Behind the doors of the world’s most exclusive restaurants
When it comes to enjoying the good life, nothing beats eating an incredible meal in a beautiful setting. For patrons at these exclusive restaurants, absolutely nothing but the best will do. Some of the best restaurants in the world are all about champagne and caviar, while others specialize in serving up exotic cuisine you’ve never even heard of. We’re counting down thirty of the best restaurants in the world according to San Pellegrino’s annual list to give you a taste of what it’s really like to dine in expensive, over the top style. Think you’ve had the best meal on earth? Let the countdown begin and these incredible eateries prove you wrong.
D.O.M. in Sao Paolo, Brazil is the first and only restaurant in Brazil to receive two coveted Michelin stars. Led by Chef Alex Atala, D.O.M. specializes in using native ingredients to create haute gastronomy delights. Featuring items like Amazon ants that taste like lemongrass and tarts filled with Cachaça, the bold and creative menu will take your palate on a journey.
If you’re in Brazil and feeling peckish, you’ll be sorry you didn’t make your reservation at D.O.M. months ago. Dinner for one at D.O.M. can run from $118 to $163, and that’s not counting drinks. It’s important to note, unlike in the States, water is not free at restaurants in Brazil.
NEXT: This French restaurant has been open since the reign of Louis XVI.
29. Alléno Paris Au Pavillon Ledoyen
Just around the corner from the beautiful Champs-Elysées, you’ll find this incredible Parisian gem. Pavillon Ledoyen has been one of the best restaurants in France since it opened in 1779. Today, under the care of Chef Yanick Alléno, this fine dining institution carries on its proud heritage.
Serving up traditional French dishes alongside a salad made entirely of flowers, Pavillon Ledoyen offers a menu that’s pleasing to the eye and the tongue. Make your reservations well in advance, and be sure to dress to the nines. Pavillon Ledoyen has been known to require diners to wear a jacket and formal attire.
NEXT: This artful French restaurant is in an unexpected location.
The Singapore National Gallery is home to over 8,000 pieces of Southeast Asian art, and it also houses one of the finest French restaurants in the world. French Chef Julien Royer composed the menu at Odette with fresh, seasonal ingredients at the core of his cuisine. You might find anything from a rosemary smoked egg to Hokkaido uni and toast on your table, all in the same meal.
A four-course meal at Odette will run you at least $130 per person, and that’s not including wine. Despite the high price tag and incredible food, Odette manages to offer a laid-back and comfortable ambiance.
NEXT: This Chilean restaurant is brimming with local flavor.
Located in Santiago, Chile, Borago offers avant-garde cuisine made from extremely local ingredients. Everything is fresh and local, from the shellfish, veggies, and seaweed on the menu to the bottles on the wine list. Diners love the 16-course tasting menu, complete with wine pairings. Dinner runs about $70 to $100 per person.
Like many other spots on this list, Borago is booked up months in advance so making reservations is key. Don’t miss the duck hearts grilled in duck fat or the Chilean rhubarb with fruits of the beach. If you’re interested in innovative flavors and creative dishes that explore the true flavors of Chile, Borago is the place for you.
NEXT: This New York restaurant is all about classic Manhattan elegance.
26. Le Bernardin
Le Bernardin in Manhattan is a seafood spot with a luxe reputation and three Michelin stars. Although it’s possible to walk in and get a seat at the more laid-back bar, wealthy New Yorkers know that the dining room at Le Bernardin is the place to see and be seen. Some of Le Bernardin’s specialties include oysters, “barely touched” lobster, and wagyu beef.
Be sure to don your best formal or business attire if you step through the doors of Le Bernardin, and budget at least $60 per person for lunch or $160 per person for dinner. If you want a table on a weekend night, it’s a good idea to call on the first of the month before. After all, many people are clamoring for a table at one of the best restaurants in New York.
NEXT: Another New York restaurant makes the list for offering a modern take on south of the border cuisine.
