When you travel to certain places, you expect to pay more for certain items. A hamburger in a theme park, for instance, will almost always cost more than a burger from a local diner.
But some restaurants have taken the price inflation to whole new levels. Even people who regularly search for holidays to New York and understand an average restaurant dinner costs close to £33 per person are shocked at the prices of some ultra-exclusive menu items. Granted, most people don’t eat these creations on a regular basis and they generally contain rare ingredients (or even jewels) but even the most lavish spender is bound to pause when confronted with these over-the-top versions of old favourites.
Zillion-Dollar Frittata, Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien, New York City
While this breakfast delicacy may not actually cost a “zillion” dollars — how many zeroes is that exactly? — for a traveller on a budget, it might as well. The real price tag is $US1,000 (about £656) for a meal containing six eggs, a whole lobster and 10 ounces of caviar as a garnish. Much of this dish’s price, which the restaurant admits is not a big seller, comes from the caviar. The caver itself comes from Caspian Sea sturgeon and retails for up to $US180 per ounce.
Golden Opulence Sundae, Serendipity 3, New York
Another New York landmark serving up a mortgage payment in a bowl is Serendipity 3, a legendary ice cream parlour. To celebrate the shop’s 50th anniversary in 2005, chefs created this decadent delight, containing real gold and carrying a price tag of $US1,000. Beyond the sheets of gold leaf made from real gold, the sundae is your average hot fudge sundae, albeit of the highest quality with the rarest ingredients on earth, including Tahitian vanilla and syrup made from Amedei Porcelana, the most expensive chocolate in the world. The sundae is only available by special order and the restaurant reports selling one per month.
FleurBurger 5000, Fleur, Las Vegas
At your local fast food joint, a hamburger probably costs no more than a few Euros. But the burger at Las Vegas hotspot Fleur is not your average burger. This $US5000 (£3280) sandwich is made with Kobe beef, and topped with black truffles and foie gras and served with a side of French fries. It’s not necessarily the burger driving up the price tag, though. The accompanying bottle of 1990 Chateau Petrus wine adds a few grand to the cost. Since most diners haven’t hit it big yet when they visit the restaurant, there’s also a wine-free option that still clocks in at $US75.
Bulgari Martini, Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo
This drink at one of Japan’s swankiest hotels is not your average martini. For about £10,500, it had better not be. The drink itself is a classic martini, albeit mixed up with top-shelf liquor. However, this martini comes with more than an olive as a garnish. Instead, make it to the bottom of this glass and you’ll find a flawless one-carat Bulgari diamond. This tab-buster also includes a free setting for the stone at any Bulgari store.
White Truffle Pizza, Margo’s, Malta
There seems to be a competition among pizza-makers worldwide for the title of most expensive pizza. For a while, celebrity restaurateur Gordon Ramsey held the title for his truffle concoction at Maze restaurant, costing a paltry £100. New York’s Nino’s Bellissima took that title away with a $US1000 creation containing lobster and six kinds of caviar. But the true title goes to Margo’s Pizzeria in tiny Malta. This restaurant offers a white truffle pizza garnished with gold leaf for $US2,400 (£1575). On the plus side, the restaurant gives the profits from the pizza to charity. Only about two each year are actually sold.
Chances are, when you’re on the go and need a nibble, you aren’t looking for a gold-crusted pizza or a caviar-covered omelette. Most of these restaurants also offer more affordable items (Norma’s has two chocolate waffles with peanut butter for a mere £12.) If you want to splurge, though, these high-end eateries make it easy for you to do it — and do it in style.
Image by Marko Kudjerski From Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author: While she considers herself a foodie, Abigail Saunders would never dream of spending thousands on a breakfast dish. However, she does enjoy covering such luxuries as a travel correspondent for a food blog.