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San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants 2010


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how is ssam bar ranked higher than french laundry

I know. It seems that the trend is moving towards casual dining. Most of those big French haute cuisines either dropped significantly or disappeared. Also, the top is more and more dominated by post-modern/molecular cooking. Ramsay is long gone since last year. French Laundry once was at 1st now at 32nd. Michel Bras has dropped from 7th to 56th! Ducasse’s Louis XV is at a shocking 98th!!!

In addition, people get bored from eating at the same place again and again. It’s superb to eat at French Laundry once or twice, but probably you won’t go back after the third time or fourth time max. It’s based on a voting system, so it gets less and less vote after a few years and it will eventually come down.

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how is ssam bar ranked higher than french laundry

I know. It seems that the trend is moving towards casual dining. Most of those big French haute cuisines either dropped significantly or disappeared. Also, the top is more and more dominated by post-modern/molecular cooking. Ramsay is long gone since last year. French Laundry once was at 1st now at 32nd. Michel Bras has dropped from 7th to 56th! Ducasse’s Louis XV is at a shocking 98th!!!

In addition, people get bored from eating at the same place again and again. It’s superb to eat at French Laundry once or twice, but probably you won’t go back after the third time or fourth time max. It’s based on a voting system, so it gets less and less vote after a few years and it will eventually come down.

You make a good point, especially voters are only supposed to vote for restaurants that they have visited over the previous 18 months.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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@TORRES - the last time I dined outside London? Last Tuesday. And the last time before that was the Monday before. Read my column and you'd know the answer.

It's just a list, people. Does it claim to be the final word? Absolutely not: we gather 800 people from around the world and ask them to nominate their top 5 restaurants. we throw in a couple of criteria - at least two must be outside their own region, they must have eaten there in the last 18 months, we don't insult them by asking for receipts - then we add up the votes and reveal the list.

Personally from my experience of eating internationally I'd say three out of 50 for Britain is about right. I'd have loved to see a couple of other places on there - le champignon sauvage perhaps, the sportsman in Kent - but I don't think their absence means the list is laughable. And if other people agreed with me and had voted for them they would have been there.

It's a list. Which means that once a year lots of people talk about restaurants as if they matter. That has to be a good thing.

Jay

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It's a list. Which means that once a year lots of people talk about restaurants as if they matter. That has to be a good thing.

I agree with Jay and find it slightly odd that people have got uptight about it. It may be helpful in future years to caveat the list with a description of what it is about, to me it seems to be a list of those restaurants that are in the avant garde, places that are pushing boundaries. It is more like a list of CD's you should have in your collection rather than a ranked list derived from scientific criteria. Unfortunately the "Best Restaurant" title gives it a "Top 20" slant which is a little mis-leading.

I like the way the list sits with Michelin, online forums and other guides. When read together with these guides, this list adds an extra dimension, they are the places those in the industry see as the best of the year. To use another music analogy, it is like a list of what top musicians have on their iPods, I may not like it all but it helps me expand my horizons.

That said, I have made it to ten of the fifty and all were experiences I enjoyed and would repeat. That isn't a bad hit rate, most other sources of restaurant recommendations only get a 60 to 70% hit rate at best.

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How does the majority of the 800 voters get into El Bulli every year so easily to vote and have it win so regularly? You have to make up a majority vote for the win? Wouldn't you have to have 600 or so make it their every year to get that majority, especially since you could reasonably expect 20-25% not to think El Bulli is number one? And it's only open for 6 months. That's 25 a week or 5 a day. You miss one here and there the chances of other critics making up the numbers increase exponentially. Even if they don't receive 401 votes which is likely due to votes being spread over a great number of restaurants, wouldn't you need even greater numbers to get a reservation to make that majority number? And shouldn't critics eat at a restaurant at least three times in a year to have an accurate opinion? There are hundreds of contenders for the list. I'm not sure that the critics can reach a reasonable majority of those in one year. You could go to two a day and only cover 730 of the restaurants in a year. To eat two or preferably three or more times? I'm not sure anyone has the financial clout for that. You can argue that the number of people voting makes up the numbers but I'm not sure there are enough seats in restaurants anyway.

