The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 were announced last night at a culinary star-studded affair held in Bilbao, Spain. Celebrating its 16th year, the highly anticipated awards list has become one of the definitive rankings — for better or for worse — of top restaurants around the world, a golden food guide around which enthusiastic globetrotting gourmands plan their culinary adventures for the upcoming year.
This year, the top four saw a reshuffling once again, with Osteria Francescana coming out on top, after relinquishing the throne to New York’s Eleven Madison Park last year. The avant-garde temple to haute cuisine in Modena, Italy, is helmed by the masterful chef Massimo Bottura, whose global recognition has no doubt been bolstered by a slew of TV appearances, including Chef’s Table, Ugly Delicious and Aziz Ansari’s Master of None.
Closed for part of 2017 for restaurant renovations, Daniel Humm’s esteemed Eleven Madison Park dropped from the No. 1 to No. 4 spot. Rising one spot each in the top 4 rankings was Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca (No. 2) and France’s Mirazur (No. 3) — another progressive European restaurant in a list that many criticise to be skewed towards high-end European tasting menus led by male chefs. Rounding out the top 5 was Gaggan Anand’s eponymous restaurant, which has topped the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the past four years.
The rest of the top 10 included Central in Lima, Peru at No. 6 (helmed by the chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, who will open their first Asia restaurant ICHU Peru in Hong Kong this summer); Maido, also from Peru, at No. 7; Paris’ Arpège at No. 8; the innovative Mugaritz in San Sebastian at No. 9; and Asador Etxebarri, also from the Basque region, at No. 10. The awards have been heavily scrutinised for the past for favouring male chefs and this year is no different: In the top 25 spots, only two are represented by female chefs (Central at No. 5 and Cosme at No. 25), and both these restaurants are co-run by male chefs. Most shocking was the absence of the female chef powerhouse Dominique Crenn, who many expected to break the top 50 list after her restaurant Atelier Crenn was notably absent from the 51-100 announcement last week — perhaps another sign of ingrained gender bias.
In Asia, seven restaurants made the top 50 list, with Gaggan taking Best Restaurant in Asia, and Japan dominating the rest of the top 50 showing with Den (No. 17), Narisawa (No. 22), and Nihonryori RyuGin (No. 41). Shanghai’s Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet was the highest showing for China, coming in at No. 24, an impressive jump from the No. 41 spot last year; while Hong Kong’s Amber dropped from the top 50 altogether, falling in ranks from No. 24 to No. 56. Singapore’s Odette was a new entry in the top 50 this year, climbing from No. 86 to No. 28, while Bangkok’s Nahm dropped 21 spots to just crack the top 50 rankings at No. 49.
Announced in a ceremony last week, the top 51-100 rankings included 10 restaurants in Asia: Bangkok’s Sühring (No. 54), Hong Kong’s Amber (No. 56), Tokyo’s Florilège (No. 59), Singapore’s Burnt Ends (No. 61), Seoul’s Mingles (No. 78), Hong Kong’s Lung King Heen (No. 80), New Delhi’s Indian Accent (No. 90), Tokyo’s L’Effervescence (No. 92), and Hong Kong’s 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana (No. 93).
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, which is comprised of 1,000-plus culinary experts (a selection of chefs, food/restaurant journalists, restaurateurs, and globetrotting gourmands) who vote on restaurants across 26 separate regions around the world. Each voter has 10 votes, which they use to vote for the best overall restaurant experience they’ve had within the last 18 months (four votes must be outside of their home country. A minimum of 25% of the panel is renewed each year.
Below is the full list of winners, from 1–50 (restaurants in Asia are in boldface).
- Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy (Best Restaurant in Europe)
- El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
- Mirazur, Menton, France
- Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA (Best Restaurant in North America)
- Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand (Best Restaurant in Asia)
- Central, Lima, Peru (Best Restaurant in South America)
- Maido, Lima, Peru
- Arpège, Paris, France
- Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
- Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain
- Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
- Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, USA
- Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
- Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
- White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
- Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
- Den, Tokyo, Japan
- Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain
- Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Attica, Melbourne, Australia
- Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
- Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
- Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
- Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai, China
- Cosme, New York, USA
- Le Bernardin, New York, USA
- Boragó, Santiago, Chile
- Odette, Singapore, Singapore
- Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris, France
- D.O.M., São Paulo, Brazil
- Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
- Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
- The Clove Club, London, England
- Alinea, Chicago, USA
- Maaemo, Oslo, Norway
- Reale, Castel Di Sangro, Italy
- Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
- Lyle’s, London, UK
- Astrid y Gastón, Lima, Peru
- Septime, Paris, France
- Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
- The Ledbury, London, UK
- Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
- Mikla, Istanbul, Turkey
- Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
- Saison, San Francisco, USA
- Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
- Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia
- Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
- The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
Photo courtesy of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants