The cost of going to restaurants has risen sharply in the past year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the price of “food away from home” jumped 5.8% in November 2021 compared to the same month the previous year. The cost of what is known as fine dining runs about $70 a person, not including tax or tip.
That cost is well outside the budget of tens of millions of Americans, but it is cheap compared to the cost of having a meal at some of the world’s top restaurants. And the most expensive of these establishments is Sublimotion on the Spanish island of Ibiza, where the meal is part of a multi-media experience.
Numerous sources rate high-end restaurants based on food and drink quality, ambiance, and service. These include the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking published out of the United Kingdom, the French-based newcomer La Liste, and such publications as Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, and Elite Traveler, as well as numerous websites in the United States and internationally.
The gold standard of restaurant ratings is the Guide Michelin, started in 1904 by the French car tire company as a guide for motorists. Now published in 14 editions covering 23 countries, the guide began awarding stars to restaurants in 1926 and introduced its three-star ratings (long considered the ultimate accolade) five years later. Three stars translate into “exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey.” Two stars signify a “very good restaurant worth a detour.”
Some 135 restaurants around the world currently hold the three-star rank and 414 are two-stars, with both ratings determined by a team of about 120 anonymous “inspectors.” At a handful of these places, it might be possible to eat, especially at lunchtime, for something close to that $70. However, most are far more expensive, and some charge prices that strain credibility.
To identify the most expensive Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a ranking of such places, based on the price of each establishment’s top-flight tasting menu, as compiled by the international food magazine Chef’s Pencil.
One restaurant was staggeringly expensive. Sublimotion in Ibiza, Spain, posted a per-person cost of $1,740. The restaurant can only seat 12 people at a time. Approximately 25 people work there. The food is based “molecular gastronomy.” Its definition, with regard, is loose. However, it has been given another description: “Molecular gastronomy was shown to be an excellent educational tool, allowing students in chemistry, physics, and biology to observe and understand the practical use of the theories that they learned.” Whatever that means.