Next is why are they voting over 18 months? I know food is influential but I'm pretty sure that 18 months doesn't equal a year... Maybe it is to cover those seats and have enough dining time to get an accurate representation. But restaurants change a lot in 18 months... So that gets ruled out due to previous performances from such a long period of time becoming redundant.

Maybe receipts are actually important? I know a lot of eating at these kinds of places is image related. I also know that you may be looked down on by your peers for not eating at these places. A lot of these guys have to eat at other restaurants, go to industry related things and what not. The critic can't always drive the Ferrari. They have to review the Toyota too. Chefs and front of house people still have restaurants to run. Many of these guys will be at work 6-7 days a week for most of the year.

Finally, it may just be a list. But the name of the list suggest to the general public that it is, in fact, the be all and end all. The media drum it up to be and I haven't heard any arguments from Restaurant magazine otherwise... You could argue this it is just a guide but the context of the wording used by Restaurant Magazine would state that it is actually the be all and end all list.

Edited by roosterchef21 (log)
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1. Calm down dear it's just a list, we seem to go through this scoring crap on here every year

2. I think your maths may be way off Rooster, it doesn't need a majority to win, it just needs to receive more votes than any other. If a thousand restaurants were nominated and it only got 30 votes, if the next highest score was 29 then it wins by being the most popular.

3. I've eaten at el bulli and it is the greatest thing ever, la la check me check me, i went, are you checking my wickedness, behold me. It was lovely though, i can see why it is always up there, i'm so very tired, so so tired, i think i'm going to go home, why did i add point 3 it wasn't needed, i guess i just wanted to tell someone, the goons here would never appreciate it, christ what am i doing wasting my career in this place, i could have another 30 years of this, i'm definitely going home,timewasting tits

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How does the majority of the 800 voters get into El Bulli every year so easily to vote and have it win so regularly? You have to make up a majority vote for the win? Wouldn't you have to have 600 or so make it their every year to get that majority, especially since you could reasonably expect 20-25% not to think El Bulli is number one?

NO, that's wrong. It is a very simple and achievable system, but it seems that you found it difficult to believe. You do NOT need a majority of the 800 voters’ vote to be Number 1. As long as you have the highest number of votes, you are Number 1. It depends on how many restaurants were there to "spread out" the votes.

800 voters voting on 5 restaurants each = 4,000 votes in total. They only published the top 100 but say there were a total of 200 restaurants that had any vote. Imagine the extreme case where votes got equally spread out, so each restaurant gets 4000/200 = 20. So all you need is 21 votes to be Number 1 in this extreme case!

You get the idea now? There are 800 voters, so definitely achievable. To be honest, it is probably much easier to tally up the votes than to gather a group of experts and host a big debate on who is Number 1, who is Number 2, etc. etc. all the way to Number 100.

Next is why are they voting over 18 months? I know food is influential but I'm pretty sure that 18 months doesn't equal a year... Maybe it is to cover those seats and have enough dining time to get an accurate representation.

Well, there can be arguments for why over 12 months? One of them can be that the voters are encouraged to dine at restaurants outside their own region because they can't vote for more than 2 places within their region. It requires travelling so 12 months is a bit too short to have a few travels done.

Chefs and front of house people still have restaurants to run. Many of these guys will be at work 6-7 days a week for most of the year.

Hmmm, chefs like Marcus Wareing will be in the kitchen almost everyday (at least that's what I hope). Chefs in his team do try out other restaurants and definitely give full feedback to Marcus. The way I see this is that votes from those chefs represents their kitchen team.

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1. Calm down dear it's just a list, we seem to go through this scoring crap on here every year

Ummm... No? Besides, if it happens every year that would seem to be a problem...