Cosme is so much more than your average Mexican restaurant. Chef Enrique Olvera plays with classic Mexican flavors and gourmet cooking techniques to create a cuisine all his own. Some signature dishes include duck carnitas, lamb belly tacos, and a corn husk meringue for dessert. The setting is super modern and urban, with a slick industrial feel.
For brunch, it’s possible to make reservations a couple weeks out, but dinner reservations are booked a month or two ahead. Cosme doesn’t post their prices online, but Yelp reviewers say they’ve gone steadily up and up. According to some reviews, you could easily spend $200 here on a meal for one.
NEXT: This 10 seat restaurant is one of Shanghai’s hidden gems.
24. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet
To get to Ultraviolet, diners first have to get on a bus. The restaurant is deep in one of Shanghai’s oldest neighborhoods and only seats 10 people at a time. However, while those 10 people are there, they are in for an unforgettable dining experience. Projectors add color and movement to the tables and walls, and surround sound speakers and scents accompany the meal.
The food is an adventure in itself. Diners can expect a 22-course meal in addition to the entertainment at Ultraviolet. The production at Ultraviolet doesn’t come cheap. Expect to spend almost $1000 per person for a seat in this exclusive dining experience.
NEXT: On the other end of the spectrum, these Italian brothers make simple food that tastes incredibly good.
23. Le Calandre
While some top restaurants earn their spot on the list for innovation and invention, Le Calandre in Rubano, Italy takes a simpler approach. Instead, chefs and brothers Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo are focused on crafting modern Italian food that’s both creative and classic. Some house specialties include the crispy buffalo ricotta and the mozzarella cannelloni with tomato sauce.
Our mouths are watering just reading the menu, so how do we get a table? While some reviewers noted that there were empty tables at lunch, for dinner you should call a few weeks in advance. The menu is quite pricey too, with dishes costing around $45 each.
NEXT: This organic and natural restaurant has been one of Japan’s best for a decade.
Narisawa is the brainchild of Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa. Located in the wealthy Aoyama neighborhood of Tokyo, Narisawa offers natural and organic cuisine that looks out of this world. Chef Narisawa told Eater, “The preservation of nature is not only a way to preserve our food, it is the only way to preserve our own work. I can’t conceive the idea of a chef separated from his own environment.”
Narisawa is known for his “soil soup,” a burdock root fried with actual dirt and stewed to give diners the taste of the native soil in Japan. The abalone with young bamboo and Botan shrimp are other favorite dishes.
NEXT: We’re heading back to Paris for more classic French elegance.
21. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
Crystal chandeliers drip from the high ceilings at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris. As one Yelp reviewer put it, “Of all the fine dining we’ve done in Paris and around the world, nothing beats the opulence and white glove service of Alain Ducasse. They literally cut your bread wearing white gloves!”
The menu changes seasonally, to best display fine food at its freshest. Diners might see caviar in buckwheat crepes or incredibly tender grilled swordfish cross their plates. Of course, plates cost upwards of $50 and formal wear is required, but for one of the finest French restaurants, it just might be worth it.
NEXT: This Australian restaurant isn’t content to just throw another shrimp on the barbie.
Modern Melbourne restaurant Attica outranks every other restaurant on the continent. Chef Ben Shewry has been delighting guests at Attica with his playful, contemporary, and uniquely Australian flavors. One dish, Ten Flavors of St. Joseph’s Wort, is simply tomatoes with ten types of basil and the changing and unique flavors in every bite make it a surprise showstopper. The kangaroo meat and emu eggs are also very popular options.
Attica isn’t cheap either. Entrees cost $50 and up, and that’s not including the wine, amuse-bouches (French for “mouth amusers”), and other extras you won’t be able to resist once you get your table. About that table, reserve it well in advance and be sure to arrive early when your lucky day comes.
NEXT: Visit the first and only restaurant in Denmark to get three Michelin stars.
Geranium is a gourmet restaurant in the heart of Copenhagen with a clear view of the soccer stadium. Geranium offers seasonal 21-course meals that they called “universes”. Under the guidance of Chef Rasmus Kofoed, Geranium specializes in Scandinavian bites like razor clam with minerals and sour cream or yellow beets in smoked yogurt. Each of the 21 courses is small, well thought out, and sophisticated.
