Few things in life can be more exciting — or more daunting — than the Special Occasion. Be it a birthday, holiday, anniversary, promotion, graduation, or something different altogether, special occasions call for special meals, eaten at special restaurants. Even though more and more of us are eschewing fancy sit-down spots these days for less-expensive home cooked and fast-casual meals, there will always be a reason to visit an expensive restaurant every so often, so we’ve tracked down the most expensive restaurant in every state and the District of Columbia.
Finding the most expensive restaurant in any given state is actually a little more difficult than you might expect. Even if there are $60 entrees on the menu, if you really just want to order a $12 appetizer and drink water you can get in and out paying less than you would at your local Applebee’s. So for today’s purposes, we’re saying that expensive restaurants fall into two categories: those with very pricey entrees (usually steakhouses), and those where the only option is an expensive tasting menu. These are the two types of eateries where the average bill is higher than any other type of restaurant, so in our opinion these are what most people think of when they think of “expensive restaurants.” We also opted not to include high-end chain steakhouses in our list, in the interest of keeping it local.
Some of the most expensive restaurants in a given state are so outrageously expensive that a dinner for two can cost the same as a MacBook. Some states, on the other hand, just aren’t really home to any outrageously expensive restaurants, so even the priciest spot in the whole state doesn’t break the bank. Read on to see what the most expensive restaurant in your state is, and the next time you have a special occasion to celebrate (or when you win the lottery), you’ll know exactly where to go.
Frank Stitt’s Birmingham showstopper has a menu that changes daily, but it’s pretty much a guarantee that you won’t be leaving without dropping a pretty penny; nearly every entrée costs more than $30. Good luck getting out without sampling some of the astounding oyster selection, which will cost you $18 per half-dozen.
Located in Anchorage’s luxurious Hotel Captain Cook, Crow’s Nest offers 360-degree views and a very expensive menu from chef Reuben Gerber. The least expensive entrée (Penn Cove mussels) costs $36, and prices soar to $48 for a ribeye, $58 for king crab legs, and $68 for seafood paella. The tableside bananas Foster, a dessert favorite, will set you back $14 per diner.
A visit to Scottsdale’s popular outpost of the high-end Bourbon Steak from chef Michael Mina will definitely cost you a pretty penny. Chilled seafood appetizers start at $24 for oysters and go all the way to the dreaded "market price" for a shellfish tasting; non-steak entrees average around $45; and steaks start at $45 for a 9-ounce skirt steak and go all the way to $185 for a 40-ounce tomahawk ribeye. A-5 Wagyu will also set you back $45 per ounce. If you’re eyeing that 16-ounce coyboy ribeye for your birthday dinner, you’d better save up $79 for it.
Little Rock’s priciest restaurant is located inside the Capital Hotel, and is overseen by James Beard Award-winning chef Joël Antunes. His appetizers range in price from $14 (chicken liver mousse) to $26 (seared foie gras), and entrees start at $26 (beef bolognese) and top out at $49 (filet mignon). A five-course set menu with wine pairings clocks in at $125.
The legendary Urasawa is one of America’s finest Japanese restaurants, with two Michelin stars to its name, and it’s also not just the most expensive restaurant in California, but in the whole country. It boasts a daily-changing omakase menu of 25 or more courses, which will set you back $400 before tax, tip, and beverages. The average check costs more than $1,000 per person.
Frasca Food & Wine/Yelp
If you decide to celebrate a special occasion at Colorado’s best restaurant, it’ll cost you: The seven-course tasting menu costs $115, plus $100 if you opt for the suggested wine pairings. If you want until Monday, however, a four-course menu only costs $55 (plus $21 for an optional cheese course).
David Burke Prime/Yelp
The best steakhouse in Connecticut, David Burke Prime, is also the state’s most expensive restaurant. Located inside the popular Foxwoods Resort Casino, this steakhouse from chef David Burke dry-ages steaks in a room lined with Himalayan salt, and if you want to sample one you’re going to have to shell out: They start at $55 (30-day rib-eye) and stretch up to $72 for a 75-day rib-eye. The most expensive menu item is a $140 steak for two, and the least expensive entrée is a $36 boneless short rib.
Wilmington’s leading steakhouse is a very classy establishment, but don’t expect to get out without shelling out. Their signature steak, a 45-day dry-aged rib-eye, costs $44.95, and other entrees start at $27.95 (pan-roasted striped bass) and range to $48.95 (24-ounce porterhouse).
