Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
AlexForbes

World's 50 best restaurants list

Recommended Posts

gallery_36345_6588_10751.jpg

First of all, I know that theoretically this topic should be filed under food periodicals, but.... Restaurant Magazine's annual ranking of the world's top restaurants is very much a British thing. British magazine, big awards ceremony in London on Monday, Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck usually #1 or #2 (although who knows how the recent mishap might have affected his "handicap"...)

So I started the topic here.

"Best of" lists are love-hate affairs, and as soon as they come out there are legions of bloggers and journalists who criticize them. But, like it or not, the fact is the list has become very well-known and respected around the world.

The magazine's PR people have been feeding the press (i.e. me) with little tidbits to keep us salivating for more. First, we learned that Robuchon will go up on stage at the Freemason's Hall on Monday to pick up a Lifetime Achievement award.

Today, I got another press release. A juicier one at that. It says "The votes have been counted, the flights have been booked and the chefs are heading to London to hear the results.

The S.Pellegrino World`s 50 Best Restaurants Awards take place in London on Monday 21 April 2008. It`s the biggest chefs night off of the year.This year a host of new talent finds itself on to the list, who will have made way for the 9 newcomers?"

so... who wants to start guessing who's been dropped off the list? ;)

I'll get the results as soon as they're out Mon night, via Twitter, and post here. Let the discussion begin!


Edited by AlexForbes (log)

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see anyone overtaking elBulli for the top spot. The restaurant is simply too famous, too unique and too good. The only restaurant that possibly could at this point is The Fat Duck, but that could only happen if the tally was done prior to their recent difficulties. as simply unfortunate as they were.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must say I don't really see any reason for the "incident" at the Fat Duck to have any bearing on these type of arbitrary lists. Wasn't the conclusion firmly on the side of it not being food related?

Surely what's being assessed is the quality of the restaurant not the risk factors of the business.

But back to the point - my money is on there being some new entrants from the Scandinavian MG boys...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today, I got another press release. A juicier one at that. It says "The votes have been counted, the flights have been booked and the chefs are heading to London to hear the results.

That's actually exactly what the press release said last year too. It's groundhog day basically; bulli and duck, who will win? It's not terribly exciting and the question should really be isn't it time to give both some kind of 'well done' award and ask them to stand aside? Their place in culinary history assured, titans of innovative cuisine etc. etc.

The last three years the ceremony has been without drama a twp horse race. Something needs to be done to spice it up. And I personally hope they give Adria a translator who actually speaks English as a first language this year, last year his acceptance speech was largely unintelligible as well as seemingly interminable

S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are they actually going to have a reasonable number of restaurants outside of Europe, Australasia and USA this year?

I don't believe there have been hardly any restaurants in Japan featuring in previous years, but I suspect that given the results of Michelin's visit to Tokyo that might change, although it does to me make me wonder about the credibility of the whole thing in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are they actually going to have a reasonable number of restaurants outside of Europe, Australasia and USA this year?

I don't believe there have been hardly any restaurants in Japan featuring in previous years, but I suspect that given the results of Michelin's visit to Tokyo that might change, although it does to me make me wonder about the credibility of the whole thing in the first place.

My predictions are David Chang from Momofuku getting in the top 20 along with Mauro Colagreco at Mirazur. Noma in the top 5.

Claude Bosi honouring Robouchon and hopefully some serious Japanese influence this year.

We'll see.


Edited by Polarbear (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Today, I got another press release. A juicier one at that. It says "The votes have been counted, the flights have been booked and the chefs are heading to London to hear the results.

That's actually exactly what the press release said last year too.

Looking at the press release, it looks like they have probably resent last year's:

The S.Pellegrino World`s 50 Best Restaurants Awards take place in London on Monday 21 April 2008.

I'm guessing that this should probably be Monday 20 April 2009...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, Judy, I hadn't noticed the date slip, thanks for pointing it out!

