13 Over-the-Top Dining Experiences to Splurge on With Your Tax Returns
It’s almost Tax Day, which means that you might soon find yourself with a big, fat check. But what to do with all that extra dough? You could take a trip to Paris and stay at one of the city’s spectacularly expensive hotels. You could buy an out-of-the-box gift, like this adjustable toaster. You could even throw away those hard-earned dollars on a $14,400 cocktail made with 1990 vintage Cristal, 126-year-old 1888 Samalens Vieille Relique Vintage Bas Armagnac, gold leaf, Angostura bitters, and sugar.
Or, you could treat yourself to a deliciously over-the-top dining experience, complete with food cooked by a world-class chef, wine chosen by the best sommeliers, and memories of a meal that is sure to top your list of best dinners ever.
Whether a restaurant in your home city or a destination spot you’ve dreamt of trying, there are tons of elaborate tasting menus that are worth every penny. Here are 13 suggestions that make breaking the bank taste so good it won’t feel so bad.
The French Laundry is perhaps the pinnacle of splurgy dining experiences. Located in Yountville, the heart of the Napa Valley, Thomas Keller’s revolutionary restaurant has inspired the cooking of countless chefs — and educated the palates of thousands of guests.
You can experience Grant Achatz’s modernist and highly-creative cuisine in three different ways at his Chicago restaurant, depending on the number of people in your party. The options vary in price from $185 to $385 per person and all of the menus are multi-sensory and unique.
While the food at Masayoshi Takayama’s New York City omakase restaurant is simple in nature, the flavors are anything but. The $595 tasting menu, which has garnered 3 Michelin Stars, will transport you to Japan.
Guy Savoy’s restaurant in Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace Hotel has a tasting menu that costs $385 a pop. If you want to dine here, better be careful not spend all of those tax returns at the casinos.
This modern take on New England cuisine emphasizes French techniques and local ingredients. Frank McClelland offers two tasting menus to his Boston diners each night, with the 8-course option priced at $208. Plus, there’s always the option of adding a healthy helping of caviar, which can run the bill up by as much as $380.
Perhaps the most impressive way to celebrate a hefty tax return is by dining at the world’s best restaurant. Daniel Humm’s three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park offers eight to 10 courses for $295.
Located within a farm-inn hybrid in Healdsburg, California, SingleThread offers an 11-course tasting menu for $295. Chef Kyle Connaughton works with his wife, farmer Katina Connaughton, to utilize produce from the farm in each of the dishes. The farm supplies the restaurant with seasonal vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, honey, eggs, and olive oil.
This seafood-focused tasting counter offers a nightly-changing, 13-course tasting menu for $395 per person. Originally located in Brooklyn, the restaurant became the first non-Manhattan New York City establishment to receive three Michelin stars. However, Chef César Ramirez moved his operation to Hell’s Kitchen in 2016.
At Joshua Skenes’ Saison in San Francisco, most of the food is cooked over an open wood fire. The kitchen is exposed and there aren’t any set menus. Instead, the restaurant team works with each diner to compose a 22-course meal that is tailored to their individual preferences. The price of this bespoke dinner is $398.
For a Southern take on fine dining, head to Chef Philip Lopez’s Square Root in Louisiana. The 15-course tasting menu goes for $150 and can include everything from fried chicken with cotton candy and okra to a take on meat and potatoes with short rib, miso, and fingerlings.
From a perch above Columbus Circle, Thomas Keller’s acclaimed three Michelin-starred New York City restaurant overlooks Central Park. Per Se offers a nine-course chef’s tasting menu as well as a nine-course vegetable tasting menu, both for $340. In each daily-changing menu, no single ingredient is ever repeated.
At Dan Barber’s upstate New York restaurant, the farm-to-table dining experience is immersive. Guests are welcome to tour the grounds during their meal, which provides the opportunity to see exactly where their food is coming from. While there are no menus, the “multi-taste feast” costs $258 and features local offerings from the field, farm, and market.
For dining experiences that don't require as much of a splurge, check out Food & Wine's 2018 Restaurants of the Year.