17 ultra-expensive restaurants that are actually worth the price

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Dinner at Eleven Madison Park in New York City will run you $325 a head.
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Yelp/Trynh N.

At high-end restaurants, it’s easy to end up shelling out hundreds of dollars per person on lavish tasting menus and meticulous wine pairings. But just because a restaurant is expensive, doesn’t always mean it’s worth your hard-earned cash.

Fortunately, we know a few that are.

Business Insider recently released its list of the 50 best restaurants in America, compiled by combining six noteworthy lists from food critics, experts, and diners. We pulled out 17 spots that will indeed cost a pretty penny, but offer impeccable food and first-class service.

All prices come from Zagat, which includes the price of dinner plus one drink and tip.

Keep scrolling to see outstanding restaurants that are worth every dime.


Acquerello

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Acquerello/Facebook

Chef: Suzette Gresham

Location: San Francisco, California

Price per person: $118

For fine Italian food in the Bay Area, look no further than Acquerello’s opulent dining room and delightful prix-fixe menu, which includes between three and five courses of plates like grilled swordfish, squid-ink risotto, and pancetta-wrapped rabbit.

The restaurant has been a standout in the San Francisco dining scene for more than two decades and now boasts a James Beard Outstanding Restaurant nomination and two Michelin stars.


Jean-Georges

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Facebook/Jean Georges Restaurant

Chef: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Mark Lapico (executive chef)

Location: New York, New York

Price per person: $166

Jean-Georges blends French, American, and Asian influences to craft an ever-changing menu that focuses on ingredients from the local farmers’ market.

Inside, floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning views of Central Park and Columbus Circle, and diners can choose between various prix-fixe menus.


Daniel

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Daniel

Chef: Daniel Boulud, Jean-Francois Bruel (executive chef), Eddy Leroux (chef de cuisine)

Location: New York, New York

Price per person: $176

At Daniel Boulud’s namesake restaurant, Daniel, which boasts two Michelin stars, the chefs draw inspiration from the four seasons and translate it into upscale French cuisine.

A sampling of dishes might include Long Island fluke with sea urchin and green apple, roasted duck breast topped with a dandelion-flower marmalade, or ravioli filled with braised rabbit and covered in chorizo cream.


Le Bernardin

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Le Bernardin/Facebook

Chef: Eric Ripert, Eric Gestel (executive chef)

Location: New York, New York

Price per person: $182

A New York City classic since 1986, three-Michelin-starred Le Bernardin uses French techniques to create exquisite seafood dishes.

Try the chef’s tasting menu for $215 per person, or the Le Bernardin-branded tasting menu for $180 a pop. It includes delicacies like yellowfin-tuna carpaccio, seared langoustine foie gras, and barely cooked scallops in a brown-butter sauce.


Manresa

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Flickr/Edsel Little

Chef: David Kinch

Location: Los Gatos, California

Price per person: $213

At Manresa, the menu changes daily to incorporate the freshest ingredients from local farms.

Dishes for the tasting menu have included everything from black cod served with Brussels sprouts in a vinegar reduction, to a pumpkin purée with chocolate crémeux. The tasting menu costs $235 per person, with an additional $198 for a wine pairing.


The Restaurant at Meadowood

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Yelp/D T.

Chef: Christopher Kostow, John Hong (chef de cuisine)

Location: St. Helena, California

Price per person: $214

The Restaurant at Meadowoodfocuses on more than just serving great food – each meal is specifically tailored to the customer. As soon as reservations are made, Chef Kostow begins preparing an individualized menu, developing dishes based on each guest’s likes and dislikes.

The standard tasting menu at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant costs $330 per head, and there’s a counter menu available in the kitchen for $500 per person.


Momofuku Ko

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Dwayne Y/Yelp

Chef: David Chang, Sean Gray (executive chef)

Location: New York, New York

Price per person: $228

The two-Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko was touted by the World’s Best Restaurants and The Daily Meal this year.

Its prix-fixe tasting menu prepared by Executive Chef Sean Gray includes inventive dishes like a mille-feuille served with green tea powder and trout roe. It costs $195 per person.


Benu

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Yelp/Dean C.

Chef: Corey Lee, Brandon Rodgers (executive chef)

Location: San Francisco, California

Price per person: $236

The three-Michelin-starred restaurant Benu offers diners an innovative mix of American and Asian cuisine.