2. I think your maths may be way off Rooster, it doesn't need a majority to win, it just needs to receive more votes than any other. If a thousand restaurants were nominated and it only got 30 votes, if the next highest score was 29 then it wins by being the most popular.

That would be a majority... 30 is greater than 29. So that's a majority. Hello?

3. I've eaten at el bulli and it is the greatest thing ever, la la check me check me, i went, are you checking my wickedness, behold me. It was lovely though, i can see why it is always up there, i'm so very tired, so so tired, i think i'm going to go home, why did i add point 3 it wasn't needed, i guess i just wanted to tell someone, the goons here would never appreciate it, christ what am i doing wasting my career in this place, i could have another 30 years of this, i'm definitely going home,timewasting tits

Drunk? Had something a bit stiffer? If you don't like the people here or the points made simple solution. Leave.

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3. I've eaten at el bulli and it is the greatest thing ever, la la check me check me, i went, are you checking my wickedness, behold me. It was lovely though, i can see why it is always up there, i'm so very tired, so so tired, i think i'm going to go home, why did i add point 3 it wasn't needed, i guess i just wanted to tell someone, the goons here would never appreciate it, christ what am i doing wasting my career in this place, i could have another 30 years of this, i'm definitely going home,timewasting tits

Drunk? Had something a bit stiffer? If you don't like the people here or the points made simple solution. Leave.

Jamsie, yes, you are one of those someone who's wasting your career in this place. Just go home but I am sure you will be back here very soon! :smile:

Edited by FDE (log)

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800 voters voting on 5 restaurants each = 4,000 votes in total. They only published the top 100 but say there were a total of 200 restaurants that had any vote. Imagine the extreme case where votes got equally spread out, so each restaurant gets 4000/200 = 20. So all you need is 21 votes to be Number 1 in this extreme case!

You get the idea now? There are 800 voters, so definitely achievable. To be honest, it is probably much easier to tally up the votes than to gather a group of experts and host a big debate on who is Number 1, who is Number 2, etc. etc. all the way to Number 100.

Herein lies the problem. The list is too ambitious and too big to be taken seriously. There are too many experts trying to review too many restaurants in too short a period of time with too little funds. Besides, the question remains - how can you give an accurate representation of the restaurants after only going once? Two or three visits within 6 months of each other.

Well, there can be arguments for why over 12 months? One of them can be that the voters are encouraged to dine at restaurants outside their own region because they can't vote for more than 2 places within their region. It requires travelling so 12 months is a bit too short to have a few travels done.

I thought it was an annual list? That would be once every year. The time period should be within a year. Look at Annual Reports for instance. They don't look at earnings over 18 months. What about the EPL, NBA or NFL? It's not a list of who was the best team over 18 months. Oscars? Not the best over 18 months. Nobel Peace Prize? Same. If they want to do a list they should be travelling twice or more in twelve months.

Hmmm, chefs like Marcus Wareing will be in the kitchen almost everyday (at least that's what I hope). Chefs in his team do try out other restaurants and definitely give full feedback to Marcus. The way I see this is that votes from those chefs represents their kitchen team.

How does that work? It's not what the entire kitchen team thinks it's what they think. The kitchen team should not count and if it is then it is a flawed system. Or, alternatively, the entire kitchen team should be included in the Academy. If an apprentice was on the academy I would just laugh.

Look, I think the list brings much needed attention and recognition to the industry. But I also have serious doubts about the system and the list produced each year. I also have a problem with how it is percieved. A lot of people, not food focussed but the general public, put a lot of faith in the list. For the uneducated, I worry they would walk away disappointed. I know people who have gone to some of the restaurants that make the list and have done just this. Then they tell me they think our industry is egotistical and effed. By all means do the list but I take it with a grain of salt.

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1. Calm down dear it's just a list, we seem to go through this scoring crap on here every year

Ummm... No? Besides, if it happens every year that would seem to be a problem...

2. I think your maths may be way off Rooster, it doesn't need a majority to win, it just needs to receive more votes than any other. If a thousand restaurants were nominated and it only got 30 votes, if the next highest score was 29 then it wins by being the most popular.

