Most Expensive Restaurant in the World: An Intro To Luxury

Marketing 17 minute read 12th April 2024

Hands up if you’ve ever imagined dining at the most expensive restaurant in the world. There’s just something about grand, luxury restaurants that fascinates people. And whether you want Japanese, English, Mexican, or French cuisine, nothing quite beats the intrigue of a high-end restaurant.

It isn’t only fascinating from a consumer point of view, though. If you are looking at marketing and brand building, it’s interesting to see how these luxury restaurants build their business. The marketing and brand image of these restaurants is so steadfast. How on Earth do they do it?

In this guide, you’ll get an ultimate introduction to the world of luxury dining. We’ll look at the most expensive restaurants in the world and cover what to expect as a consumer.

We’ll also include an extra section on how these celebrity-style restaurants weaponize marketing to guarantee luxurious success. There are tons to cover, so sit tight and get ready to peer at a white tablecloth or two.

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What To Expect From Expensive Restaurants

Expensive restaurants can be a bit of an unknown quantity. The phrase itself is also wildly subjective, with everyone having their own definition of what defines “expensive.”

As a general rule, though, in the U.S. or UK, an expensive restaurant is one that charges above $200 pp. Some of the most expensive restaurants in London charge around the $250 to $350 per person mark.

For this article’s sake, while the most expensive restaurants in the world vary price-wise, we’ll be going off that benchmark. So, what should you expect? What are some typical qualities of an expensive restaurant?

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Set Menus

Set menus are hugely popular amongst expensive restaurants. Whether you choose a French or Japanese restaurant, set menus are common in high-end restaurants. These often run in a tasting experience system, offering multiple courses showcasing different cooking techniques and ingredients.

You can usually find a set menu option if you visit any of the world’s most expensive restaurant options. It streamlines the service experience and is an introductory experience for diners.

A Unique Selling Point

When visiting an expensive restaurant, looking for a unique selling point is key. For instance, that famous underwater restaurant in the Maldives has a unique setting. Also, Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants offer a unique experience that allows you to get close to his character’s branding.

Branding is incredibly precise when you visit expensive restaurants. These are the places you visit for an experience you can’t get or would struggle to get elsewhere.

More Attentive Service

You can definitely expect more attentive service when dining at an expensive restaurant. The whole point of a luxury dining experience is luxury. And in restaurants, luxury comes from the staff and how they carefully curate a memorable dining experience.

This could include anything from staff outfits to serving protocols and procedures. You’ll also notice a difference in table layout, typically with extra cutlery and wine glasses laid on arrival.

An Emphasis on Ambiance

When creating a luxury dining experience, you don’t need us to tell you that ambiance is essential. The successful, expensive restaurants create a high-end ambiance. Your ambiance must feed into your unique selling point, drawing on service style and restaurant design theme.

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The 4 Most Famous Expensive Restaurants

Of course, it isn’t about just selecting the most expensive restaurant. You’d think price would directly correlate with quality, but that isn’t always the case. To overcome this hiccup in the hospitality industry, we’ve found the most famous and expensive restaurants for you to dine at. Better still, these venues all have amazing reviews, so you know it’s worth the spending.

Here are the top four restaurants that made our cut.

1. Restaurant Le Meurice, Paris

Restaurant Le Meurice is an ornate restaurant with two Michelin stars in Paris. It serves seasonal French cuisine and is run by none other than Alain Ducasse, a renowned name in the industry.

The dining space is nothing short of spectacular, with palatial gold-gilded walls and hanging chandeliers. White tablecloths drape over tables, reaching the floor, and the ambiance is magical. It’s fine dining at its finest.

Guests get a set menu of three courses, including separate cheese and dessert, for 350 Euros. Alternatively, you can purchase a five-course meal, with cheese and dessert, for 400 Euros. You’ll be tucking into anything from crispy blue lobster to smoked langoustine from Brittany.

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2. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is one of the most famous underwater restaurants in the world. It was the first underwater restaurant in the world and sits five meters below the ocean’s surface. Built in a glass tunnel, guests dine at wooden tables looking straight out into the sea. We’d say that Ithaa Undersea Restaurant has its unique selling point down to a “T.”

The restaurant offers a mix of lunch and dinner set menus. It aims to blend local Maldivian flavors with Western influences and invites guests for cocktail hours at specific times. Rates start at $390 for dinner or $238 for lunch, with both seating times offering multiple courses.