Its $248-per-person tasting menu includes eclectic dishes like a thousand-year-old quail egg served with potage and ginger, or shrimp-roe noodles in a roasted hen jus. Finish it off with the sesame-leaf ice cream for an unforgettable meal.


Grace

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Grace

Chef: Curtis Duffy

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Price per person: $245

At Grace, Chef Curtis Duffy puts high-quality ingredients front and center, showcasing each one’s natural flavors in a variety of contemporary American-style dishes.

The restaurant offers two nine-course tasting menus, called Flora and Fauna, for $235 per person. They feature selections such as Alaskan king crab with cucumber and lemon mint, short rib with watercress, and white asparagus with brioche and black olives.


Blue Hill at Stone Barns

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Yelp

Chef: Dan Barber

Location: Pocantico Hills, New York

Price per person: $257

Seated on a working four-season farm, Blue Hill at Stone Barns sources all of its ingredients from the surrounding land or other local farms, aiming to highlight the many flavors of its home in the Hudson Valley.

The farm-to-table spot offers no à la carte options, only the “Grazing, Pecking, Rooting” tasting menu for $218 a head.


The French Laundry

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The French Laundry/Deborah Jones

Chef: Thomas Keller, David Breeden (chef de cuisine)

Location: Yountville, California

Price per person: $263

For $310 a head, diners at The French Laundry choose between two prix-fixe menus – the chef’s tasting menu or the vegetable-tasting menu – which change daily and don’t repeat a single ingredient throughout.

The multicourse menus include everything from sweet butter-poached Alaskan king crab to charcoal-grilled Japanese Wagyu to toasted barley and cauliflower porridge.


Alinea

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Alinea/Facebook

Chef:Grant Achatz, Mike Bagale (executive chef), and Simon Davies (chef de cuisine)

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Price per person: $293

Alinea is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant with avant-garde dishes that showcase the molecular gastronomy skills of Chefs Grant Achatz, Mike Bagale, and Simon Davies.

Diners are constantly surprised by the delicious creations, from a DIY ravioli course to a hot potato that’s been topped with a slice of black truffle and suspended above cold potato soup.


Saison

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Facebook/SAISON

Chef: Josh Skenes

Location: San Francisco, California

Price per person: $297

Saison offers a playful and inventive tasting menu, with the dishes changing nightly based on the local ingredients and what’s available from their own garden.

Some sample courses from Chef Joshua Skenes’ menu have included foie-gras toffee, oyster leaf with cream, and thin slices of beef aged for 80 days and complemented with soy vinaigrette. The 15- to 20-course tasting menu costs $398 per person.


Eleven Madison Park

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Yelp/Trynh N.

Chef: Daniel Humm, Chris Flint (chef de cuisine)

Location: New York, New York

Price per person: $325

Claiming the top spot on our list for the second year in a row, Eleven Madison Park continues to impress, earning it three Michelin stars and a top-10 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

The restaurant offers only an elaborate prix-fixe menu from chef de cuisine Chris Flint, which goes for $295 per person. Each meal features seven to nine courses based on ingredients sourced locally in New York.


Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

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Annie Gonzalez

Chef:Cesar Ramirez

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Price per person: $332

Sit back and watch as Chef Cesar Ramirez and his team prepare elaborate courses in front of you at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant.

With an intimate kitchen counter that seats 18, you can indulge in the extravagant tasting menu that focuses on seafood – including raw fish and shellfish options – and changes daily to reflect the freshest ingredients of the season.


Per Se

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Facebook/Per Se

Chef: Thomas Keller, Eli Kaimeh (chef de cuisine)

Location: New York, New York

Price per person: $341

Per Se lives under the Keller umbrella of restaurants, and chef de cuisine Eli Kaimeh whips up top-notch French cuisine, earning the spot three Michelin stars.

The vegetable and chef’s tasting menus are $325, but diners can also order items à la carte from the salon menu.


Masa

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Hani A./Yelp

Chef: Masayoshi Takayama

Location: New York, New York

Price per person: $585

Expect the freshest fish at Masa, where Chef Takayama prepares each meal like a work of art. He keeps the sushi counter sparse of décor in order to create a blank canvas where the food can be the star.

The experience can get pricey, however, costing $595 per guest. Also, starting earlier this year, Masa began no longer accepting tips.