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sunbeam

Restaurant Magazine's World's 50 Best '08

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Alinea is my favorite of this list.

Grant Achatz of Alinea made the trip and was in attendance on Monday evening looking quite chipper. As part of Adria's seemingly endless speech, he rather touchingly dedicated his two awards of best restaurant in Europe and best in the world to Achatz (who was diagnosed with mouth cancer but has apparently been given a clean bill of health) and said something along the lines of sending the pride and energy (?) he got from them to Achatz.

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FWIW, I've been to 40 of the top 50. I think these lists are bound to be controversial, but that is the point, no? Something else to argue about? In other words, media-grabbing hype. I do find it useful if it suggests restaurants I have never heard of. I first tried Noma 3 years ago thanks to "50 Best." Unfortunately, they seem to be xeroxing the same list from year to year.

I know many people who are on that panel from all over the world (was busy eating with lots of them this week), and what I doubt is that enough of them went to El Bulli within the past 18 months to keep it perennially on the list. I also know some people who voted for restaurants they have never tried, simply because they were forced to vote outside of their region/experience. Many people on the panel are local experts but virtual tourists outside their own area.

And let's face it, a huge percentage of the panel are chefs. Chefs don't eat out as often as others, and when they do, they have a very different experience from regular punters. They also tend to move in clique-y circles.

Edit: I should clarify I don't have any involvement with the list. I just know people who do.


Edited by Culinista (log)

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FWIW, I've been to 40 of the top 50.

Now that is very impressive. Can we guess which ones you haven't been to? I reckon Rockpool Fish, Chateaubriand, Dom, Tetsuya's, Le Bernadin, Hof Van Cleve, Philippe Rochat, Vendome, Die Schwarzwaldstube and Tantris.

Are you tempted to "get the set" as it were?

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I know many people who are on that panel from all over the world (was busy eating with lots of them this week), and what I doubt is that enough of them went to El Bulli within the past 18 months to keep it perennially on the list. I also know some people who voted for restaurants they have never tried, simply because they were forced to vote outside of their region/experience. Many people on the panel are local experts but virtual tourists outside their own area.

If these statements are true, then the list is completely invalid because the voters did not follow the rules, and it explains why the list hardly changes.

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We sat through descriptions of each winner, usually including a description and a slide of some signature dishes.

Weren't they good - well, at least some of them. So well written I thought...

They were very samey, Judith Chalmer's boy did his professional best to make them amusing with his own additions so full marks to him for that.

I liked Ferran's speech because it seemed shorter than last year's unless, and it's entirely possible. I dozed off halfway through and only jerked awake when everyone started clapping.

S

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FWIW, I've been to 40 of the top 50.

Now that is very impressive. Can we guess which ones you haven't been to? I reckon Rockpool Fish, Chateaubriand, Dom, Tetsuya's, Le Bernadin, Hof Van Cleve, Philippe Rochat, Vendome, Die Schwarzwaldstube and Tantris.

Are you tempted to "get the set" as it were?

oooh, good job, you get 7 out of 10! :raz:

Am I tempted to get the set? Lol, I am not a restaurant collector, notching my belt with trophies. I happen to travel a lot and make an effort to try the best places out there. Next time I'm in Brazil I may check out D.O.M. However, I am not going to make a special trip out there just so I can say I've been to all 50 on Restaurant Magazine's latest list.

I have to say that of the 40 I can talk about, only a dozen or so would make it to my personal best restaurant list. I also find the order of the list very arbitrary and strange, but that is a function of the voting system. For example, my top 5 restaurants according to the voting rules would be different from what I consider to be the top 5 restaurants currently in the world.

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FWIW, I've been to 40 of the top 50.

Now that is very impressive. Can we guess which ones you haven't been to? I reckon Rockpool Fish, Chateaubriand, Dom, Tetsuya's, Le Bernadin, Hof Van Cleve, Philippe Rochat, Vendome, Die Schwarzwaldstube and Tantris.

Are you tempted to "get the set" as it were?

oooh, good job, you get 7 out of 10! :raz:

Am I tempted to get the set? Lol, I am not a restaurant collector, notching my belt with trophies. I happen to travel a lot and make an effort to try the best places out there. Next time I'm in Brazil I may check out D.O.M. However, I am not going to make a special trip out there just so I can say I've been to all 50 on Restaurant Magazine's latest list.

I have to say that of the 40 I can talk about, only a dozen or so would make it to my personal best restaurant list. I also find the order of the list very arbitrary and strange, but that is a function of the voting system. For example, my top 5 restaurants according to the voting rules would be different from what I consider to be the top 5 restaurants currently in the world.

I have a question for you - have you been to Japan, if so have you visited some of the top restaurants there and how do they compare to some of the places mentioned on this list?