3. SubliMotion, Ibiza

Paco Roncero is a highly esteemed Spanish chef who heads SubliMotion. The restaurant is entirely experience-driven, breaking social norms by offering a dramatic, extended-tasting menu experience. The restaurant famously charges $2,380 a head for a 20-course tasting menu.

With Spanish avant-garde cuisine and even stage directors involved in the tasting, it’s safe to see SubliMotion has memorable dining.

SubliMotion’s unique selling point is clear. It offers a theatrical dining experience with an ambitious nod to multi-sensory dining. It’s even rumored the tickets you get given at the entrance are edible, and you go VR skydiving in between courses. The whole experience is incredibly eccentric. If you want to break down the norms of the restaurant experience, SubliMotion is where to do so.

4. Aragawa, Japan

This Japanese restaurant charges $370 per person to sample a fine-dining menu of rare Sanda-raised beef. Aragawa sits in the basement of an office building, giving it an unsuspecting and slightly illicit allure. The high-end “beef experience” is a must for any luxury-loving meat eaters.

The whole thing seems incongruous to its setting, and this slightly jarring quality is what sells Aragawa so well.

Herders raise cattle for over 28 months in the Sanda region to officially classify it as Sanda beef. There are many hoops to jump through to meet the specific Sanda beef criteria. This added complexity adds an exclusive element to dining.

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The Winner: The Costliest Restaurant in the World

The costliest restaurant in the world is SubliMotion by Paco Roncero. Given our last section, you probably aren’t surprised. It is an easy answer to the question, “What is the most expensive restaurant in the world?”. $2,380 per head is a figure that not many other high-end restaurants could beat.

SubliMotion emphasizes that theatrical experience, with virtual reality (VR) and Willy Wonka-style twists like golden and edible tickets. It’s amazing what Paco Roncero has done with the idea. And the whole experience lasts around three hours.

$2,380 sounds super steep, doesn’t it? We will say that for the price, though, you get 20 courses on your tasting menu. When you compare this with around $450 for five courses, you can see how it adds up.

So, while it is the costliest restaurant worldwide, that’s without breaking down the rate per course. It’s probably on par with other restaurants when considering the cost per course; it offers many more courses.

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The Power of Marketing in Expensive Restaurants

So, here comes the golden question: what is the power of marketing when starting successful, expensive restaurants? The secret lies in branding. Each of these restaurants has something distinctly indulgent about them, to the point of being outrageous.

For instance, it could be the fact that the restaurant is underwater. It could also be the fact that it offers 20 courses. Or it’s set in an ornate Parisian dining room resembling a palace. Whatever the outrageous indulgence, the successful, expensive restaurants are the ones that lean into that branding. You associate them with that one thing and categorize them based on it.

Associations are essential when marketing a luxury restaurant. These associations all link together to form a singular brand image. And it is your brand image that justifies you charging expensive rates for dining.

Aside from your unique selling points, these are other ways that your restaurant accrues associations.

If you want to start an expensive restaurant, it is easy if you already have a personal brand. For chefs, this is typically existing Michelin stars and some level of recognition.

When these chefs start a new restaurant, part of their brand transfers to the project. This means it already has a degree of luxury credibility through association with its name and credentials.

If you don’t have a personal brand, you need to be more proactive in marketing through association. You could also rely on a luxury location or hotel, like how Ithaa Undersea Restaurant uses the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Without a chef to carry your brand, luxury-associated locations and high-end hotel partnerships are your best bet.

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Beambox: How WiFi Supports the Most Expensive Restaurant in the World

This leads us to the fantastic question, “How can WiFi support expensive restaurants?” Simply put, by offering WiFi, you give guests a chance to share the magic of the experience using their mobiles.

Everyone takes pictures and videos nowadays, but WiFi allows guests to share instantly. Instead of just keeping the photos and forgetting about them, they can share them immediately on their social media profiles.

So many people share directly to their Instagram stories rather than saving them to post on their social media grid. If you want to encourage that immediate, real-time interaction, offering WiFi allows guests to post to their socials. This is fantastic for online engagement and promotes organic marketing, where guests recommend you of their own accord.

Of course, offering WiFi is also an investment in your branding, especially if you design a captive portal. A captive portal is a web page that pops up and requests customer details in exchange for WiFi access. At Beambox, we provide captive portals you can customize with branding details, making your WiFi more professional.

Start your Beambox free trial today. With a personalized captive portal, your branding will be on track to rival the most expensive restaurant in the world.

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