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Eating at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant Is More Expensive Than Ever Before

"The most important thing is that our diners feel it’s worth it.”

Fruit sorbet cake Courtesy Per Se

A meal at a Michelin three-star restaurant has always included a premium price tag, but heading into 2023, these temples of gastronomy are commanding prices never seen before.

All across the country, restaurants have had to raise costs thanks to various factors: the tight labor market, the war in Ukraine, a slowed-down global supply chain. It’s especially acute at the country’s very best fine dining establishments because of how labor intensive these restaurants tend to be. You need plenty of hands to hold all those tweezers, after all.

In New York, for example, Thomas Keller’s Per Se is raising its base price for the first time in four years, according to Eater NY. A meal there will now cost $390, an increase of $35. And that’s a relatively modest bump compared to the competition around the city, as Eater noted that a dinner for two could easily run $1,000 or more at at least 15 restaurants in NYC.

Eleven Madison Park
A selection of vegetable-based dishes, including fried peppers with Swiss chard, at Daniel Humm’s reimagined Eleven Madison Park Evan Sung

At the three-star Eleven Madison Park, the vegan tasting menu went up $30 and the restaurant brought back tipping (an effective 20 percent increase, if you leave a standard tip). That took the cost of dinner from $364 to about $470 per person, according to Eater. And Brooklyn Fare upped its tasting menu by $35, bringing the total to $430.

This trend isn’t exclusive to New York. Michelin three-star spots across the United States have raised prices recently. The San Francisco Chronicle noted in October that Dominique Crenn’s Atelier Crenn had raised its prices almost 40 percent from 2016, from $298 to $410. Since that article was published, the cost of a dinner has gone up to $450. And at Corey Lee’s Benu, the tasting menu pre-pandemic was $325, while now it’s $375.

“One consideration which is more subjective is how what we offer compares to other experiences,” Lee told the Chronicle back in October. “We need to make sure we’re financially stable, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that our diners feel it’s worth it.”

A 2019 dish from Benu The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Elsewhere, a meal at Chicago’s Alinea would have cost you $395 in 2019; now you’ll be shelling out $485. At the French Laundry in Yountville, California, it’s a similar story: A dinner that was $350 in 2019 now costs $390.

Of course, many of these restaurants continue to sell out night after night. So, as Lee Said, customers are showing they believe the price tag is worth it.

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