Is Noma Mexico worth the $600 price tag? (not to mention airfare+travel expenses)

What are your thoughts on food travel?

I’ve read that dining is becoming a huge main attraction for travelers, and lots of restaurants are now doing pop ups like Noma.

Do any of you travel exclusively for food or have sampled other tasting menus abroad? What was your experience?

Seems like the intensive labor and craft involved here makes it more than worth it: “Basically, a small army of beautiful and talented people put their hearts into every part of your meal. The entire team is about 140 people serving 70 guests per seating.

[quote=“clairethere, post:1, topic:5623”]
Do any of you travel exclusively for food or have sampled other tasting menus abroad?
[/quote]Yes, at night in my dreams.

Good topic.

Haha, how do you usually make food choices when you do travel?

The answer to the question, “is ____ worth it?” when dealing with events or experiences like these is largely subjective. Value is relative, and it is not always linear but rather measured with a sliding scale. In the same way that asking “are floor seats worth it?”; “is (insert exotic/sports car) worth it?”; or “is drinking (insert famous wine) worth it?” One’s reasonable answer depends in large part on his or her preferences, tolerances, point of view and personal experiences, perhaps their opportunity costs, etc. it may be entirely worth it for one person and a complete waste of money for another.

Are you planning to write about this subject in some publication? Pardon my skepticism, but it sounds like you’re doing research for something. If you’re asking purely out of your own curiosity, then people on a forum cannot tell you if it’s worth it for you. At best, they can tell you how good they thought the food and experience were, and that’s a data point you may choose to consider.


Hi BradFord, yes those are exactly the data points I am interested in.

I’m not doing research for anything in particular, I simply tend to like musing in depth on certain topics and enjoy subjective debates. Looking for a good discussion from people much more knowledgeable than me about the topic, as I’ve recently started learning a lot more about the food/fine dining world and have been thinking a lot about this.

There’s a lot of media talk about the “retail apocalypse” and consumers moving towards spending on experiences like travel and restaurants over things like apparel and accessories; but it seems, as you so note, much trickier to price/value an experience when it’s so subjective, so I think the rise in valuing experiences over things is a very fascinating trend and I’m curious as to how people choose to evaluate their experiences and how much experience factor into aesthetics/tastes.

Similar to discussions on whether art is valuable in itself or whether knowing more about the process or the artist makes it more valuable to someone, and if so, is it then “true art” if it’s not purely aesthetic? I can see a similar debate about food — do you prefer to pay more for the food itself or for the experience? Does one overshadow the other if you become a “foodie”?

We don’t set our itinerary based on the food but certainly do our research before traveling. Thanks to CH I learned about Tickets Bar in Barcelona. Owned by the Ferran Brothers of El Bulli fame. At least at the time, they took reservations two months to the calendar day prior and I was lucky enough to snag one. It was an incredible meal and I’ve encouraged people to get the res and then book their flights :slight_smile: It was THAT good.

is this an interview?

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Ah, using a meal as an excuse to go explore a destination you’ve been meaning to go anyway, yes!

No sir! Looking for good food for thought

Good food is often my primary concern when I choose places to visit, but I’m not sure I would ever plan a trip around a particular restaurant.

I don’t like tasting menus or the kind of places that get 2-3 Michelin stars or make the world’s-best lists.


Noooo. We booked the trip to Barcelona and then got the res at Tickets Bar. Like robert, I don’t think I’d ever do it the other way around.

Got it, please excuse my initial skepticism.

Restaurants and associated travel may be on the rise, but I think there’s probably better explanations than the so-called “retail apocalypse.” Dining out at special destination restaurants and food culture in general seem to have become a lot more popular, for various reasons, which are too broad to explain in a forum post, at least the reasons I can think of, anyway. But I don’t believe it’s caused by people not spending as much on retail - brick and mortar maybe collapsing (but it will never go away), but people still spend, and spend a lot on consumer goods, IMO. Spending habits and trends again depend on too many factors to expound on.

I don’t think that food is actual art, though at times there may be parallels. Certainly, gaining knowledge or experience is going to help one better appreciate the aspects of the food which would ostensibly make it worth the journey, assuming that it is indeed the food that is worthy of the destination. We can’t lump all destination restaurants together - the pop ups or what have you have specific contexts which make them special. But again whether they are worth the money is largely subjective. Eg taking a trip to Burgundy to taste Coche Dury Corton-Charlemagne is going to be incredibly exclusive and a special experience, and while the wine is probably great enough for even an amateur to tell it’s world class and special, one with a developed palette attenuated to the nuances of white Burgundy is going to appreciate it all that much more.

yes, what happens if restaurant close ?

Yes, and I agree with Oscar Wilde’s assessment that “all art is utterly useless.” Which is to say that if something has function, it’s not really pure art. I don’t think food is art, and neither is something like clothing. But at best there may be some parallels.


I kind of fell in like with you just now.

People confuse art and craft. I blame public education.


Hi !

Depends on the destination. If it’s Mexico we don’t make plans. We may have one swanky meal, but mostly seek places where locals eat. Something about Mexico can make you a little reckless. I mean, would you let your L.A. taxi driver take you to his cousin’s shack on the beach for fresh caught seafood, grilled on an open fire at sunset? Well, when you put it that way.

I would like to try the 3 yr old mole at Pujol. But other than that, a fussy tasting menu is not really my idea of fun in Mexico.

Now, when we went to New Orleans for Christmas, the trip was completely dependent upon whether or not we could get a table at certain restaurants; no small task for Christmas in NOLA. For our Eve dinner at Clancy’s I had to call on a specific day at a specific time and the phone was busy for hours. It was worth it! Thanks CiaoBob. We ate gumbo everyday, even at the airport :blush: and each one was different. We went for the food, but fell in love with the city.

Same goes for Massachusetts, but not for the same reasons. I grew up but hadn’t been there in years, and was determined to eat and introduce my family to all things New England. It was a food tour from Boston all the way to Martha’s Vineyard. Only two advance reservations; but mostly just chowda’ houses, clam bars, lobster rolls and linguisa! I discovered something new too. Boston pizza is the best in the country. Yes, New Yorkers, I said it.

In closing - we like tasting menus right here in L.A. Maybe because we live here and have had the food every which way - the theatre of a tasting is a delightful diversion.

I can be wordy, but hope that helps with your article. Hahaha, just kidding.

Good thread!

[quote=“BradFord, post:16, topic:5623”]
Oscar Wilde’s assessment that “all art is utterly useless.” Which is to say that if something has function, it’s not really pure art.
[/quote]I guess he didn’t think of writers as artists.

Writing has a purpose and meaning, of course, but I think that’s different than the functional “utility” that something like tractors or appliances have. Plus, Oscar Wilde was always a bit tongue in cheek.

Okay, I see. Because I definitely find utility in in his words… some of them anyway.

I like this quote:

“Too many people today know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

Not talking to you, @clairethere; talking about “The Price Hike” and similar infographic media coverage that distill restaurant experiences down to the average bill, or banal articles that debate the ethics of special event dinners. I’m not saying that expensive things are always worth it (a lot of times, they’re completely not, and there’s tons of rips out there), but I’m saying that value is so largely subjective that it’s pretty pointless for one to write an article on it! And, that there’s a lot to talk about besides the numbers.