Sitting down to a good meal is one of life’s greatest treasures. Whether you’re dining alone, catching up with a friend, wooing a romantic interest, or enjoying some family time, food definitely makes the experience. Of course, the ambiance does factor into the equation, but still, it’s the menu that puts a restaurant on the map. This collection of some of the finest tasting menus in the United States bring decadence and palate-pleasing creations together to form a culinary adventure you won’t soon forget.
ALINEA – Chicago, Illinois
This award-winning restaurant is home to head chef Grant Achatz, and had the distinction of being named the 6th best restaurant in the world in 2011 by Restaurant Magazine. The beautifully crafted avant-garde dishes that make up the menu look more like fine works of art than food, but that’s part of the Alinea experience—it’s delightful, surprising and unusual. Plan in advance to secure your reservation, since bookings open two months out on the 15th of each month.
CHEF’S TABLE AT BROOKLYN FARE – Brooklyn, New York
Pull up a seat at the kitchen counter for an intimate and communal dining experience at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. Chef César Ramirez has created an elaborate menu for this three-Michelin-Star restaurant, focused on seafood and shellfish. He draws his inspiration from French technique and Japanese cuisine, and the tasting menu changes seasonally.
ELEVEN MADISON PARK – New York, New York
This extravagant, three-Michelin-Star restaurant offers guests the full New York experience. From the breathtaking view of Madison Square Park to the elaborate menu that bases each meal on locally sourced New York ingredients, Chef Daniel Humm continually delights and enchants diners. The slightly whimsical atmosphere draws the diner in to a true New York experience for honest to goodness, quintessential New York dining at its finest.
THE FRENCH LAUNDRY – Yountville, California
This luxurious fine dining experience offers a choice of two menus created by Chef Thomas Keller: the chef’s tasting menu and the vegetable tasting menu. In a unique, remarkable twist, no ingredient is repeated throughout either menu. Guests who choose the chef’s menu may find themselves enjoying items like charcoal-grilled Japanese Wagyu or slow-cooked steelhead trout. Those who select the vegetable menu are equally enchanted.
JOËL ROBUCHON — Las Vegas, Nevada
The opulence and luxury of this three-Michelin-Star restaurant serves as a fitting backdrop to the equally extravagant French-based menu which reads more like an event than a meal. From the cannelloni of avocado and Scottish salmon, to the truffle langoustine ravioli in foie gras sauce, this menu promises a culinary adventure that will excite the senses and spark the imagination. And if you’re thirsty, you can sip from the restaurant’s equally impressive fine wine list.
LES NOMADES – Chicago, Illinois
Tucked into a charming brownstone just off Michigan Avenue, the exterior of this captivating restaurant does little to hint at the stunning interior and positively decadent tasting menu. The spectacular floral arrangements and fine décor that adorn throughout create a comfortable space where guests can soak in the atmosphere while enjoying the elegant, diverse menu of French cuisine by Chef Roland Liccioni. Choose a four-course tasting menu or indulge in both a seafood and meat entrée with the five-course experience.
QUINCE – San Francisco, California
Diners at this restaurant are treated to not only a mouthwatering, nine-course sampling menu (or an expanded version), but they also have the option to dine à la carte as well. While the atmosphere is more laid back than some of its contemporaries, make no mistake, Quince is an elegant, sophisticated dining experience with three Michelin stars. Chef Michael Tusk is a James Beard Foundation-award winner and prepares treats such as lamb, squid and lobster.
Urasawa — Beverly Hills, California
This luxurious Rodeo Drive restaurant serves a complex menu featuring Japanese cuisine and sushi. The limited seating makes the experience all the more intimate. Chef Hiroyuki Urasawa carefully crafts the menu, adding delectable, Japanese-inspired offerings like Kobe beef grilled over charcoal, junsai and ishiyaki. Guests can also choose from a very impressive sake list. Of course, the most raves go to the seemingly endless exotic sushi menu. Chef Urasawa brings creativity and decadence to each incredible creation. This is the culinary adventure of a lifetime.