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oooh, good job, you get 7 out of 10!  :raz:

I am the Derren Brown of the eGullet set (I've even got the beard for it).

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I have to say that of the 40 I can talk about, only a dozen or so would make it to my personal best restaurant list. I also find the order of the list very arbitrary and strange, but that is a function of the voting system. For example, my top 5 restaurants according to the voting rules would be different from what I consider to be the top 5 restaurants currently in the world.

I would love to see your top five, or more, even if not in order of merit.

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FWIW, I've been to 40 of the top 50.

Now that is very impressive. Can we guess which ones you haven't been to? I reckon Rockpool Fish, Chateaubriand, Dom, Tetsuya's, Le Bernadin, Hof Van Cleve, Philippe Rochat, Vendome, Die Schwarzwaldstube and Tantris.

Are you tempted to "get the set" as it were?

oooh, good job, you get 7 out of 10! :raz:

Am I tempted to get the set? Lol, I am not a restaurant collector, notching my belt with trophies. I happen to travel a lot and make an effort to try the best places out there. Next time I'm in Brazil I may check out D.O.M. However, I am not going to make a special trip out there just so I can say I've been to all 50 on Restaurant Magazine's latest list.

I have to say that of the 40 I can talk about, only a dozen or so would make it to my personal best restaurant list. I also find the order of the list very arbitrary and strange, but that is a function of the voting system. For example, my top 5 restaurants according to the voting rules would be different from what I consider to be the top 5 restaurants currently in the world.

I have a question for you - have you been to Japan, if so have you visited some of the top restaurants there and how do they compare to some of the places mentioned on this list?

I'm Japanese, so yeah :laugh: I was last in Japan over Christmas and New Year. If I were voting on the panel, most of my votes would be in Japan.

I suspect there will be a boom of Japanese restaurants on the list soon, thanks to Michelin. Everyone I know is now suddenly hotfooting it to Tokyo, even though they have been ignoring me for years when I said that Japan is by far the best eating country in the world.

Even though I go to Japan a lot and have been to more restaurants than most of the people who live there, there is no way I can say I have been to all the top restaurants. There are just too many outstanding ones, and I have only been to one Tokyo 3-star (Jiro Ginza). The best food may not even be in Tokyo, and some of my favorite restaurants are in Osaka and Kyoto and in the countryside.

The problem with Japan is that the "best" restaurants are usually for members only, and even top Western gourmets often miss the point of Japanese food. It is a whole other language, and it is a long apprenticeship to learn properly. I feel like I am just on the verge of breaking in to the top places, and even as a Japanese speaker it has taken me 10 years. I think a deluge of Michelin-stoked restaurant tourists will make it even harder to for a foreigner to get a seat at the top tables. Good thing Michelin seems to have missed most of the good spots, but they did a better job than the 50 Best list.

Speaking of The List, am I the only one who feels that some regions are over-represented given their populations and gastronomic achievements? I'm a fan of Nordic cuisine, but why are there separate regions for Finland/Greenland/Iceland and the rest of the Nordic region when all of North America gets just one? The whole combined Nordic population is probably less than the size of the NY metropolitan area. The Carribean and the Bahamas are one region, but all of South America is another? Methinks there is more than a little gerrymandering going on.


Edited by Culinista (log)

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Not one of the world's top 100 restaurants in Japan???

Yeah... right! :rolleyes:

I know!! And, how is it that Extebarri makes it onto the Top 50 for the first time this year?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Not one of the world's top 100 restaurants in Japan???

Yeah... right! :rolleyes:

I know!! And, how is it that Extebarri makes it onto the Top 50 for the first time this year?

Are you saying that it shouldn't be on there? I haven't been myself, so i can't say one way or the other, however, its reputation has grown dramatically over the past couple of years, so I'm not surprised that it is now on there.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The problem with Japan is that the "best" restaurants are usually for members only, and even top Western gourmets often miss the point of Japanese food. It is a whole other language, and it is a long apprenticeship to learn properly. I feel like I am just on the verge of breaking in to the top places, and even as a Japanese speaker it has taken me 10 years. I think a deluge of Michelin-stoked restaurant tourists will make it even harder to for a foreigner to get a seat at the top tables. Good thing Michelin seems to have missed most of the good spots, but they did a better job than the 50 Best list.

My brother-in-law who married a Japanese lady and living there for good few years now, claims that the vast majority of Japanese could and would never sample a true Japanese Kaiseki or ‘high-class’ meal. Him and his Japanese family incuded. I'd always thought he was exaggerating but from your experience it looks like this level of exclusivity is actually a reality. This is real exclusivity not the artificial sort generated by commercial branding or by inflated prices (though I’m sure they are not cheap).

