Have you ever wondered what the most expensive meal in the world tastes like? According to Forbes, that honor currently goes to Sublimotion, a restaurant from El Buli-trained, Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero that opened this summer at the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza. The 12-seat table service offers a 20-course tasting menu for about $2,050 person.
OK, so that's a little out of your price range -- and a bit far to travel. Maybe a better question would be: How much are people truly willing to spend on expensive food?
South Floridians are certainly no strangers to pricey fare, and while you might not want to search them out, it's interesting to know what your money can buy if you have an unlimited budget for some of the area's most expensive food and drink.
If you're looking to blow some dough at a restaurant for a single steak, a few ounces of caviar, or even a 25-course tasting menu, these places are sure to deliver the goods. Here, our top picks for the most pricey menu items in Broward and Palm Beach.
Have a few suggestions that didn't make our list? If so, tell us in the comments section below.
10. Via Luna
The Ritz-Carlton has all the elements of a topnotch hotel restaurant with full panoramic ocean views and a menu of high-end, classic Italian dishes. The chef nails the preparation of dishes like arugula and beet salad, Atlantic halibut, and a tenderloin with a compound butter crust. The food here is worth the splurge despite the hefty price tag. Looking for the best? The 12-ounce dry-aged New York strip steak rings in at $46, served with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, cipollini onions, and port wine.
It may not be a meal, but it might as well be your only dining event of the day with its $400 price tag. At Dirty Martini in Palm Beach Gardens, that's the price for a single martini. The cocktail fetches a high price not for its use of specialty or rare liquor but for how it is served. The drink comes with a Swarovski crystal martini glass and three olives stabbed through with a custom-made, Provident Jewelry-designed diamond olive pick, weighing in at one-tenth of a carat. Customers can choose from any martini creation on the menu. And yes, you're expected to take home both the glass and pick. After all, who would leave that rarity behind?
Hailing from Normandy, France, restaurant owners Jean-Pierre Leverrier and his wife, Nicole, are the masterminds behind this Palm Beach French bistro. Since 1991, the restaurant continues to run like a true family affair: Their younger son, Guillaume, cooks with his father, while their older son, David, runs the dining room with his mother. You can't go wrong with any dish selection you make, but favorites include expensive picks like steak tartare, lobster fricassee, and prime beef tenderloin. For $52, the prime veal chop (with fettuccine smothered in a morel mushroom sauce) and the Dover sole meunière (fillets dredged in milk and flour, fried in butter, and served with the resulting brown butter sauce and lemon) will hit your wallet the hardest. Last, pair it with the most expensive bottle of wine, a $1,400 selection hand-picked by sommelier David Leverrier.
7. Meat Market
Meat Market's main appeal is its steaks, which are offered in a unique, three-tiered format. Signature steaks start off from $26 to $55, offering à la carte selections seasoned and prepared in a variety of ways, from broiled in an infrared oven to grilled over a wood-burning fire. You can even get American Kobe meatloaf wood-grilled with bacon, mango BBQ, crispy onions, and truffle mash; or a 12-ounce Wagyu skirt steak from Durham Ranch with lemongrass, ginger, and roasted chili. The most expensive selection, however: the chef's own 28-day dry-aged, 32-ounce center cut prime porterhouse. At $95, it's sure to put you in meat heaven. And you might even opt to skip some the restaurant's fancy homemade sauces -- think MM A-100 steak sauce, A-100 BBQ butter, or truffle sauce -- to truly appreciate what a $100 steak tastes like.
Food challenges are always fun. They give you bragging rights only a true, red-blooded American could be proud of, and at the very least make dining out a touch more entertaining. As far as local food challenges go, however, you may be shocked to discover that 25 people have managed to scarf down the mammoth six- or eight-pound burgers at Cheeseburgers & More in Jupiter. The ridiculously supersized sandwich takes "whopper" to an entirely new level, with half a dozen one-pound patties stacked atop one another to form what can only become a meat-induced comatose state. Manage to get it all down -- without any help, and no strict time limit -- then at least you can say you did it for free. Finish everything on your plate and you don't have to shell out the $100 for the dish, says owner Mike Ferdenzi.
Translating to "where the moon arrives over the water," Tsukuro is the newest addition to the oceanfront strip off A1A in Fort Lauderdale. The restaurant is a site to see, designed to offer guests prime views of the Atlantic in a modern, comfortable setting while providing them with some creative -- and high-priced -- fare. And nothing says "I just dropped my entire paycheck on dinner" like an expensive appetizer of fish eggs. At Tsukuro, the caviar is served individually for $48 to $72 for a half-ounce -- or as a sample platter of all three selections, a combination of Russian osetra, Siberian sturgeon, and kaluga. The dish arrives with egg yolks, egg whites, blini pancakes, crème fraîche, and shallot for a grand total of $165.
Sure, Rachel's is a classy strip joint in West Palm Beach. And sure, there are plenty of pricey streak joints in the area. But not every five-star steak house boasts the menu of specialty meats -- and bottle service -- this place does. Here, you can get some of the best prime rib, filet mignon, pork chops, steak, and seafood in town. Looking for a good cigar bar where you can order a bottle of the best bubbly to go along with your meal? The selection for pretty much everything, you can imagine, is topnotch. The most expensive meat in the house (aside from the dancers, of course) is the chateaubriand. On the menu for $100, this classic French dish is a restaurant favorite, seasoned very simply, roasted to perfection, and then sliced and served with the traditional white wine and shallot demi-glace flavored with butter, tarragon, and lemon juice.
The Boca Raton Resort & Club is one of the best places to taste the area's most expensive -- and internationally acclaimed -- sushi. Master chef Masaharu Morimoto and his signature sushi bar and restaurant offer an exclusive array of sushi, sashimi, and maki. You'll slap down quite a bit of cash for many of the selections, priced $20 to $30 apiece. The best by far is the chef's selection combination roll. But the best will cost you: The maki roll goes for $50, and the deluxe maki roll (or sashimi) is $75. Feeling extra fancy? Pair it with a $500, 30-year-aged sake if you really want to splurge.
2. Café Boulud
A few years ago, chef Daniel Boulud gave the world a run for its money with his $120 burger, giving it a fancy French makeover with red-wine-braised short ribs, foie gras, and preserved black truffle. These days, at his Palm Beach restaurant, seasonal ingredients are often a focal point at Café Boulud. And that means specialty dishes that command top dollar. This time of year, that means truffles are on the menu. And not just any truffles: white Italian Alba truffles. Order them with risotto, pasta, or scrambled eggs. Either way, you're paying a hefty price. An appetizer-sized order goes for $95, while a full five-gram order will tally up at $165.
1. Aah Loi
Chef Roy Villacrusis and his self-branded Asiatic Fusion fare at Aah Loi take the top spot on this list -- even though it may not always command the top price. It's thanks to the unique experience you'll get: If you order his omakase dinner, you'll get a personalized experience tailored specifically to your tastes. And because he sources everything just for your meal and prepares everything on the fly, he may never make some of those dishes again. Such a meal isn't cheap. Prices start at $55 (if you're feeling adventurous and want to order what he has on hand at the restaurant that night). But pay $300 per person and you'll get much, much more. His best omakase tasting menu offers a series of small plates using ingredients like bluefin tuna toro, Italian black truffles, Osetra caviar, live sea urchins, and geoduck -- the world's most expensive (and phallic-looking) saltwater clam. Pay the price and you're guaranteed a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic affair. Villacrusis will deliver more than 25 courses prepared on the spot, with ingredients sourced that day. Of course, you'll need to call in advance to make reservations, and give him time to prepare your menu.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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