawu quality. This is certainly a place for serious steak lovers, as the steak takes centre stage on a plate of potato, green beans and carrot. The space is old school class with a decades old interior of soft red carpet, velvety red seating and white table clothes - it's very understated yet warm and cosy. The meal will cost somewhere between R5000 and R6000.
Maison Pic, Drôme
The restaurant is attached to a 5 star luxury hotel in Drôme, France, but distinguishes itself as an entirely separate experience, pulling haute-cuisine lovers from across the globe. It's 3 star Michelin title does help attract the clientele, but equally so is the chef herself, Anne-Sophie, one of the handful of females holding such an accolade. The food is based on French cuisine, but goes much further than traditions, with innovative flavouring and genius pairings. You'll find blue lobster with red berries, Drôme squab and Banon goat's cheese Berlingots. The space is classic fine dining chic with beige seating and white table clothes, and individual crystal lamps accesorising each table. The lunch or dinner will cost you between €110 - €360 (about R1600 - R5200 per head).
Hôtel de Ville, Crissier, Switzerland
When you look at the menu, there's no surprise why the restaurant at Hotel de Ville would be on our most expensive restaurants list. They serve all the most sort-after dishes in fine dining, from langoustines to fois gras to a dish of white truffle. The decor is somewhat bland and dated but perhaps this is not to detract from the food. The food is traditional French cuisine, and the previous 3 executive chefs each earned a Michelin star placing the restaurant in the highest ranking. The plates are colourful, and extremely intricate, every element precisely plated with the same care required in a game of dominos. A dinner or lunch will cost you between R2300 to R5000 per head.
Michael Bras, Toya, Japan
The setting is exceptional. A floor to ceiling window overlooks the giant volcanic lake of Toya, in the Windsor Hotel. The restaurant setting fuses French bistro with minimal Japanese aesthetic, and the food corresponds to this fusion as well. Classic French techniques meet local Japanese ingredients and flavours, creating something totally unique, just like Toya's surroundings. The ingredients on the menu will be foreign to most of us like asparagus lettuce and steamed Botan-ebi. The set menu starts at 12000Yen and goes up to 27000 Yen (about R1400 - R3200).
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea, London
Many people only know of Ramsay as a raging fowl-mouthed chef on TV, but he earned his right to be there gathering multiple Michelin stars, which include his flagship restaurant in Chelsea holding 3 stars since 2001. As is Ramsay's style, the restaurant is typically French with a prominent British influence. The small restaurant exudes elegance and class, as does the highly sophisticated seasonal menu. The patron chef Clare Smyth, appointed in 2007, became the first female chef to work under 3 Michelin stars in The UK, and she still works there today. You'll find delicacies like King crab, roast pigeon and lobster ravioli for about £145 (R2400 per head).
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris
Alain Ducasse must feature again on this list for another of his Parisian restaurants at the Plaza Athénée hotel. It was recently revamped into the most opulent, shiny, embellished interior you may have ever seen. But surely that is exactly what diners want when paying €210 for a lunch? The menu is different to Ducasse's usual creation. It features only seafood and plant produce, offering a food experience that explores the the idea behind nature's 'generosity'. The inspiration stems from Shojin cuisine, an ancient Chinese cuisine that is limited to preparing vegetables and grains. The whole approach of the restaurant is respectful and sustainable to our natural surroundings.
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