That would be a majority... 30 is greater than 29. So that's a majority. Hello?

3. I've eaten at el bulli and it is the greatest thing ever, la la check me check me, i went, are you checking my wickedness, behold me. It was lovely though, i can see why it is always up there, i'm so very tired, so so tired, i think i'm going to go home, why did i add point 3 it wasn't needed, i guess i just wanted to tell someone, the goons here would never appreciate it, christ what am i doing wasting my career in this place, i could have another 30 years of this, i'm definitely going home,timewasting tits

Drunk? Had something a bit stiffer? If you don't like the people here or the points made simple solution. Leave.

I was talking about my job and this office not this internet forum.

People in my office are time wasting tits, i would never say that people on here were timewasting tits. Never. I would more likely say they were Pedantic P..........

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2. I think your maths may be way off Rooster, it doesn't need a majority to win, it just needs to receive more votes than any other. If a thousand restaurants were nominated and it only got 30 votes, if the next highest score was 29 then it wins by being the most popular.

That would be a majority... 30 is greater than 29. So that's a majority. Hello?

Drunk? Had something a bit stiffer? If you don't like the people here or the points made simple solution. Leave.

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2. I think your maths may be way off Rooster, it doesn't need a majority to win, it just needs to receive more votes than any other. If a thousand restaurants were nominated and it only got 30 votes, if the next highest score was 29 then it wins by being the most popular.

That would be a majority... 30 is greater than 29. So that's a majority. Hello?

Drunk? Had something a bit stiffer? If you don't like the people here or the points made simple solution. Leave.

Majority means more than half dear

ma·jor·i·ty (m-jôr-t, -jr-)

n. pl. ma·jor·i·ties

1. The greater number or part; a number more than half of the total.

2. The amount by which the greater number of votes cast, as in an election, exceeds the total number of remaining votes.

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How does that work? It's not what the entire kitchen team thinks it's what they think. The kitchen team should not count and if it is then it is a flawed system. Or, alternatively, the entire kitchen team should be included in the Academy. If an apprentice was on the academy I would just laugh.

Look, I think the list brings much needed attention and recognition to the industry. But I also have serious doubts about the system and the list produced each year. I also have a problem with how it is percieved. A lot of people, not food focussed but the general public, put a lot of faith in the list. For the uneducated, I worry they would walk away disappointed. I know people who have gone to some of the restaurants that make the list and have done just this. Then they tell me they think our industry is egotistical and effed. By all means do the list but I take it with a grain of salt.

Yes, I got your points. No list nor rating is perfect, but it is a good reference point. Say I am in S.Africa for a few days and already tried some locals recommended restaurants but what to do something different. Don't have much time to do research, well, on this S.Pellegrino 50Best list, there are two restaurants in S.Africa. I will give them a try.

Out of the 40 restaurants that I visited on the list, I would say 5 of them are terrible, 25 of them are from good to excellent, and 5 of them are very special, and 5 of them are simply unforgettable experience. This is a good list isn't it? Very good in fact!

I have followed restaurant suggestions from my local tour guides, hotel concierges, tour books, local ppl in the street, various magazines, and I was disappointed at most of them. Yes, MOST!

Yes, I understand your point that the general public put a lot of faith in the list. I would suggest you just use it the way you see it fit and no need to over think too much. If you have been to 10 restaurants on the list and you don't like 8 of them, then this list is definitely not for you.

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2. I think your maths may be way off Rooster, it doesn't need a majority to win, it just needs to receive more votes than any other. If a thousand restaurants were nominated and it only got 30 votes, if the next highest score was 29 then it wins by being the most popular.

That would be a majority... 30 is greater than 29. So that's a majority. Hello?

Drunk? Had something a bit stiffer? If you don't like the people here or the points made simple solution. Leave.

