Thursday, April 20, 2017

The World's 50 Best Restaurants (2017) - San Pellegrino Best Restaurants in the World

Picture: The World's 50 Best Restaurants (2017) - San Pellegrino Best Restaurants in the World (Photo: Facebook)

Now in its 15th year, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants welcomes six brand new entries and three re-entries to the 2017 ranking. Showcasing a broad cross-section of cultures and cuisines, it includes restaurants from 22 countries across five continents. France, Spain and the USA each count six restaurants on the list.

For previous years, see:

The World's 50 Best Restaurants (2016) - San Pellegrino
The World's 50 Best Restaurants (2015) - San Pellegrino
The World's 50 Best Restaurants (2014) - San Pellegrino
The World's 50 Best Restaurants (2013) and the World's 10 Best Cities to Eat Well (2009)
The 2010 World's Best Restaurants

Picture: The World's 50 Best Restaurants

New York, one of the culinary capitals of the world, is now home to the finest culinary establishment on planet Earth, according to a controversial but influential restaurant guide. Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s Eleven Madison Park, a tasting menu spot famous for its nuclear-powered hospitality — from Googling guest preferences, to leaving bottles of Calvados on the table at the end of the meal (“have as much as you want”) and sending every patron home with a souvenir granola jar — has ascended to the top spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. A wine-paired dinner for two at the restaurant costs over $1,000.

The annual rankings, which have been criticized for their tendency to favor pricey tasting menus, their paucity of female-run restaurants, and their casual attitude toward judges accepting free meals (and free flights from aggressive tourist boards) were announced at a ceremony in Melbourne.

Pictures: The 2 German Restaurants on the 2017 List: Restaurant Tim Raue (Chef Tim Raue, Berlin) #48 and Vendôme (Chef Joachim Wissler, Bergisch Gladbach) #47 (Photos: Facebook and own)

In claiming the No.1 position on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Eleven Madison Park earns the dual titles of The World’s Best Restaurant and The Best Restaurant in North America. After debuting on the list at No.50 in 2010, Eleven Madison Park has hovered within the top 10 since 2012, rising to No.3 last year. The restaurant’s co-owners, Will Guidara and Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm, enhance the fine-dining experience with a sense of fun, blurring the line between the kitchen and the dining room. Housed in an art deco building overlooking New York’s Madison Park, the restaurant’s multi-course seasonal tasting menu celebrates the city’s rich history and culinary traditions.

Last year’s No.1, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, claims the No.2 position to retain its title as The Best Restaurant in Europe. Italy is also represented by familiar favourites Piazza Duomo (No.15) and Le Calandre (No.29) as well as first-time entry Reale, in Castel Di Sangro, debuting on the list at No. 43.

Noma, the groundbreaking Nordic establishment that held the top spot for four non-consecutive years, has fallen off the list; this comes as no surprise as restaurants that are closed, or that are about to close, are not eligible to be included.

Chef René Redzepi, who became a global culinary superstar by championing indigenous ingredients over European imports, relying on foraging for inspiration, and using of live insects on a long tasting menu, is currently operating a pop-up Noma in Tulum, Mexico; in fact he’s probably cooking up some driftwood yakitori on the binchotan right now. He’ll reopen and relocate the brick-and-mortar flagship in Copenhagen sometime soon.

France has doubled its number of restaurants on the list. Among France’s six entries, three rank in the top 20. Mirazur leads at No.4, followed by Arpège (No.12) while Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée makes a dramatic re-entry on the list to land at No.13. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, the restaurant headed by Yannick Alléno, debuts at No.31, earning the coveted Highest New Entry Award, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles. Other Paris-based restaurants Septime (No.35) and L’Astrance (No.46) also move up the ranking, rising 15 and 11 places respectively. Aside from celebrating Septime’s climb up the rankings, the restaurant also claims the Sustainable Restaurant Award, sponsored by Silestone, and audited by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Spain retains its strong presence on the list with three of its six restaurants landing in the top 10. Former No.1 El Celler de Can Roca leads the contingent at No.3 and is also the 2017 recipient of the The Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award in recognition of the restaurant’s warm atmosphere and ever-gracious service. Asador Etxebarri climbs four places to No.6 while Mugaritz in San Sebastian now sits at No.9.

While one New York restaurant takes the No.1 spot, another debuts on the list: Enrique Olvera’s Cosme is a first-time entry at No.40 while his other restaurant, Pujol in Mexico City, rises five places to No.20. Meanwhile, Dan Barber’s progressive restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, rises 37 places to No.11 to earn the Highest Climber Award, sponsored by Lavazza.

New York-based pastry entrepreneur Dominique Ansel is also honoured this year, claiming the 2017 title of The World’s Best Pastry Chef. Since opening his eponymous SoHo bakery in 2011 and launching the Cronut, his signature croissant-doughnut hybrid, French-born Ansel has extended his global influence to London and Tokyo. This award recognises his relentless creativity, innovation and ability to span the retail and restaurant sectors.

