Fancy Restaurants For A Special Occasion Or Just BecauseThis one's for the celebrating, the sponsored, or for the boss who doesn’t care what it costs.
Sometimes you just feel like being fancy. Maybe you got 'flewed' out, maybe your tax return hit, or maybe Amazon mistakenly delivered you a cummerbund (finders keepers, Bezos). Whatever the case, let’s go out to eat caviar and sh!t.
But spending money is the easy part, determining where to dine requires the discernment of a thousand socialites. While we won’t help with the bill, we’ve got you covered on the recommendations. From pricey tasting menus that make you feel like a VIP to places where your drink bill alone will cost you a couple hundos, these are some of the swankiest (and priciest) restaurants in town.
photo credit: Amy Sinclair
This eight-seat omakase counter in the Star Metals building has one of the most expensive prix fixe menus in the city ($315 per person). Their fresh, flavorful plates and elegant, minimalist interior fit the bill of a fancy, buttoned-up restaurant. But this is a fine dining atmosphere where we feel most at home. Fans of thick nigiri cuts will enjoy Hayakawa's sizable mouthfuls of Japanese-imported selections like bluefin tuna, yellowtail, and striped bass, yet it’s the early courses on the 16-item menu that stand out most. Slivers of tender, raw scallop drenched in a kiwi-miso paste puree and the nutty watercress with a punchy wasabi oil feel like a suspenseful story that keeps you stimulated until the very last bite.
photo credit: Andrew Thomas Lee
If you came to this high-end French steakhouse on the Upper Westside to celebrate a big night, you have plenty of quality options with $200 porterhouse steaks, caviar plates, and a beef wellington that you’ll need to order 24 hours in advance. Because of the blackout curtains and dim amber lighting, the space looks like midnight even at 5pm, making it a discreet outing for celeb spotting, sneaky links, or for blowing your tax refund without being spotted by that relative who’s always preaching about fiscal responsibility.
photo credit: Andrew Thomas Lee
When you’re looking to impress an out-of-towner or needing somewhere to celebrate a milestone anniversary, make a reservation at Lazy Betty in Candler Park. With a $205 per person seven-course tasting menu, the restaurant wows with unexpected creations like beef fat bourbon cocktails and corn mousse dessert with sweet and syrupy Peruvian corn tea, fluffy popcorn, and charred corn ribs. If you’re really feeling saucy, pick up the wine pairing option for an additional $145. Because of the creative plates, it definitely classifies as a fancy venue in our book, but the restaurant feels far more casual and cozy than most others on the list. Seriously, no one would clutch their pearls if you needed to unbutton the top of your pants in between courses.
photo credit: Tomas Espinoza
Since the lights are low, you can only pick up the scent of old money when you walk into this upscale contemporary American spot in the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead. Dinner here is an experience, beginning with the presentation of an iPad containing info about all of the artwork in the room (so if dinner at the Louvre is on your bucket list, eating caviar in the presence of a Picasso, Van Gogh, or Matisse is a cool second). Because we like choices when we’re putting down big bucks, we’re happy that Atlas offers an à la carte menu and a $250 eight-course tasting menu. Neither option is the wrong choice, but make sure you’re getting a bite of the creamy black truffle gnocchi and tender Westholme filet.
photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker
West Midtown’s Omakase Table is no longer BYOB. While we’re sad to see that cost-savings opportunity go (now there’s a $100 corkage fee), we welcome their list of craft cocktails like their Old Fashioned made with a charred orange peel, black pepper notes, and a yuzu liqueur that works as a gently sweet cushion to balance the heavy pour of Japanese whisky. It's a more stylish complement to the $235 per person, 20-course tasting than your grocery store wine. Bring one friend or 11 to fill the 12-seat omakase table, which already feels like an invitation to a dinner party inside a fancy minimalist studio apartment. Bright overhead lighting will make all your crappy group photos and selfies look half-way decent, but you might prefer to point your camera at the real stars—silky cuts of fish like toro and kanpachi, flown in from Japan. In fact, scrap the photos altogether and go with video because it's worthy of a movie.
When we’re feeling illuminati rich, we scoop up a reservation at Mujo, which is already a feat in itself. After locating the discreet entrance to this West Midtown sushi sanctuary, you get the VIP experience, where a sliding door reveals a tiny dimly-lit back room that looks like a place where billionaires plot global domination. After you scan the room for celebrities, take your seat at the 15-seat omakase table and begin your 12-course mission through small plates and high-grade nigiri that's fresh from Japan. The experience is $225 per person, and that tag will easily climb with add-ons like crab fingers artfully displayed in a half shell.
photo credit: Andrew Thomas Lee
While getting a reservation at Bacchanalia isn’t quite the big brag it used to be, dinner at the new American restaurant on Ellsworth Industrial will still earn you envy points. You can opt for the à la carte menu or try the prix fixe menu, which gives you an impressive four-course meal for $110 per person. The seasonal menu changes, but the souffle cake and crab fritter are always our picks when they're available. Caviar service and enticing options from their big leather-bound beverage “journal,” will tip your total bill toward executive suite hotel rates. But the very attentive staff (probably the best in the city) will make you feel like you’re made for that luxury traveler lifestyle.
photo credit: LuAnn DeMeo
A fine-dining staple for 20-plus years, Buckhead’s Aria isn’t bothered by industry trends or incessant construction on nearby streets. The dining room with nary a napkin out of place merely goes about its business every night with the same astute service and daily-changing menu of proteins and pastas. Though the place has loosened its starched collar, when you’re enjoying expertly-prepared filet mignon with a pinot, tailored trousers just feel right. The same goes for bourbon salmon paired with an herbaceous vegetable medley. By the time you complete the spongy lemon pound cake, you will have spent nearly three hours and $300, but you’ll already be wondering which milestone you can celebrate next.