The highly coveted World’s 50 Best Restaurants list was announced and celebrated at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore last night, and suffice to say, Bangkokians can still call their city the home of the best restaurant in all of Asia, and amongst the Top 5 in the world.

But we kind of already suspected that.

What’s interesting about this year’s unveiling of the list is the newly announced judging system, as well as a few surprising jumps and new entries. With a freshly underpinned focus on gender equality and a spotlight on newer restaurants, read ahead for our run-down of the night, toast to our Bangkok beloved winners, and get thinking about dinner.

All images courtesy The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Team Thailand: Chefs’ Feast at Asia 50 Best Restaurants 2019

The Big Winners

The biggest winner of the night was Mauro Colagreco’s Mirazur, crowned the Best Restaurant in Europe, and the Best Restaurant in the World for 2019. A well-deserved yet slightly unsurprising win, the restaurant that hails from the French town of Menton claimed the No.3 spot in 2018 and the No.4 spot in 2017, boasting a steady yet impressive climb. The restaurant’s accolade pays true tribute to Chef Colagreco’s love for local produce and for sustainable practices, with a three-tiered garden just metres from the dining room, and a stunning French Riviera backdrop.

Mirazur follows on from the iconic Osteria Francescana, which held the title of the Best Restaurant in the World in 2018, and which has now moved to the newly minted Best of the Best Hall of Fame.

Mirazur in Menton, South of France

In total, the 2019 list included restaurants from 26 countries worldwide, with 12 restaurants making their debut and three returning as re-entries.

Shockingly but also not-so-shockingly, Noma in Copenhagen was announced as the Highest New Entry, debuting on the list at an extremely high second place. Dubbed the ‘new Noma’, the Nordic restaurant is somewhat a reincarnation of the original restaurant of the same name, yet under a slightly different concept and in a new location. Its ranking is an interesting one in the light of the slight change of rules in the World’s 50 Best voting system. But more on this later.

In terms of regions and countries, Spain leads the way for the world, with a whopping total of seven restaurants on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and three in the Top 10. France comes in second with five restaurants in the Top 50, and of course also the best restaurant in the world overall. Asia boasts seven restaurants on the list, two of which are from Thailand.

The Mirazur team celebrates its big win

The Big Changes

There’s no denying that over the years there has been great speculation amongst foodies and industry insiders about the voting and ranking process at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Granted, it’s a daunting task, what with an incredibly formidable avalanche of new (and old) restaurants worldwide to assess.

As a general rule, the list is composed of votes by over 1000 international restaurant and industry experts and gourmets, known as The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy. Nevertheless, it is difficult, given the high number of top-quality restaurants around the world, to give enough and fair acknowledgement to all. That’s why this year, a new element has been introduced to the awards.

The Best of the Best Hall of Fame refers to the elite group of restaurants that have been ranked at the No.1 spot in previous years, and have far proven their worth by investing in the future and growth of the industry through various initiatives. And whilst this is all great and shining, it gets interesting here: those who are in the Best of the Best group are not eligible for voting in 2019 or even beyond. This means that newer restaurants and entries are given a greater chance at claiming the top prize, all the while still honouring the noteworthy. Here’s the Best of the Best list as of 2019, and the year(s) in which they won the title of the World’s Best Restaurant:

El Bulli (2002, 2006-2009)
The French Laundry (2003-2004)
The Fat Duck (2005)
Noma — in its original location (2010-2012, 2014)
El Celler de Can Roca (2013,2015)
Osteria Francescana (2016, 2018)
Eleven Madison Park (2017)

Gaggan
Yogurt Spheres at Gaggan

Bangkok

Though there was rightfully little doubt over which establishment (or which local icon) would reign supreme on the list for Thailand or even Asia, Gaggan has done us proud again. Climbing up one spot from last year, the progressive Indian restaurant on Soi Langsuan claims the No.4 spot on the list this year, putting Bangkok and Thailand into the Top 5 for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019, shimmering as the very best restaurant in all of Asia. It’s an interesting development, considering that Gaggan actually dropped on the list for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 (after a four-year reign as the No.1 restaurant, nevertheless). On the world ranking, this puts Gaggan higher than the current Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 winner, Odette (which came in at No.18 on the World’s 50 Best list).

Most warmly, Gaggan is in fine company this year too. As a bright new entry, the 2019 list sees our favourite chef twins Thomas and Matthias Sühring of the eponymous Restaurant Sühring in Yen Akart fly onto the list at No.45. Showcasing modern German fare inspired by nostalgic childhood memories, it’s an exciting addition to the list.

Thailand is represented by two restaurants in the Top 50 this year, and four restaurants in total (Nahm at No. 69 and Gaa at No. 95) in the Top 100.

Matthias and Thomas Sühring

Full list

Without further ado, find the full list for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 below. Restaurants in Asia are highlighted in bold face. Congratulations to all winners.

  1. Mirazur, Menton, France (Best Restaurant in Europe)
  2. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Spain
  4. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand (Best Restaurant in Asia)
  5. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. Central, Lima, Peru (Best Restaurant in South America)
  7. Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
  8. Arpège, Paris, France
  9. Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain
  10. Maido, Lima, Peru
  11. Den, Tokyo, Japan
  12. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico (Best Restaurant in North America)
  13. White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
  14. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
  15. Septime, Paris, France
  16. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
  17. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
  18. Odette, Singapore
  19. Twins Garden, Moscow, Russia
  20. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
  21. Frantzén, Stockholm, Sweden
  22. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
  23. Cosme, New York, USA
  24. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
  25. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris, France
  26. Boragó, Santiago, Chile
  27. The Clove Club, London, England
  28. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, USA
  29. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
  30. Elkano, Getaria, Spain
  31. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
  32. Narua, Bilbao, Spain
  33. Lyle’s, London, UK
  34. Don Julio, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  35. Atelier Crenn, San Francisco, USA
  36. Le Bernardin, New York City, USA
  37. Alinea, Chicago, USA
  38. Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia
  39. A Casa do Porco, São Paulo, Brazil
  40. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
  41. The Chairman, Hong Kong, China
  42. Belcanto, Lisbon, Portugal
  43. Hof Van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium
  44. Test Kitchen, Cape Town, Africa
  45. Sühring, Bangkok, Thailand
  46. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands
  47. Benu, San Francisco, USA
  48. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai, China
  49. Leo, Bogotá, Colombia
  50. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland

Lisa Gries
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.