Every day, chef Kevin Cory gets the highest-quality seafood available and puts them on a menu that changes daily according to what he was able to procure. Only 16 diners have the privilege of sampling his creations each night at Naoe, and each will pay $220, plus 20 percent service charge and sales tax, for the opportunity.
Star Provisions’ upscale flagship only offers a four-course tasting menu, with six options per course, for a set price of $95. If you’d like to supplement with caviar, that’ll cost you between $90 and $150.
This incredibly luxurious and upscale restaurant has played host to Barack and Michelle Obama, and if you want to dine like a president you’ll have to pay for it. The French-Japanese fusion menu from chef Misao Masuda, which includes 14 courses of dishes like whole kasugodai with white sturgeon caviar, A5 Saga Wagyu filet mignon, and Japanese risotto with truffles, costs $300 per person.
This swanky steakhouse spares no expense in its sourcing, and it expects its diners to spare no expense either. Pricey appetizers include a $99 seafood platter, $37 foie gras, and $37 sautéed pink abalone. Steaks start at $34 for a six-ounce filet and climb to $75 for a dry-aged ribeye (authentic Japanese Wagyu is also available at market price). You can also splurge on a $72 surf and turf or $95 for Santa Barbara abalone meunière with jasmine rice and asparagus.
At Grant Achatz’s three-Michelin Star flagship, a handful of different prix-fixe menus are available, and they’re all exorbitantly expensive. On the lower end is the Salon menu, which consists of 10 to 14 courses for $175 to $225 per person. The Gallery menu includes 16 to 18 courses and costs $285 to $345. And at the top of the heap is the Alinea Kitchen Table, a private experience for groups of six that costs $385 per person. Tip is included, but beverage pairings cost extra.
This Indianapolis landmark has been going strong since 1902, but prices have gone up just a little bit since then. The least expensive steak on the menu, a 14-ounce rib-eye, costs $41, and the bone-in porterhouse tips the scales at $59. If you want to pair your filet with a lobster tail, be prepared to drop $79.
Des Moines’ premier steakhouse serves only USDA Prime beef, so diners should expect to pay for the quality. Steaks start at $42 for a single cut prime rib, and top out at the $64 24 ounce porterhouse. While you’re shelling out, you might as well drop $19 on pancetta-wrapped scallops and $10 on a foie gras torchon steak topper while you’re at it.
Scotch & Sirloin/Yelp
Scotch and sirloin both have a reputation for being pricey luxuries, and a visit to the restaurant with that name is a luxury too. Start with a $27 cheese and meat board, a $28 appetizer sampler, or a $56 shellfish bouquet, and go for the $46 bone-in rib-eye or $45 slab of prime rib for your main course. A $76 Chateaubriand for two is also a wise move.
Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse/Yelp
This high-end Louisville steakhouse is a must-visit for high rollers, who drop $23 on oysters Rockefeller, $25 per king crab leg, and $75 on bone-in filet mignons. If you want to pair your filet with an herb roasted lobster tail, it’ll cost you 92 bucks.
Yelp/ Ken P.
If you’re looking to drop some serious cash in the Crescent City, head to Doris Metropolitan in the French Quarter, where the beef is USDA Prime and dry-aged on-premises. Appetizers average $17, most non-steak entrees are over $40, and steaks start at $38 for a 10 ounce butcher’s cut and top off at $82 for a porterhouse. A-5 Wagyu filets and ribeyes are also available for the real high rollers, at $155 and $185, respectively.
Going strong for 45 years, The White Barn is the fine dining restaurant of the elegant and inviting Grace White Barn Inn & Spa, and the beneficiary of AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star endorsements. Chef Matthew Padilla and his team use local, seasonal ingredients to craft menus that change weekly. The resulting four-course prix-fixe costs $125 per person, and $75 for wine pairings.
Jasmin Hejazi Desai; interior photos: Dean Alexander
Open since 1997, restaurateur Tony Foreman and chef Cindy Wolf’s Charleston has been the go-to destination for well-to-do Baltimoreans. The tasting-menu-only restaurant’s prices start at $79 for three courses ($135 with wine pairings), and stretch up to $124 for six ($222 with wine pairings).
Courtesy of L’Espalier
Chef Frank McClelland’s high-end, luxurious, white-tablecloth Boston institution offers two nightly tasting menus and no à la carte options. A five-course tasting costs $98 (plus $76 for wine), the 8-course tasting costs $118 (plus $98 for wine), and the Chef's Tasting Journey will set you back $208, plus $152 for wine.
This elegant and classy institution has been going strong since 1938. Dining in this very fancy spot will certainly set you back, as steaks start at $32 for a small six-ounce filet and go all the way to $79 for a 32 ounce porterhouse. Non-steak entrees, like lamb chops and Dover sole, average over $40, with plenty of market price selections.