Majority means more than half dear

ma·jor·i·ty (m-jôr-t, -jr-)

n. pl. ma·jor·i·ties

1. The greater number or part; a number more than half of the total.

2. The amount by which the greater number of votes cast, as in an election, exceeds the total number of remaining votes.

Maybe you should of left that out... completely ruined your argument.

The funniest thing is that you went to an effort to find a definition. Not sure whether it's the effort or that you couldn't come up with a definition yourself. But thanks for enlightening us all.

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I prefer to think of chefs as directors rather than as movies. So the same chef being up for the award every year is like Steven Spielberg or James Cameron winning multiple Oscar's over the years, not like Avatar winning best picture every year.

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How does that work? It's not what the entire kitchen team thinks it's what they think. The kitchen team should not count and if it is then it is a flawed system. Or, alternatively, the entire kitchen team should be included in the Academy. If an apprentice was on the academy I would just laugh.

Look, I think the list brings much needed attention and recognition to the industry. But I also have serious doubts about the system and the list produced each year. I also have a problem with how it is percieved. A lot of people, not food focussed but the general public, put a lot of faith in the list. For the uneducated, I worry they would walk away disappointed. I know people who have gone to some of the restaurants that make the list and have done just this. Then they tell me they think our industry is egotistical and effed. By all means do the list but I take it with a grain of salt.

Yes, I got your points. No list nor rating is perfect, but it is a good reference point. Say I am in S.Africa for a few days and already tried some locals recommended restaurants but what to do something different. Don't have much time to do research, well, on this S.Pellegrino 50Best list, there are two restaurants in S.Africa. I will give them a try.

Out of the 40 restaurants that I visited on the list, I would say 5 of them are terrible, 25 of them are from good to excellent, and 5 of them are very special, and 5 of them are simply unforgettable experience. This is a good list isn't it? Very good in fact!

I have followed restaurant suggestions from my local tour guides, hotel concierges, tour books, local ppl in the street, various magazines, and I was disappointed at most of them. Yes, MOST!

Yes, I understand your point that the general public put a lot of faith in the list. I would suggest you just use it the way you see it fit and no need to over think too much. If you have been to 10 restaurants on the list and you don't like 8 of them, then this list is definitely not for you.

I don't disagree with that at all. I only have a problems with it's methods and what it is trying to do. I think the reason it exists is great and I'm all for that. But the sheer size of it is to me just not achievable with a degree of accuracy that I would expect. Especially with the name of the list. The World's 50 Best would state to me that is accurate without question. As I said earlier, I have friends in other industries who have been bitterly disappointed with some of the meals they have had. I do also think their are some restaurants that just shouldn't be their. Like Nobu.

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3. I've eaten at el bulli and it is the greatest thing ever, la la check me check me, i went, are you checking my wickedness, behold me. It was lovely though, i can see why it is always up there, i'm so very tired, so so tired, i think i'm going to go home, why did i add point 3 it wasn't needed, i guess i just wanted to tell someone, the goons here would never appreciate it, christ what am i doing wasting my career in this place, i could have another 30 years of this, i'm definitely going home,timewasting tits

Sure the whole last few days of posts will get taken down as its too argumentative for the mods, but just wanted to say this is one of the greatest paragraphs I've seen on eG. Tom Wolfe come back to life (yes, I know he's still physically alive you literalists, but he hasn't written anything good since '79, so is dead to me). Reminiscent of the Guardian's best OBO rants...

THis is me

*doff*

taking my hat off to you Jamsie (but why did you apologize over the majority thing when you were right?)

Good writing, like good food, is about beauty, not sense.

Edited by BertieWooster (log)

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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I do also think their are some restaurants that just shouldn't be their. Like Nobu.

Nobu isn't in the Top 100....? Am I missing something?

I am with FDE, I think the list is pretty good and is a representative snapshot of places that should be tried. It isn't a "safe" list, and so maybe not ideal for the once in a blue moon diner, so I can understand Roosterchefs comment that some will be disapointed: I have got lots of friends who "know what they like" and would find many of these places too far out for them.

