Travel Tools & Information

Best Restaurants of the World

It must be pleasant indeed to be able to plan gala meals without any annoying financial constraints. For those of you in such plush circumstances, we offer these pricey paragons of the culinary arts. The rest of you can take some solace in knowing that you’ve avoided some perception issues with the folks in procurement.

1. Queue de Cheval Steak House, Montreal
Let’s start on a relatively modest note with this highly regarded eatery, whose average cost of $85 per meal, per person, won’t register too seismically if preceded by a nice, results-oriented meeting or event. The beef served here is all corn-fed and dry-aged for 35 days, producing a hefty 24-oz porterhouse that will serve as good ballast for attendees in a hurricane.

2. Gordon Ramsay, London (
Now let’s leap into a loftier bracket. This exclusive restaurant, open since 1998 in the famous chef’s mother country, has just 13 tables with seating for fewer than 60. Average price per meal, per person, comes to US$183, for specialties such as cornish lamb and pigeon, and pigeon with foie gras. Submit your receipt to the bean counters and you might feel like a pigeon — a homing pigeon, fresh from being kicked out of the office.

3. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenéé, Paris
We’re talking delicious modern French cuisine, with an average meal costing between US$210-$250. The dishes, accompanied by choice of caviar, duck liver sauce or giblets of lamb, come à la carte, leaving you à la broke.

4. Masa (
In the Time Warner Center in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, Masa seats just 26 people who, while paying around $300 per person, prix-fixe, enjoy a three-hour experience with exquisite Japanese cuisine. No menu needed here, as the daily options are created by whim of the eponymous chef himself. New York Magazine raves about the white truffle tempora that’s often served in the fall, and the tuna tartare with aji mackeral sashimi tossed in shiso blossoms, otherwise known as “your budget garnished with a red flag.”

5. Aragawa, Tokyo (no website; for detailed review:
Don’t let the dark, office-building basement environs of this steak house fool you: This is upper-upscale Japanese food. Here is another place where they don’t bother with a menu — because you come for the kobe beef served with capsicum (aka pepper) and mustard. By meal’s end, and at these prices (an average meal here hits the high note at US$370), you’ll truly feel spent.

Official State Birds and Flowers

The next time you run out of ideas for a theme, consider tying in room and/or table décor with the officially designated bird or flower of the state in which your event occurs. In other words, use pride of place as a placemat.


State Bird/Flower
 Alabama:  Yellowhammer/Camellia
 Alaska:  Willow Ptarmigan/Forget Me Not
 Arizona:  Cactus Wren/Saguaro Cactus Blossom
 Arkansas:  Mockingbird/Apple Blossom
 California:  California Valley Quail/California Poppy
 Colorado:  Lark Bunting/Rocky Mountain Columbine
 Connecticut:  Robin/Mountain Laurel
 Delaware:  Blue Hen Chicken/Peach Blossom
 Florida:  Mockingbird/Orange Blossom
 Georgia:  Brown Thrasher/Cherokee Rose
 Hawaii:  Nene/Pua Aloalo
 Idaho:  Mountain Bluebird/Syringa-Mock Orange
 Illinois:  Cardinal/Purple Violet
 Indiana:  Cardinal/Peony
 Iowa:  Eastern Goldfinch/Wild Prairie Rose
 Kansas:  Western Meadowlark/Sunflower
 Kentucky:  Cardinal/Goldenrod
 Louisiana:  Eastern Brown Pelican/Magnolia
 Maine:  Chickadee/White Pine Cone and Tassel
 Maryland:  Baltimore Oriole/Black-Eyed Susan
 Massachusetts:  Chickadee/Trailing-Arbutus
 Michigan:  Robin/Apple Blossom
 Minnesota:  Common Loon/Pink and White Lady’s Slipper
 Mississippi:  Mockingbird/Magnolia
 Missouri:  Bluebird/Hawthorn
 Montana:  Western Meadowlark/Bitterroot
 Nebraska:  Western Meadowlark/Goldenrod
 Nevada:  Mountain Bluebird/Sagebrush
 New Hampshire:  Purple Finch/Purple Lilac
 New Jersey:  Eastern Goldfinch/Violet
 New Mexico:  Roadrunner/Yucca Flower
 New York:  Bluebird/Rose
 North Carolina:  Cardinal/American Dogwood
 North Dakota:  Western Meadowlark/Wild Prairie Rose
 Ohio:  Cardinal/Scarlet Carnation
 Oklahoma:  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher/Mistletoe
 Oregon:  Western Meadowlark/Oregon Grape
 Pennsylvania:  Ruffed Grouse/Mountain Laurel
 Rhode Island:  Rhode Island Red/Violet
 South Carolina:  Great Carolina Wren/Yellow Jessamine
 South Dakota:  Ring-Necked Pheasant/Pasque Flower
 Tennessee:  Mockingbird/Iris
 Texas:  Mockingbird/Bluebonnet
 Utah:  Common American Gull/Sego Lily
 Vermont:  Hermit Thrush/Red Clover
 Virginia:  Cardinal/American Dogwood
 Washington:  Willow Goldfinch/Coast Rhododendron
 West Virginia:  Cardinal/Rhododendron
 Wisconsin:  Robin/Wood Violet
 Wyoming:  Western Meadowlark/Indian Paintbrush