Host country Australia is represented by two restaurants, including one newcomer. Attica in Melbourne (No.32) rises one place to retain its title as The Best Restaurant in Australasia, while Brae in regional Victoria enters the ranking for the first time at No.44.

South America boasts five restaurants from across the continent on the list, including the debut of Tegui in Buenos Aires at No.49. Maido in Lima, last year’s winner of the Highest Climber Award, continues its upward trajectory, rising five places to No.8. Chef Virgilio Martínez steals the limelight with two award wins. His restaurant, Central (No.5), in Peru, is named The Best Restaurant in South America, while he is this year’s recipient of the peer-voted Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Estrella Damm.

Asia counts seven restaurants in the 2017 line-up, with Japan and Thailand each boasting two entries. After claiming the No.1 position for a third consecutive year at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony in February, Gaggan in Bangkok rises 16 places to No.7 to claim The Best Restaurant in Asia title. Elsewhere, Singapore’s Restaurant André climbs an impressive 18 places to secure the No.14 spot while Den in Tokyo, the 2016 recipient of the Miele One To Watch Award, arrives on the list at No.45.

The city of Copenhagen also fares well, with two of the Danish capital’s restaurants recognised. Geranium rises nine places to claim the No.19 position while Relae, the two-time winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award, climbs one place to No.39.

Respected chef Heston Blumenthal has double reason to celebrate. As well as being the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award, his London restaurant, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, rises nine places to sit at No.36. The winners’ circle also includes Ana Roš of Hiša Franko, Slovenia, who is named The World’s Best Female Chef 2017.

Women chefs helm just three of the 50 spots on the list — one more than last year. The only new restaurant with a female chef to make the list is Cosme, Enrique Olvera’s acclaimed and expensive Mexican spot in New York. The restaurant’s chef de cuisine is Daniela Soto-Innes. Worth noting: The kitchens at all three restaurants on the list with female chefs — Arzak, Central, and Cosme — happen to be co-run by male chefs.

Critics of the awards see the 50 Best as a popularity contest that looks at what’s fashionable in global dining. Previous best restaurants include Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in California, which is no longer on the list, and Ferran Adria’s now closed El Bulli. Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, the No. 1 a decade ago, failed to make the top 50 last year, coming in a no. 73.

The awards are independently adjudicated by the global consulting firm Deloitte. The roughly 1,500-person voting panel come from a pool equally made up of food writers, chefs and restaurateurs, and well-traveled gastronomes. The voting appears to be a touch different than in previous years. Judges now have 10 votes, up from seven, with four applying towards restaurants outside of their home reach, up from three. From a percentage basis, this technically means judges have a little bit less of a say in regions that aren’t their own. And while the voters are required to remain anonymous, they face no requirement to actually pay for their meals. This stands in contrast to the professional conduct of most critics, including Michelin inspectors, who, in an effort to remain independent and unbiased, are not permitted to accept freebies.

Here’s the full list:

1. Eleven Madison Park (New York City)
Chef: Daniel Humm
Last year's rank: 3
Average cost: $295
2. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
Chef: Massimo Bottura
Last year's rank: 1
Average cost: €220-€250
3. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)
Chef: Joan Roca
Last year's rank: 2
Average cost: €165-€195 (USD $184-$218)* 2015 pricing.
4. Mirazur (Menton, France)
Chef: Mauro Colagreco
Last year's rank: 6
Average cost: €110-€210
5. Central (Lima)
Chef: Virgilio Martinez, Pia Leon
Last year's rank: 4
Average cost: S/.348-428

6. Asador Etxebarri, Spain
7. Gaggan, Thailand
8. Maido, Peru
9. Mugaritz, Spain
10. Steirereck, Austria
11. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York
12. Arpège, France
13. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, France
14. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
15. Piazza Duomo, Italy
16. D.O.M., Brazil
17. Le Bernardin, New York City
18. Narisawa, Japan
19. Geranium, Denmark
20. Pujol, Mexico
21. Alinea, Chicago
22. Quintonil, Mexico
23. White Rabbit, Russia
24. Amber, Hong Kong
25. Tickets, Spain
26. The Clove Club, England
27. The Ledbury, England
28. Nahm, Thailand
29. Le Calandre, Italy
30. Arzak, Spain
31. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, France
32. Attica, Australia
33. Astrid y Gaston, Peru
34. De Librije, Netherlands
35. Septime, France
36. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, England
37. Saison, San Francisco
38. Azurmendi, Spain
39. Relae, Denmark
40. Cosme, New York City
41. Ultraviolet, China
42. Boragó, Chile
43. Reale, Italy
44. Brae, Australia
45. Den, Japan
46. Astrance, France
47. Vendôme, Germany
48. Restaurant Tim Raue, Germany
49. Tegui, Argentina
50. Hof Van Cleve, Belgium

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