All lists and systems are imperfect, rating a subjective experience is always fraught with danger. I think I like this list because I believe I share the similar tastes to the judges, so it is a list that works for me. Compare that to the UK Good Food Guide and I would say I am in a very different place. Horses for courses.

Number of visits/votes to win? I go with the idea that there are probably lots of different restaurants on everyone's lists, so maybe 2,000 in the pool. When the votes are spread this thinly it won't require a majority of judges i.e. 401 out of 800 to vote for the winner. To win you simply need the most votes which could be quite a low number.

How do they get into El Bulli? Simple El Bulli has a critics/chefs section with a number of seats reserved for visitors from the industry, so yes lots of critics can go. And it is logical that it does. Adria doesn't make money from the El Bulli restaurant, he makes it from the El Bulli brand. To maintain the brand he needs to market it to critics, and what better way than to offer scarce tables to journalists and evangelists.

Why should a UK publication have the Worlds Best Restaurant guide? Why should a US baseball competition be the World Series.....

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I do also think their are some restaurants that just shouldn't be their. Like Nobu.

Nobu isn't in the Top 100....? Am I missing something?

I am with FDE, I think the list is pretty good and is a representative snapshot of places that should be tried. It isn't a "safe" list, and so maybe not ideal for the once in a blue moon diner, so I can understand Roosterchefs comment that some will be disapointed: I have got lots of friends who "know what they like" and would find many of these places too far out for them.

All lists and systems are imperfect, rating a subjective experience is always fraught with danger. I think I like this list because I believe I share the similar tastes to the judges, so it is a list that works for me. Compare that to the UK Good Food Guide and I would say I am in a very different place. Horses for courses.

Number of visits/votes to win? I go with the idea that there are probably lots of different restaurants on everyone's lists, so maybe 2,000 in the pool. When the votes are spread this thinly it won't require a majority of judges i.e. 401 out of 800 to vote for the winner. To win you simply need the most votes which could be quite a low number.

How do they get into El Bulli? Simple El Bulli has a critics/chefs section with a number of seats reserved for visitors from the industry, so yes lots of critics can go. And it is logical that it does. Adria doesn't make money from the El Bulli restaurant, he makes it from the El Bulli brand. To maintain the brand he needs to market it to critics, and what better way than to offer scarce tables to journalists and evangelists.

Why should a UK publication have the Worlds Best Restaurant guide? Why should a US baseball competition be the World Series.....

Nobu was their the last few years.

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To me this is the "yelp" list of restaurants. If your close by give it a try but thats about it. To call this worlds bestbrestaurants is just disrespecting to a lot of chefs.

It gets way too much attention for what it is, and in the end, guess what, the ones who look at it is us. So don't.

I like omnivore. Get your tickets for nyc now.

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To call this worlds bestbrestaurants is just disrespecting to a lot of chefs.

Then why do so many of the worlds top chefs find the time, and make the effort to vote and attend the awards night?

I like Andy Hayler's comment, which sums it up quite well:

"The annual San Pellegrino “Top 50” restaurant list came out. I have written before about this (having been on the panel several times), so will not dwell on it other than to say that it is a great PR exercise that gets people talking about high-end cooking, which must be a good thing. It also gives a chance for some restaurants in more obscure corners of the world to get publicity. Just don’t analyst the list too carefully or the peculiarities will make themselves apparent, like looking too closely at a Hollywood film backdrop. It was nice to see Ryugin getting a look-in, and ditto Eleven Madison Park, while I was pleased to see Aqua doing well. I feel that such lists have limited real meaning, since at this level choosing one restaurant over another is very much a personal choice: chefs naturally enough prefer to reward inventiveness and success, hence the list of very modern restaurants at the top of the list. For me, the Michelin idea of grouping top places into categories is more reasonable, but there is no denying that the “Top 50” generates headlines, whatever its obvious flaws. It is best, however, not too take the actual list too seriously. For example: quickly, name the two top restauramts in London. Did you say St John and HIbiscus? Funny that, neither did I."

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