Visitors to Geranium are also welcome to tour the kitchen and meet all the chefs — a rare transparency in the sometimes mysterious world of fine dining. Of course, all this luxury comes at a cost. Expect to spend upwards of $100 per person.
NEXT: The name of this restaurant translates to “enjoy.”
Located in Barcelona, Spain, Disfrutar takes enjoyment to another level. Disfrutar serves up molecular gastronomy in a bright, open setting with a distinctly modern vibe. Standout dishes include frozen passionfruit ladyfingers, black cauliflower with coconut lime bechamel, and chocolate peppers with oil and salt. The crispy egg yolk is another very special Disfrutar dish.
The plates are very small and over the course of dinner, you’ll get the chance to try over 30 unique bites. Expect to spend at least three hours enjoying yourself at Disfrutar, and prepare to spend some serious cash too. Dinner at Disfrutar costs about $170 per person.
NEXT: This Tokyo den offers a fresh take on Japanese fine dining.
Getting a reservation at Den may be difficult if you don’t speak Japanese. This exclusive fine Japanese restaurant in Tokyo only takes reservations by phone. However, they do offer lunch services tailored to foreign guests, so if you’re in the neighborhood swing by Den at noon sharp.
Den’s cuisine and service are modeled after traditional kaiseki ryori Japanese fine dining, but with a whimsical twist. From their “Dentucky fried chicken” to the monaka, a bite featuring sweet potato, foie gras, and smoked radish between two layers of mochi, the culinary creations at Den will excited your palate and might make you laugh too.
NEXT: This restaurant combines Japanese technique with Italian flavors.
16. Piazza Duomo
In Alba, Italy, Piazza Duomo makes delicious magic by combining two unlikely cuisines. Borrowing Japanese techniques and aesthetics, Chef Enrico Crippa brings together flowers, herbs, fruits, and veggies from his region to craft unique dishes. Much of the produce comes from the restaurant’s own biodynamic garden, and they work hard to showcase their great vegetables.
Piazza Duomo is known for their Salad 51, a salad with 51 very specifically chosen ingredients, and their aubergine parmigiana. It has a formal dress code, and dinner can easily cost hundreds of dollars per person. Naturally, you wouldn’t dream of going to Piazza Duomo without making a reservation at least a month in advance.
NEXT: This Russian restaurant is a real foodie’s wonderland.
15. White Rabbit
High above Moscow, you’ll find White Rabbit perched under a glass dome on the 16th floor of a skyscraper. Featuring incredible views of the city and a Wonderland-inspired dining room, White Rabbit is the luxe brainchild of Chef Vladimir Mukhin. Mukhin’s cuisine takes classic Russian dishes into the modern age.
Some White Rabbit specialties include traditional Russian cold soups and a “ravioli” that resembles a dumpling stuffed with crab. Entrees range in price from $36 to $48, and be warned, according to TripAdvisor reviews the service may be a bit on the slow side. Don’t go to White Rabbit in a rush or with an empty wallet.
NEXT: This Austrian hot spot actually cooks one of their dishes in hot beeswax.
Steirereck in Vienna, Austria has all the trademarks of traditional fine dining. Waiters in white gloves bring courses out to guests in formal wear, but what’s on the plate is anything but old school. Steirereck is known and loved for their dishes like freshwater fish cooked in beeswax and pigeon with parsnips.
The dining room at Steirereck is formal yet minimal and airy. Getting a table here does require some planning. Even for lunch, it’s a good idea to make your reservation at least a month in advance. And, of course, be prepared to spend upwards of $50 per plate.
NEXT: The Wall Street Journal has called this restaurant the best in Mexico City.
Mexico City is a vibrant food town with many incredible restaurants to choose from. Despite all the competition, there’s a consensus that Pujol is the best of the bunch. Chef Enrique Olvera is the mastermind behind Pujol, and we’ve seen some of his handiwork at Cosme in New York. Chef Olvera has dedicated his Mexico City restaurant to creating a uniquely Mexican take on molecular gastronomy.