And here's the list of last year's winners, just to show that it is indeed euro-centric, and could use a few Japanese restaurants, at least:

1 El Bulli Spain World's Best Restaurant

2 The Fat Duck UK

3 Pierre Gagnaire France

4 Mugaritz Spain

5 The French Laundry USA Best Restaurant in the Americas

6 Per Se USA

7 Bras France

8 Arzak Spain

9 Tetsuya's Australia

10 Noma Denmark

11 L'Astrance France

12 Gambero Rosso Italy

13 Restaurant Gordon Ramsay UK

14 L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon France

15 Le Louis XV France

16 St John UK

17 Jean Georges USA

18 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée France

19 Hakkasan UK

20 Le Bernardin USA

21 Alinea USA

22 Le Gavroche UK

23 Dal Pescatore Italy

24 Le Cinq France

25 Troisgros France

26 El Celler de Can Roca Spain

27 L'Hotel de Ville - Philippe Rochat Switzerland

28 Hof Van Cleve Belgium

29 Martin Berasategui Spain

30 Nobu London UK

31 Can Fabes Spain

32 Enoteca Pinchiorri Italy

33 Le Meurice France

34 Vendome Germany

35 Die Schwarzwaldstube Germany

36 Le Calandre Italy

37 Chez Panisse USA

38 Charlie Trotter's USA

39 Chez Dominique Finland

40 D.O.M Brazil

41 Daniel USA

42 Oud Sluis Netherlands

43 Ristorante Cracco Italy

44 Asador Etxebarri Spain

45 Les Ambassadeurs France

46 L'Arpege France

47 Tantris Germany

48 Oaxen Skärgärdskrog Sweden

49 Rockpool Australia

50 Le Quartier Francais South Africa


Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I must say I don't really see any reason for the "incident" at the Fat Duck to have any bearing on these type of arbitrary lists. Wasn't the conclusion firmly on the side of it not being food related?

Surely what's being assessed is the quality of the restaurant not the risk factors of the business.

But back to the point - my money is on there being some new entrants from the Scandinavian MG boys...

While it shouldn't have any bearing, I still think that it probably will. So much of this list is about buzz. What makes the list somewhat plausible is that many, maybe even most of the restaurants that make it are deserving and arguably belong on the list. What makes the list something of a travesty is the poor execution when it comes to rating restaurants in Asia and japan. C'mon, Bukhara in Delhi is probably not even the best restaurant in Delhi let alone Asia. Granted it fell out of the top 50 last year.

I suspect that you are right about the Scandinavians. I think that you will see some shuffling in the US with Alinea rising and Charlie Trotter falling. It will be interesting to see if any of the bistronomic restaurants will make the list. Momfuku Ssam Bar probably stands the greatest chance because of all the hype it has received.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Bras and Gordon Ramsey fall as well. Bras because of many reports of slippage and GR because he seems to have taken a massive pr beating over the past year.

We'll see.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if Jay (Rayner) is a judge this year? I seem to remember he penned some good articles about last years judging process and the attempts that had been made to broaden the list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder if Jay (Rayner) is a judge this year? I seem to remember he penned some good articles about last years judging process and the attempts that had been made to broaden the list.

I was a judge, indeed chair of the UK panel, for what it's worth.

I'll say here what I'll be saying at the meeting of regional chairs tonight (ahead of the event). If we attempt to portray this list in any way as the final word we will get slapped in the face and be entirely deserving of such. It's a list and we all love those. The international panel of 800 or so judges is not without authority. It is a way of taking the temperature of the high end restaurant scene which, once a year, encourages the media to discuss the subject. The actual ranking within the 50 is fun, on an ego by ego basis, but not really that important. It's greatest endorsment: the extraordinary number of the world's leading chefs, who like the event and make the effort and time to get to London for it.

Is it flawed? Absolutely. All such exercises are. I haven't, as I type, seen this years list but I hope that our efforts to deal with some of the problems have addressed the exclusion of Japanese restaurants. Then again the exclusivity of high end Japanese restaurants, which often shades into nothing short of racist - if you're not Japanese you can't get in - is always going to make it tough to represent them fully. And frankly, i don't care how good they are. I find those entry requirements obnoxious. As far as I'm concerned they can fuck off. Really.

And so now there will be lots of arguing and shouting, and a great big piss up and a lot of back slapping.

And what is wrong with that?


Jay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it flawed? Absolutely. All such exercises are. I haven't, as I type, seen this years list but I hope that our efforts to deal with some of the problems have addressed the exclusion of Japanese restaurants. Then again the exclusivity of high end Japanese restaurants, which often shades into nothing short of racist - if you're not Japanese you can't get in - is always going to make it tough to represent them fully. And frankly, i don't care how good they are. I find those entry requirements obnoxious. As far as I'm concerned they can fuck off. Really.

