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11.20.2005

The World's Priciest Meals? Hardly.

Short of the Robb Report, which is really a magazine for those who aspire to be rich, there's no magazine who has a greater claim on having the pulse of the wealthiest in the world than Forbes. Thanks to a link from Luxist this week, we are treated to Forbes list of the world's most expensive restaurants. But before anyone with cash to burn prints out a list and jumps on a plane, I've got to point out one thing:

The folks at Forbes have no idea what the heck they're talking about.

First of all, and most glaring, the prices that they are quoting are laughable. Take for instance, the most expensive restaurant in the world -- according to Forbes: Aragawa. Now it just so happens that I've actually been to this little restaurant -- a small carpeted, Victorian lounge in Tokyo that is supposed to be the world's best steakhouse. Forbes quotes a price of $277 for this restaurant (presumably without wine). Ignoring the fact that I have had meals more expensive than that in US restaurants that don't even make their list, my meal at Aragawa ended up being $575 per person, and my dining companion and I only ordered half-orders of steak! Granted, that price included a $125 bottle of wine, but even so, it's clear that the folks from Forbes need to brush up on their research, or, God forbid, actually visit these restaurants. (In case you were wondering about that Kobe steak -- it was fantastic, but it wasn't worth the money.)

Secondly, and a failing of any list like this, there are tons of restaurants that they missed, especially in Tokyo and Hong Kong, where bills can be so astronomical they run credit reports at the door (OK, not entirely true, but you get the idea). Also, while I'm not an expert on the Michelin three star restaurants of Paris, from what I've read I don't think that Arpege is actually the priciest of them.

In any case, the list is at least good for a laugh or two, as well as putting a few new restaurants on your mental map (like the ones in Budapest and Mexico City). My advice though ? At least triple the prices.

Comments (7)

Amy wrote:
11.20.05 at 2:36 PM

I noticed that too. The first mistake they made was to partner with Zagat to come up with prices. What a joke! Zagat doesn't check prices, they just report what their survey-takers say the prices are.

chuck wrote:
11.20.05 at 6:37 PM

i think they've mislabeled their story.

they have a similar one for US restaurants and i had the same immediate reaction.

however, if you consider the restaurants they've chosen for their respective countries, it starts to make more sense. of course, you could load up on Paris, NY, & Tokyo eateries, but they have picked an example of the most expensive for various countries.

Pim wrote:
11.20.05 at 7:20 PM

But Alder darling, Arpège is certainly the most expensive *** in France. That doesn't mean you couldn't spend more money elsewhere, but the menu price is definitely more expensive than anybody else in Paris, hence in France.

But you are right about the fact that these guys need to actually visit the restaurants they talk about. 176 euro at L'Arpège? How did they get away with paying only that, ordered the soup and drank only water?

maggie wrote:
11.20.05 at 7:45 PM

Is that Rome I hear falling?

I assume wine prices are excluded? If I may be so bold. No restaurant, anywhere, is worth $500 a head. I've worked with some amazing top chefs, and I wouldn't pay that for any of their food. No way, no day. Sorry Wolfie. God, I feel dirty even talking about something so absurdly extravagant.

Alder wrote:
11.20.05 at 8:12 PM

Ah, Pim,

Thanks for setting me straight. I had my facts wrong. Good to know that 176 Euro can at least get me some soup....

:-)

Alder wrote:
11.20.05 at 8:14 PM

Maggie,

Thanks for the note. I tend to agree with you. I've had steak dinners in Tokyo that at $250 a head were worth it, but that $500 steak just wasn't twice as good as they were.

Jack wrote:
11.20.05 at 9:11 PM

Just like $500 wines aren't twice as good as $250 wines, eh?

But, I agree wholeheartedly in principal...and suspect that Hong Kong restaurants alone could beat all of the Western world in pricing. Wine pricing, too.

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