Caviar Is Now Everywhere, And On Everything

Caviar has been synonymous with luxury for generations. First popularized among the elite in the Russian courts of the pre-Revolution era, then brought to the capitals of Western Europe by former royals in the 1920s, caviar has a reputation as a food for princes, politicians, and parties. But, though long confined to white tablecloth restaurants and lavish private estates, caviar is now coming to the people.

Though beluga caviar was once banned in the United States, this premium fish dish is now easy to find just about everywhere. It has become commonplace to see trendy hotspots, TikTok mavens, and dive bars alike serving up these salt-cured fish eggs on everything from potato chips, to Indian rice crackers, to your very own hand. "Caviar bumps" have become the luxe order of the moment, allowing customers to eat a big scoop of beluga roe right off their hand, often paired with a martini or vodka shot. But no matter how you choose to enjoy your caviar, the where of the equation has become a lot more versatile.

The caviar boom

Caviar culture has been slowly sneaking up on us for years. In 2019, a Michelin Plate restaurant with an all-caviar tasting menu opened in the back of Marky's Caviar boutique on New York's Upper East Side, named HŪSO, another name for purebred Beluga caviar. At the end of 2022, after the ups and downs of Covid, RH Guesthouse opened in the Meatpacking District, with a members-only Champagne & Caviar Bar.

Early in the year, NYC's FiDi neighborhood saw the opening of a caviar-only boutique and restaurant, Number One Caviar, the kind of place that could only come to fruition in a town where people have worked up a hearty appetite for the stuff. Previously, you would have needed to go uptown to one of the more formal establishments like Caviar Kaspia or Caviar Russe. But it's no longer caviar-specific restaurants that serve the stuff. Restaurants serving Indian, Mediterranean, Italian, or soul food can now be found across the U.S. serving sides of caviar for an extra fee.

Caviar bagels, tacos, and more

Since caviar doesn't take up a lot of space and can last unopened in the refrigerator for several weeks, it's an easy way for restaurants to make a little money on top of their main offerings. And for established caviar purveyors, adding caviar to unexpected items offers them the chance to spark interest, and shake off some of that white tablecloth stuffiness. Caviar Kaspia, for example, briefly offered a limited edition caviar bagel in the summer of 2023. Though fans of Russ & Daughters can DIY their own by ordering the more affordable caviar cream cheese option. José Andrés's Turkish restaurant Zaytinya has sunny side up eggs with caviar on their brunch menu. And several Nobu locations offer guac-stuffed caviar tacos.

One of the things you probably didn't know about caviar is that, while still pricey, average prices for it have dropped in recent years thanks to increased imports of Chinese caviar. This means that in addition to being able to buy it at more restaurants, people are putting it on more things: Doritos, Philly cheesesteaks, gefilte fish. If you can imagine it, someone has put caviar on it. It's a glorious time to be a sacrilegious foodie, gleefully cramming your mouth with a decadent beluga grilled cheese. Caviar belongs to the people now — or, at least, to your For You Page.