I'm far from an expert on Japanese cuisine - but is it really as bad as people make out? Michelin seemed to get into plenty of places there, or would they not be booking as someone off the street? Either way, as you've said, it's not meant to be a complete list and you don't have to represent them fully, or is it really the case that Japan doesn't have any non-exclusive type restaurants that would make it on the list?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it flawed? Absolutely. All such exercises are. I haven't, as I type, seen this years list but I hope that our efforts to deal with some of the problems have addressed the exclusion of Japanese restaurants. Then again the exclusivity of high end Japanese restaurants, which often shades into nothing short of racist - if you're not Japanese you can't get in - is always going to make it tough to represent them fully. And frankly, i don't care how good they are. I find those entry requirements obnoxious. As far as I'm concerned they can fuck off. Really.

I'm far from an expert on Japanese cuisine - but is it really as bad as people make out? Michelin seemed to get into plenty of places there, or would they not be booking as someone off the street? Either way, as you've said, it's not meant to be a complete list and you don't have to represent them fully, or is it really the case that Japan doesn't have any non-exclusive type restaurants that would make it on the list?

In my experience, yes, it really was that bad. Sure, there are some that can be accessed but many which can not.


Jay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jay is right: getting into the best Japanese restaurants is very hard - one needs to be recommended by a Japanese. And some of those that are excellent and relatively easy to get into, such as Sukiyabashi Jiro, make no effort to impress with the decor or service, or even give a warm welcome ( this specific whole-in-the-wall where 80-something Jiro-san works his magic has 3 Michelin stars).

The sushiman at another restaurant, Azabu Kadowaki, mr. Toshiya Kadowki, famously said to the NY Times that only the Japanese understand Japanese cuisine: "“Japanese food was created here, and only Japanese know it,” Mr. Kadowaki said in an interview. “How can a bunch of foreigners show up and tell us what is good or bad?”

Puh-leez!

No wonder they're under-represented in the list. The more roadblocks there are to dining at Japan's best, the less they'll be known - or voted for!

As for the 50 best list, I agree with most of Doc's predictions. Going up: Achatz's Alinea (he's on his way to London, sez Twitter), Scandinavians. Going down: Ramsay restaurants, Charlie Trotter.

I'd also guess that Marcus Wareing will be going up, and maybe (hopefully) a second Brazilian will make the list - either Jun Sakamoto or Kinoshita or Fasano.

Last but not least, regarding the voting panel (full disclosure: yes, I am on it), the number of judges has been increased, as has the number of voting regions (from 23 to 26) - all of the additional regions are outside of Europe. That should guarantee newcomers from other parts of the world crack the top 50.

We shall all find out tomorrow...


Edited by AlexForbes (log)

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience, yes, it really was that bad. Sure, there are some that can be accessed but many which can not.

It's a shame it's like that, I think I'll have to be doing a lot of research before i consider a trip out there.

By the way - didn't realise you had a book about your travels, I'm going to order myself a copy, looks like a good read!

Alex - It sounds like Chicago is quite a destination nowadays, I'd probably consider a trip out there but I think i'd need to figure out some kind of other excuse as well to justify the cost of the whole thing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Then again the exclusivity of high end Japanese restaurants, which often shades into nothing short of racist - if you're not Japanese you can't get in - is always going to make it tough to represent them fully. And frankly, i don't care how good they are. I find those entry requirements obnoxious. As far as I'm concerned they can fuck off. Really.

The sushiman at another restaurant, Azabu Kadowaki, mr. Toshiya Kadowki, famously said to the NY Times that only the Japanese understand Japanese cuisine: "“Japanese food was created here, and only Japanese know it,” Mr. Kadowaki said in an interview. “How can a bunch of foreigners show up and tell us what is good or bad?”

Not very much different from the attitude of many Chinese restaurants in London and elsewhere that have a 'real' menu that you can only access if you're chinese and/or speak the relevant language and then the standard menu..or what we might call the "childrens menu"...which is dumbed down for the rest of us who clearly would niether want, nor appreciate these proper dishes.