Grilled octopus with pickled carrots and baby street corn with ants are among the signature dishes at Pujol. Don’t neglect the bar at Pujol either. It features tamarind mezcal margaritas and a broad wine selection.
NEXT: This New York restaurant gives new meaning to the words “farm to table.”
12. Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Situated on a farm about 30 miles outside of New York City, Blue Hill at Stone Barns has become a beloved foodie getaway. Blue Hill at Stone Barns serves up produce that was just picked that day with loving creativity and care. On their 70 acres of land, Blue Hill grows over 500 types of fruits and veggies.
Cabbage sushi, oyster mushrooms harvested from the nearby woods, and grilled peaches are just a few of the vegetable-driven dishes that might come across your plate here. Men are encouraged to wear a jacket to dine here, and guests are all treated to a tour of part of the farm.
NEXT: This Mexico City restaurant is focused on reducing its carbon footprint without cutting down on taste.
Named for a green herb native to Mexico, Quintonil offers hyperlocal cuisine. In an effort to cut down on the carbon footprint of his restaurant, Chef Jorge Vallejo cultivates a nearby garden, so many ingredients have to travel less than 100 feet from the soil to your plate. Like the herb it is named for, Quintonil’s menu is essentially Mexican.
Some signature dishes include charred avocado tartare and crab tostadas with radish and habanero mayonnaise. For dessert, try a cooling cactus sorbet. More adventurous eaters can snack on ant eggs, grasshoppers, and even cockroaches at Quintonil. You can make reservations on their website, and it’s a good idea to book at least 60 days in advance.
NEXT: This Basque restaurant looks rustic on the outside, but it’s way upscale on the inside.
10. Asador Etxebarri
Asador Etxebarri sits in the foothills of the Spanish Basque region, in a small stone building. Though it opened in the ’90s, it’s only in the last 15 years that this hidden Basque gem has come into the public eye. Asador Etxebarri is dedicated to cooking over wood embers, adding a rich smoky flavor to baby peas in smoked butter, fresh squid, and juicy steak.
To get a table at Asador Etxebarri, guests should make reservations several months in advance. This simple, rustic cuisine was a favorite of late celebrity chef and explorer Anthony Bourdain, and it continues to enjoy incredible popularity with foodies all around the world. Not bad for a funky little shack.
NEXT: Another Basque restaurant with a very different focus is next in line.
People either love or hate the provocative food at Mugaritz in San Sebastián. According to one Yelp review, the Chef at Mugaritz, “compares this restaurant with a horror movie, and told me when people go watch a horror movie they are expecting to be scared.” Most of us don’t expect to be shocked by our food, but Mugaritz isn’t what you might expect.
At Mugaritz, the wait staff might bring you a mystery bottle of wine from their fine collection or serve up tigernut ice cream with fried rice. The menu is constantly changing, and the chefs treat the restaurant more like a mad scientist’s lab than your usual dinner spot.
NEXT: Dinner for two at this Parisian restaurant starts around $900.
Chef Alain Passard has presided over L’Arpège in Paris since 1986, earning their first Michelin star within a year of Passard taking over. These days, L’Arpège holds three prized Michelin stars and serves up dainties like beet sushi and lobster with pickled white radishes. Like many other fine restaurants, L’Arpège leans into a vegetable-forward menu without abandoning meat and seafood.
If you’re visiting Paris and have about a grand to spare for a meal, you can reserve a table at L’Arpège 60 days in advance. Yelp reviewers recommend calling the day before to confirm your reservation, so be sure to brush up on your French before your trip.
NEXT: This restaurant fuses Japanese and Peruvian cuisine with exquisite results.
Combining Japanese and Peruvian food might seem random, but this flavor fusion actually has deep historical roots. A variety of social and economic factors in the 19th century drove many Japanese to immigrate to Peru, and they brought their tastes with them. Over the years Peruvian and Japanese cuisine melded into what’s known as Nikkei.
