As students, we’re pretty accustomed to that broke ass, last minute lifestyle. Whether it’s about meeting deadlines or meeting up for drinks (but only a couple, ’cause pre-drinking is where the budget is at), life on campus is spontaneous and relatively cheap. However, the world of elite fine dining requires both greater preparation and bigger bank accounts.
After all, you can’t expect that the world’s most exclusive eateries won’t be in demand! To illustrate this, here are 9 restaurants that prove that good things come to those who wait (and prepare in advance, and cash loaded).
1. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
Widely regarded as the best restaurant in the world, Copenhagen’s Noma is rumored to receive between 20,000 to 100,000 reservation enquiries from diners per month. Opened in 2003, the restaurant is known for its reinvention and interpretation of the Nordic Cuisine. Interested in Nordic foods? Make sure to check out our beginner’s guide to the Nordic diet. Once you secure a table, the inside of Noma is on the intimate side — the restaurant seats just 45 diners, guaranteeing individualized attention to all of its guests.
2. Soho House, London, United Kingdom
If exclusivity is what you’re after, Soho House is a great bet. Based in London with outposts all around the world, Soho House is a haven for the creative elite. In fact, only those who work in the entertainment industry are granted membership inside its doors (and if you’re a member, you so fancy). In a Sex and the City episode, even Samantha Jones had to resort to pretending to be a member in order to get inside. All guests need to either be members or know a member to enter to the complex, which house members-only guest houses, bars, spas, and of course, high-quality restaurants. Members are purged regularly, since the club aims to maintain the right balance of people.
3. The Fat Duck, Bray, United Kingdom
Foodies need no introduction to celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal. His Berkshire flagship, The Fat Duck, has won acclaim after acclaim. The restaurant gained its first Michelin star in 1999, its second in 2002 and its third in 2004, making it the fastest in the United Kingdom to earn three Michelin stars. Such success has brought a great deal of exclusivity: The Ulterior Epicure’s Bonjwing Lee once woke up at 3 a.m. for several days in a row to call The Fat Duck precisely when its reservation line opened — with no success.
4. Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden
In what could be classified as one of the world’s most isolated places for a restaurant, Fäviken is nestled within a 20,000 acre hunting estate in the Åre mountains of Northern Sweden. Its chef, Magnus Nilsson, sources his ingredients hyper locally. His team hunts, fishes or forages food from the surrounding fields and rivers — a challenging feat considering that nothing grows so far north during half of the year. Despite the difficulties, Nilsson’s restaurant has been highly regarded, even named as one of the top ten in the world by Zagat. However, if you make the trip up north, prepare to stay the night — there really is nowhere else to go outside this 12 seater restaurant and guesthouse.
5. Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo, Japan
Movie enthusiasts, unite! The 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi cemented the fame of 90-year-old Jiro Ono as the world’s greatest masters of sushi. Want to check out more foodie movies? Here are 12 recommendations from Spoon! Nowadays, securing a seat at his 10-cover, three-Michelin-star Tokyo restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro is a near impossibility. However, the effort is completely worthwhile. The sushi even got President Obama’s seal of approval, who named it the best sushi he’s ever had during his trip to Japan in 2014.
6. Hungarian State Opera, Budapest, Hungary
Planning to stay at Budapest’s Four Seasons hotel anytime soon? Well you are in luck, because hotel guests have the exclusive opportunity to book The Hungarian State Opera for a private dinner. The experience is customisable to the diner’s tastes, but most meals are accompanied by a live orchestra performance, providing an almost uncannily intimate experience in a theatre that usually seats 1,200. Prices for the experience start at a totally (not) affordable $87,000. For that amount of money, I could completely cover my tuition at St Andrews (LOL).
7. Trois Mec, Los Angeles, USA
Taking a leaf out of Willy Wonka’s book, Trois Mec only offers a table to diners who have scored a golden ticket beforehand. The catch? Golden tickets to the restaurant go on sale every Friday at 8 a.m. and sell out almost immediately. However, Ludo Lefebvre’s irresistible creations are worth the effort — with items such as eel with white chocolate mashed potatoes, lamb tartare with buckwheat tabbouleh, his menu is filled with intriguing flavour combinations guaranteed to excite any foodie.
8. Longitude 131, Yulara, Australia
Those in search of the picture perfect dining experience need to look no further. When the weather allows, Longitude 131 luxury camp in Australia sets up Table 131, an outdoor restaurant that overlooks the iconic Uluru. As part of the experience, guests of the tented camp can enjoy the sunset alongside a four-course menu, fine Australian wines and local entertainment. Make sure to bring the DSLR along, you’ll want to document this!
9. Four Seasons Mauritius, Beau Champ, Mauritius
Similarly to its sister hotel in Budapest, the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius also offers their guests a unique dining experience. The Sea Cloud is a floating platform in a tranquil lagoon whose undeniable beauty can be enjoyed by private diners staying at the hotel. Intrigued? You can enjoy the one-of-a-kind setting alongside a candlelit dinner for the bargain price of $800 per couple.
So, basically, all I need is to sell both of my kidneys, and I’ll be on my way to eating some of the world’s best food in some of the world’s coolest places. You know what? It might be worth it.