Today is the day for the UN anti-racism conference, right ?

Gareth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And the Oscar goes to.....

El Bulli, again!

And The Fat Duck is runner-up, again!

Happy to say my predictions came close.

Ramsay down? Check! Off the list altogether.

Trotter down? Check!

Alinea up? check! Up to #10.

Scandinavians on the rise? Check! Noma is #3.

My beloved Steirereck made the list, and I know why:

Relais & Chateaux had their annual meeting in Vienna,

so many top chefs and food jounos (such as myself)

ate there recently.

Full list will go up soon on their site.

For those who can't wait to see it, it's also posted online here.

And a story about Ramsay's fall, in The Telegraph.


Edited by AlexForbes (log)

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And the Oscar goes to.....

El Bulli, again!

And The Fat Duck is runner-up, again!

Happy to say my predictions came close.

Ramsay down? Check!

Alinea up? check! Up to #10.

Scandinavians on the rise? Check! Noma is #3.

My beloved Steirereck made the list, and I know why:

Relais & Chateaux had their annual meeting in Vienna,

so many top chefs and food jounos (such as myself)

ate there recently.

Full list will go up soon on their site.

For those who can't wait to see it, it's also posted online here.

Per Se #1 in the US!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And the Oscar goes to.....

El Bulli, again!

And The Fat Duck is runner-up, again!

Happy to say my predictions came close.

Ramsay down? Check!

Alinea up? check! Up to #10.

Scandinavians on the rise? Check! Noma is #3.

My beloved Steirereck made the list, and I know why:

Relais & Chateaux had their annual meeting in Vienna,

so many top chefs and food jounos (such as myself)

ate there recently.

Full list will go up soon on their site.

For those who can't wait to see it, it's also posted online here.

Ssam Bar at #31, but no Ko?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And the Oscar goes to.....

El Bulli, again!

And The Fat Duck is runner-up, again!

Happy to say my predictions came close.

Ramsay down? Check!

Alinea up? check! Up to #10.

Scandinavians on the rise? Check! Noma is #3.

My beloved Steirereck made the list, and I know why:

Relais & Chateaux had their annual meeting in Vienna,

so many top chefs and food jounos (such as myself)

ate there recently.

Full list will go up soon on their site.

For those who can't wait to see it, it's also posted online here.

Ssam Bar at #31, but no Ko?

Ko is too new. Notice also no Corton. IMO that clearly belongs there. I have eaten at 10 of the top 15 and Corton is at that level.

No Charlie Trotter on the list either.

Congratulations to Ferran Adria and the elBulli team. There really is no place like it. Congratulations to all of the restaurants on the list!


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I must say I don't really see any reason for the "incident" at the Fat Duck to have any bearing on these type of arbitrary lists. Wasn't the conclusion firmly on the side of it not being food related?

Surely what's being assessed is the quality of the restaurant not the risk factors of the business.

But back to the point - my money is on there being some new entrants from the Scandinavian MG boys...

While it shouldn't have any bearing, I still think that it probably will. So much of this list is about buzz. What makes the list somewhat plausible is that many, maybe even most of the restaurants that make it are deserving and arguably belong on the list. What makes the list something of a travesty is the poor execution when it comes to rating restaurants in Asia and japan. C'mon, Bukhara in Delhi is probably not even the best restaurant in Delhi let alone Asia. Granted it fell out of the top 50 last year.

I suspect that you are right about the Scandinavians. I think that you will see some shuffling in the US with Alinea rising and Charlie Trotter falling. It will be interesting to see if any of the bistronomic restaurants will make the list. Momfuku Ssam Bar probably stands the greatest chance because of all the hype it has received.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Bras and Gordon Ramsey fall as well. Bras because of many reports of slippage and GR because he seems to have taken a massive pr beating over the past year.

We'll see.

I was right about Alinea, Trotter and Ramsey but wrong about Bras. I was also right about Ssam Bar. Le Chataubriand is another bistronomic restaurant to make the list.

Spain rules with 40% of the top ten and three of the top five!

Osteria Francescana, a personal favorite, the top Italian as a new entry! The Scandinavians have clearly arrived.

Interesting list.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very happy about "Celler" also....hopefully, they will get their third star soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...