Maido in Lima, Peru features excellent Nikkei style food, drawing on the rich traditions of this fusion. The ceviche is very popular, and so are the dumplings. To get a table at this very special restaurant, be sure to place your reservation several months in advance.
NEXT: We check out another restaurant in Lima serving up very adventurous tastes of local flavors.
Despite the small bites and creative ingredients, Central offers a surprisingly unpretentious take on extremely fine dining. The restaurant features a very open concept kitchen, allowing guests to watch as their dishes are prepared. Additionally, service is relaxed and friendly rather than stuffy and snooty.
As for the food, Central is known for its tasting menu. The menu is organized by the elevation its ingredients originate from, giving guests a culinary tour of Peru. Sea urchin, river shrimp, and ants all find their way in various forms onto the menu at Central. Again, reservations must be made months in advance and be prepared to make it rain if you enjoy a meal here.
NEXT: We made it to the top five restaurants in the world!
Chef Gaggan Anand’s Gaggan is a must for travelers in Bangkok. Though Gaggan is in Thailand, the restaurant specializes in elevated Indian food for the curry-loving gourmand. Gaggan is known for its 25 course tasting menu that transcends language – it’s written entirely in emojis! The food at Gaggan is outstanding enough for us to let that kind of emoji use slide.
Among Gaggan’s signature dishes you’ll find coriander foam with green peppercorn chicken kabobs, and potatoes stuffed with figs. Gaggan is usually booked up two months in advance, so making reservations early is key to enjoying this fine Indian restaurant.
NEXT: The number four spot takes us back to Manhattan.
4. Eleven Madison Park
In an art deco building in the financial district of Manhattan sits Eleven Madison Park. Guests at Eleven Madison Park are offered the tasting menu, which consists of seasonal dishes inspired by the fresh, local produce available in New York. Morel custard and caviar cheesecake are just a couple of the dishes people on Yelp have loved here.
Chocolate covered fresh pretzels and honey lavender duck are other show stopping dishes that have graced these tables. Although Eleven Madison Park doesn’t enforce a dress code, it’s never a bad idea to look extra sharp just to be on the safe side.
NEXT: An Argentinian chef brings something new to the world of fine French food.
Originally from Argentina, Chef Mauro Colagreco approaches French food from a unique angle all his own. Unlike many French chefs who regard their cuisine as something pure that can never be altered, Colagreco plays with his food, bringing in elements from many different types of world cuisine. He shares this fresh new approach to French food at Mirazur in Menton, France.
Signature Mirazur dishes include langoustine with kumquat and broad beans, polenta with popcorn, and hen’s egg with cream of onion, caper, and smoked herring. Veggies and herbs are grown in a garden behind the restaurant, adding extra freshness to the dishes.
NEXT: This Spanish restaurant has been called life-changing.
2. El Celler de Can Roca
At El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, food and family go hand in hand. The restaurant is run by the Roca brothers, a head chef, sommelier, and pastry chef. Their parents owned a restaurant called Can Roca, and El Celler de Can Roca was originally just next door. The Roca brothers offer traditional Catalan style cooking with creative twists that make it worthy of being the second best restaurant in the world.
Get your reservation months in advance to check out the 17 course tasting menu at El Celler de Can Roca. The menu changes often, but it has included white truffle brioche, prawns, and olive tree ice cream.
NEXT: We’re almost there! What will the best restaurant in the world be?
1. Osteria Francescana
What sets Osteria Francescana apart as the world’s best restaurant? For starters, Chef Massimo Bottura chose a modest location in Modena, Italy to hone his craft to perfection. The cuisine is Italian, earthy, and yet refined. Some favorite dishes include the famous Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano, which offers tastes of parmesan cheese in different textures and preparations at various stages in the aging process.
Master of None fans will remember this is where Aziz Ansari’s character, Dev, enjoys an out-of-this-world meal in season 2. But you don’t have to be a celebrity to get the VIP treatment at Osteria Francescana. According to Yelp reviewers, Chef Massimo makes a point to often come out of the kitchen and greet all the diners, giving a more personal touch to his fine restaurant.