Noma, a waterside establishment in Copenhagen where chef Rene Redzepi serves Nordic dishes such as poached sea urchin and powdered cucumber, was last night named the World’s Best Restaurant for the third straight year.
The Fat Duck, which came first in 2005, slumped to 13th from fifth last year. It was overtaken by the chef’s new venue, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which entered the World’s 50 Best Restaurants chart at ninth. The Ledbury, another London restaurant, surged to 14th from 34th.
The highest U.S. entries were Per Se, New York (sixth); Alinea, Chicago (seventh); and Eleven Madison Park, New York (10th). El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, and fellow Spanish restaurant Mugaritz, San Sebastian, held onto third and fourth places, respectively. D.O.M., Sao Paolo, rose to fourth from seventh.
“There is no doubt the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has changed the history of gastronomy,” El Bulli’s chef, Ferran Adria, said in a message to the organizers. “Today, it is the most important event in world cuisine.” (El Bulli won the best restaurant title five times before closing last year.)
Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Adria and Redzepi were among the chefs who attended the awards ceremony at the Guildhall in London yesterday evening. A total of 47 of the top 50 winners accepted invitations to the event.
Some of the leading chefs, including Brett Graham of the Ledbury and Sat Bains, went to the prime minister’s residence, at 10 Downing Street, before last night’s event. They were supporting “Food Is Great,” part of a campaign to promote the U.K. overseas.
Being named the world’s best can have a dramatic impact on a restaurant. On April 28, Redzepi posted a note on Twitter that he had 1,204 people waitlisted for that evening, compared with a total of 14 guests for lunch and dinner exactly two years before.
“We often had empty tables for lunch” before winning, Redzepi said in an interview after his first triumph in 2010. “The day after, we had more than 100,000 people trying to book online, which is an obscene amount. So in one day, we could have filled our restaurant for almost 15 years. It was a crazy thing.”
The Top 50 features eight U.S. restaurants and five from Spain. Six establishments in Asia made the list and the organizers announced plans to start the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, to be held in Singapore in February 2013.
The table is drawn up from the votes of members of 27 panels around the world, each with 30 members and a chairman or chairwoman. Panelists must pick four restaurants from within their region and three from outside, and they must have eaten in the places for which they vote within the previous 18 months.
I head the U.K. and Ireland panel this year and invited French chefs such as Albert Roux and Pierre Koffmann to join as well as younger restaurateurs such as Thomasina Miers of Wahaca. The full list of panel members is only published after the awards. Here’s a list of last year’s voters: http://www.theworlds50best.com/the-academy/.
La Grenouillere in northern France received the 2012 “One to Watch” award. The restaurant placed at 81. Last year’s One to Watch, Frantzen/Lindeberg, Stockholm, rose 37 places to 20.
Elena Arzak from Arzak restaurant, in San Sebastian, Spain, was named Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef; and Keller, who also owns the French Laundry, Yountville, California, won the S. Pellegrino Lifetime Achievement Award.
The event at the Guildhall is limited to about 600 people. It’s by invitation only and is one of the main chef events in the world. The World’s Best Restaurants 2012 are sponsored by Nestle SA’s S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.
Here’s the Top 50: 1 Noma Copenhagen, Denmark. 2 El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain. 3 Mugaritz San Sebastian, Spain. 4 D.O.M. Sao Paulo, Brazil. 5 Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy. 6 Per Se, New York, U.S. 7 Alinea, Chicago, U.S. 8 Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain. 9 Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, U.K. 10 Eleven Madison Park, New York, U.S. 11 Steirereck, Vienna, Austria. 12 L’Atelier Saint-Germain de Joel Robuchon, Paris, France. 13 The Fat Duck, Bray, U.K. 14 The Ledbury, London, U.K. 15 Le Chateaubriand, Paris, France. 16 L’Arpege, Paris, France. 17 Pierre Gagnaire, Paris, France. 18 L’Astrance, Paris, France. 19 Le Bernardin, New York, U.S. 20 Frantzen/Lindeberg, Stockholm, Sweden. 21 Oud Sluis, Sluis, Netherlands. 22 Aqua, Wolfsburg, German. 23 Vendome, Bergisch Gladbach. 24 Mirazur, Menton, France. 25 Daniel, New York, U.S. 26 Iggy’s, Singapore. 27 Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan. 28 Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan. 29 Quay, Sydney, Australia. 30 Schloss Schauenstein, Fuerstenau, Switzerland. 31 Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Spain. 32 Le Calandre, Padua, Italy. 33 De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands. 34 Faeviken, Jaerpen, Sweden. 35 Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru. 36 Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico. 37 Momofuku Ssam Bar, New York, U.S. 38 Biko, Mexico City, Mexico. 39 Waku Ghin, Singapore. 40 Quique Dacosta, Denia, Spain. 41 Mathias Dahlgren, Stockholm. 42 Hof Van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium. 43 The French Laundry, Yountville, U.S. 44 Amber, Hong Kong, China. 45 Vila Joya, Albufeira, Portugal. 46 Il Canto, Siena, Italy. 47 Bras, Laguiole, France. 48 Manresa, Los Gatos, U.S. 49 Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark 50 Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
The next 50: 51 Mani, Sao Paulo, Brazil. 52 Bo Innovation, Hong Kong, China. 53 Les Amis, Singapore. 54 Caprice, Hong Kong, China. 55 Ristorante Cracco, Milan, Italy. 56 Chez Dominique, Helsinki, Finland. 57 The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, S. Africa. 58 Coi, San Francisco, U.S. 59 Combal Zero, Turin, Italy. 60 Varvary, Moscow, Russia. 61 Marque, Sydney, Australia. 62 Malabar, Lima, Peru. 63 Attica, Melbourne, Australia. 64 Maison Troisgros, Roanne, France. 65 Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain. 66 Jean-Georges, New York, U.S. 67 Martin Berasategui, San Sebastian, Spain. 68 Restaurant Andre, Singapore. 69 Spondi, Athens, Greece. 70 Dal Pescatore, Mantua, Italy. 71 Roberta Sudbrack, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 72 La Vie Osnabrueck, Germany. 73 Maison Pic, Valence, France. 74 The Test Kitchen Cape Town, South Africa. 75 Restaurant Relae, Copenhagen, Denmark. 76 Tetsuya’s, Sydney, Australia. 77 Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Westchester, U.S. 78 Guy Savoy, Paris, France. 79 Momofuku Ko, New York, U.S. 80 Viajante, London, U.K. 81 La Grenouillere, Montreuil-sur-Mer, France. 82 Robuchon a Galera, Macau, China. 83 Zuma, Dubai, UAE. 84 Bukhara, New Delhi, India. 85 Die Schwarzwaldstube, Baiersbronn, Germany. 86 Tantris, Munich, Germany. 87 Septime, Paris, France. 88 Le Gavroche, London, U.K. 89 Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy. 90 Masa, New York, U.S. 91 Landhaus Bacher, Mautern, Austria. 92 In de Wulf, Heuvelland, Belgium. 93 Lung King Heen, Hong Kong, China. 94 Hibiscus, London, U.K. 95 Mr And Mrs Bund, Shanghai, China. 96 La Petite Maison, Dubai, UAE. 97 Restaurant Sat Bains Nottingham, U.K. 98 Chez Panisse, Berkeley, U.S. 99 Chaika, Moscow, Russia. 100 Hakkasan Mayfair, London, U.K.
(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)