So you think even if The List did try to start involve Japan more like Michelin has. Gastro-tourists start to flock there in greater numbers it would actually become more difficult for them to get to the top tables. In fact what you are saying is that panel members of The List (or Michelin inspectors for that matter) would not even know where to start to look to find these places let alone knock on the door. Fascinating! Are you able to us more of this elusive world? You say that you are on the verge; if you give the game away will you snapped back to reality?! Forbidden to gaze upon it’s face ever again…. :smile:

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Not one of the world's top 100 restaurants in Japan???

Yeah... right! :rolleyes:

I know!! And, how is it that Extebarri makes it onto the Top 50 for the first time this year?

Extebarri shows what's wrong with having St John at no.16.

St John is a produce based restaurant where the produce is only 'quite good' versus the 'Feck off, oh my' level of ingredient at extebarri.


A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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Not one of the world's top 100 restaurants in Japan???

Yeah... right! :rolleyes:

I know!! And, how is it that Extebarri makes it onto the Top 50 for the first time this year?

Are you saying that it shouldn't be on there? I haven't been myself, so i can't say one way or the other, however, its reputation has grown dramatically over the past couple of years, so I'm not surprised that it is now on there.

I think (s)he's saying is that it's nuts that this is the first year on the list. this place is certainly one of the finest dining destinations in europe today.


A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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Not one of the world's top 100 restaurants in Japan???

Yeah... right! :rolleyes:

I know!! And, how is it that Extebarri makes it onto the Top 50 for the first time this year?

Are you saying that it shouldn't be on there? I haven't been myself, so i can't say one way or the other, however, its reputation has grown dramatically over the past couple of years, so I'm not surprised that it is now on there.

I think (s)he's saying is that it's nuts that this is the first year on the list. this place is certainly one of the finest dining destinations in europe today.

By all accounts that I have read and heard, this is true. Etxebarri is one of a handful of restaurants at the top of my list of destination restaurants I desire to get to try along with Mugaritz, Noma and Ryugin (not on the list), however, the increased awareness of Etxebarri as a great restaurant is relatively recent with probably relatively few judges having been there themselves. If the reports I have read are true, the restaurant will no doubt continue to climb further on future lists.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Not one of the world's top 100 restaurants in Japan???

Yeah... right! :rolleyes:

I know!! And, how is it that Extebarri makes it onto the Top 50 for the first time this year?

Are you saying that it shouldn't be on there? I haven't been myself, so i can't say one way or the other, however, its reputation has grown dramatically over the past couple of years, so I'm not surprised that it is now on there.

Not at all. I'm saying that (although I've never been to Extebarri), I'm surprised that this its taken this long to get it up to the Top 50.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I think (s)he's saying is that it's nuts that this is the first year on the list.  this place is certainly one of the finest dining destinations in europe today.

Right, that is EXACTLY what he is saying. :wink:

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Not one of the world's top 100 restaurants in Japan???

Yeah... right! :rolleyes:

I know!! And, how is it that Extebarri makes it onto the Top 50 for the first time this year?

Are you saying that it shouldn't be on there? I haven't been myself, so i can't say one way or the other, however, its reputation has grown dramatically over the past couple of years, so I'm not surprised that it is now on there.

I think (s)he's saying is that it's nuts that this is the first year on the list. this place is certainly one of the finest dining destinations in europe today.

By all accounts that I have read and heard, this is true. Etxebarri is one of a handful of restaurants at the top of my list of destination restaurants I desire to get to try along with Mugaritz, Noma and Ryugin (not on the list), however, the increased awareness of Etxebarri as a great restaurant is relatively recent with probably relatively few judges having been there themselves. If the reports I have read are true, the restaurant will no doubt continue to climb further on future lists.

I have been to Etxebarri and IMHO it very much deserves to be on the list, (although I have only been to 7 out of the 50 that's my view).

I am just back from a two week trip in Japan and agree with the sentiments on here. Due to lack of planning I didn't even eat at any of the establishments recognised as really high end (either by locals or by Michelin and the like) but if what I did eat is anything to go by then I suspect there maybe some pretty serious omissions from this list. Stating the obvious probably but..

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The list does seem a few year behind doesn't it?

I can visualise the 2011 press release now: "Manresa and el Poblet highest new entries; Tokyo has more entries than Paris or London put together."

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The awards satisfy the needs of the sponsors, provide a jolly for the organisers and participants and create a momentary amount of noise, as per every award scheme ever invented. And like every award scheme ever invented it's as flawed as hell; those who are recognised will assist in giving it credibility, those who are not will be indifferent if not derogatory. But ask yourself, what exactly does it mean to say you are the fourteenth or twenty-seventh best restaurant in the world? It's a bit of fun and it certainly made me laugh.

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I can visualise the 2011 press release now: "Manresa and el Poblet highest new entries; Tokyo has more entries than Paris or London put together."

And El Poblet made it into the top 100 (you need to look at the next page)

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