Courtesy of Murray’s
Serving Minneapolis’ finest steaks since 1946, Murray’s is a venerable institution that costs a pretty penny to dine at. Steaks average around $50 (and most non-steak entrees cost well over $30), and if you’d like to sample the restaurant’s legendary Silver Butter Knife Steak for Two, a 28-ounce strip loin, it’ll cost $105. A 24-ounce Chateaubriand costs $115.
This popular steakhouse with a New Orleans spin is a great spot in Jackson to drop some serious coin. A 16-ounce rib-eye for $36 is a relative bargain; the New York strip costs $49, the filet is $51, and the cowboy rib-eye costs $54. If you’re not planning on ordering steak, you should still expect to spend around $30 per entrée.
This cozy Kansas City landmark looks relaxed and low-key, which makes the super-expensive upscale French menu even more of a shock to take in. Appetizers average $14, seafood dishes average $35, and steak entrees will set you back up to $62.
This white-tablecloth restaurant located in the Northern Hotel is a destination for locals with some cash to burn. The menu puts local ingredients to good use in dishes like Montana-pork porterhouse and an all-Montana cheese plate, but you’ll want to wait for a special occasion to dine there; a tomahawk rib-eye costs $72, a porterhouse costs $51, and Alaskan halibut costs $32.
Omaha has no shortage of great steakhouses, but the priciest one of them all is Omaha Prime. Start with a $16 appetizer of roasted bone marrow, and follow up with a $46 slab of prime rib, a $48 24-ounce porterhouse or 20-ounce New York strip, a $55 rack of lamb chops, or market price Alaskan King crab legs and lobster tail.
Located inside the MGM Grand, French master chef Joël Robuchon’s eponymous restaurant is serving the most expensive meal in a city that’s chock full of them. The restaurant offers several tasting menus, which start at $127 per person. From there it’s $169 and $250 before topping out at the crème de la crème of American tasting menus, the 18-course degustation, for a whopping $445 per person, before drinks, tax, and tip.
This high-end steakhouse is well-known for its 200-plus-bottle wine list as well as its expense-account menu. Steaks start at $43 for a 16-ounce Delmonico, and high rollers can opt for a $58 16-ounce bone-in filet. Filet lovers can also choose between six different preparations and two sizes, topping out at $53 for a 12-ounce local mushroom-topped steak.
Located inside the bucolic Crystal Springs Resort, New Jersey’s most expensive restaurant is the playground of chef Anthony Bucco, who works closely with local farmers and purveyors to source the finest seasonal ingredients available and craft them into very pricey dishes. Two menus are available: a five course “Anthology” tasting for $115 (plus $55 for wines) and a seven course degustation for $145 (plus $65 for wines). The wine cellar here is also very impressive, home to more than 6,000 labels.
Anasazi Restaurant and Bar/Yelp
The luxurious Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi is home to Santa Fe’s most upscale restaurant, Anasazi. Chef Edgar Beas sources much of his menu from more than 20 local farms and purveyors, and the end result is a quintessential New Mexican dining experience. Appetizers range from $14 to $19, and entrees range from $30 to $45.
In order to be the most expensive restaurant in New York, you need to be really expensive, and chef Masayoshi Takayama’s Time Warner Center flagship is without a doubt really, really expensive. Should you decide to blow your next paycheck on his (admittedly incredible) creations, plan on dropping a flat fee of $595 per person, before drinks and tax. At least gratuity is included.
Open since 1980 inside the AAA Five Diamond-rated, Relais and Châteaux-operated Fearrington House Inn, Fearrington House Restaurant offers two different menus: a three-course ($95, plus $75 for wines) and a four-course ($115, plus $85 for wines).
40 Steak & Seafood
Each room in this upscale restaurant references a different period in North Dakota’s history, but if you want to dine there it’ll cost you. The New York strip costs $32, and the Junior Cut and King Cut cowboy rib-eyes will set you back $40 and $65, respectively, and a bacon-wrapped filet costs $34.
Red, The Steakhouse has two Ohio locations as well as one in Miami (plus Indianapolis and Pittsburgh coming soon), and they’re all expensive. At the Ohio locations, seafood platters cost $39 and $79, steaks range from $30 to $39, and the surf and turf is “market price” — and we all know what that signifies.
This upscale OKC destination is the best place in town for a nice steak, and it’s also the most expensive restaurant in the whole state. Crab cakes cost $18; steaks range from $33 (for a 10-ounce sirloin) to $53 (for a dry-aged grass-fed rib-eye); and there are plenty of “market price” items like lobster tails and fresh daily seafood.
At Castagna, chef Justin Woodward is wowing Portlanders with his tasting menus, which put local ingredients to very good use. Two menus are available, and they’re both pricey: a seven-course meal that costs $100 (plus $65 for wine) and a 13-course meal that costs $165 (plus $85 for wine).
Chef Sean Brock is a Charleston legend, and he's divided his acclaimed McCrady’s into two different restaurants: the casual (but still pricey) McCrady’s Tavern, and a high-end tasting counter named McCrady’s. The 22-seat restaurant is the best way to experience the inner workings of Brock’s mind, but it’ll cost you $115 for the privilege, with an optional $35 caviar supplement.
Established by Myril Arch in 1986, the no-frills, no-reservations Cattleman’s Club is the best place in South Dakota for a steak, and also the state’s most expensive. Prime rib ranges from $15.50 to $27 and bone-in steaks cost from $26.50 to $32. That’s one good thing about South Dakota: Even the most expensive restaurants aren’t too pricey.
The legendary Barn at Blackberry Farm celebrates the bounty of the Smoky Mountains, and it single-handedly invented what’s described as Foothills Cuisine. If you want to dine there (and are somehow able to get a reservation) there’s two things to know: Jackets are required, and it’s very expensive. Dinner costs $155 per person (and $250 with wine pairings), with tax and tip extra.
Texas’ most expensive restaurant can be found just south of Houston, in chef Ronnie Killen’s hometown of Pearland. Steaks at Killen’s start at $42 for an 8-ounce wet-aged filet, and top out at $175 for 48-ounce domestic Wagyu longbone ribeye. In between you’ll find a $150 Wagyu New York strip flight, a $125 six-ounce Japanese A5 Wagyu New York strip, a $125 Australian Wagyu strip, and several other luxury cuts for those looking to burn a whole lot of cash. But if you're in the mood for a simple dry-aged ribeye, that'll set you back $62.
Located inside Park City’s luxurious Waldorf Astoria, the season-driven menu at Powder is creative, delicious, and quite expensive. A plate of local cheese and charcuterie costs $32 ($42 if you include venison jerky), appetizers include $17 pork belly and $19 tuna crudo, and entrees top out at $44 venison.
Burlington’s Guild Tavern supplies everything you might need for a fun night out on the town — if you can foot the bill. Even the burger is pricey at $19.95, and a big plate of barbecue will set you back $46.95; steaks range in price from $42.95 to $48.95, and a steak for two costs $79.95.
Patrick O’Connell’s Inn at Little Washington, located in the Colonial village of Washington, Virginia, is about as good a restaurant as you’ll ever encounter. There are three different tasting menus you can choose from, but they all have the same price tag: $218, or $368 if you include wines.
Located just outside of Seattle, The Herbfarm offers a seasonally inspired dining experience that celebrates the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Each unique meal features the freshest ingredients from forest, farm, and sea and is paired with five or six wines; the menus, with themes such as Truffle Treasure and Chambers of the Sea, change about every two weeks as different ingredients become seasonally available. The cost of your meal varies day to day, but expect to pay anywhere from $225 to $285 per person.
Chef José Andrés’ two Michelin-starred masterpiece is the jewel in the crown of the D.C. dining scene, and a must-visit for those interested in avant-garde cooking. Only six guests are served at a time, and the price tag for just the food is $275 per person. You can add beverage pairings for $115, $195, or $500.
The Chop House/Yelp
Located in the heart of charming Charleston, West Virginia’s most expensive restaurant is a classy joint that serves some fine USDA Prime steaks aged for 28 to 34 days. Steaks start at $39.95 for steak frites and top out at $53.95 for the porterhouse and cowboy rib-eye.
This classy Green Bay steakhouse is a great place to drop some serious cash. A $26 cheese plate is a good way to start your meal, followed up by $47 filet, $49 lamb chops, or $53 cowboy ribeye. If you’re feeling especially spendy, opt for one of the “reserve cuts,” which include a $69 Kansas City strip or a $79 bone-in dry-aged 22-ounce rib-eye.
Yelp/ Merlin O.
You need to ride a gondola up to Piste Mountain Bistro in the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, but you’ll be glad you did if you can afford it. Start your meal with a $22 appetizer of Manila clams with pork sausage and green garlic, follow up with a $45 strip loin with oyster cream and root vegetables, and finish off with a $13 beetroot sponge cake. It's pricey, but it's one of the best restaurants in Wyoming.
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