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Which L.A. Restaurants Are Among the Most Expensive in America?

Fresh fish at Urasawa (Photo by takaokun via Flickr)
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While most of us tend to dine on a dime and go for the occasional splurge, big spenders love to spend, well, big, on meals. The Daily Meal recently released their list of the 25 Most Expensive Restaurants in America, and two L.A. establishments make the list.

The price tags that determined each spot in their rankings reflects a "complete meal (of whatever number of courses) plus one bottle of wine and tax and tip for the average party size (as indicated by each restaurant)."

Setting you back a mere $468 on average, at #11 is a place that is not shy from controversy these days: Mélisse. The Santa Monica restaurant cheffed by SoCal native Josiah Citrin is currently at the heart of the ongoing public debate about the use of foie gras (as the delicacy is on its way off menus thanks to a soon-to-be-implemented law). From The Daily Meal:

With two Michelin stars, four from the Mobil Guide, and a host of various industry awards, Mélisse attracts locals and visiting food enthusiasts alike who are looking to celebrate special occasions. The 10-course tasting menu costs $150, but according to the restaurant the average ticket costs about $200 per person.
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But Los Angeles...Beverly Hills to be home to the second most expensive restaurant in America, and as once upon a time we experienced, it is definitely meal-of-a-lifetime caliber: Urasawa.

At Urasawa, the average check will set you back a mere $1,111 (gulp). Here's what The Daily Meal had to say about the mecca of sushi:

This Japanese culinary shrine, with a sushi bar and just enough room for 10 diners nightly, is located in a shopping center off Rodeo Drive. Some might call it the West Coast version of New York City's Masa, which is not surprising considering that not only did Urasawa chef-owner Hiroyuki Urasawa train under Masa Takayama before opening his restaurant, but also the restaurant's spot previously housed Ginza Sushi-ko, where Takayama made his reputation. Urasawa has a nearly 30-course omakase menu that changes daily.

How'd they come up with their picks? Here's their process:

To arrive at the top 25 we compiled a list of restaurants commonly known for being outrageously expensive (such as Masa, which is known for its $450 per person omakase menu). We started by first pulling data from The Daily Meal's 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2012, and then expanded the research to include a more comprehensive spectrum of fine dining restaurants across the country. From there we gathered data compiled by (a site that tracks average customer spending at restaurants) and Zagat's price ratings — finally, once the list was narrowed down to 50 restaurants, we contacted each one and asked a series of questions, such as their average party size, the percentage of diners that choose the tasting menu (where applicable), and what the average bill totals. From there, we ranked the top 25.

There were some other California spots on the list (The French Laundry, of course) with the others being mostly in New York, Chicago, and Las Vegas. Masa, in NYC, by the way, took top honors, with the average bill being $1,269.

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