The World's 50 Best Restaurants is a list produced by the British magazine Restaurant, based on a poll of international chefs, restaurateurs, gourmands and restaurant critics. In addition to the main ranking, the Chef's Choice list is based on votes from the fifty head chefs from the restaurants on the previous year's list. The top restaurants are often forerunners of molecular gastronomy. Most of the restaurants serve haute cuisine, which is characterized by the meticulous preparation and careful presentation of food.
The first place on the list has been dominated by elBulli and Noma. In 2002 and 2006-2009, elBulli was determined to be the world's best restaurant, winning more times than any other restaurant. In 2010, Noma received the first place award. It was maintained in 2011 and again in 2012. After defending its title for the third time, chef René Redzepi said that 1,204 customers were wait-listed for the evening, compared to 14 customers from two years before. However, in 2013 El Celler De Can Roca took over the first position before Noma regained it in 2014. In 2018, Osteria Francescana regained the crown it had held in 2016, before dropping to second in 2017.
The list originated as a one-off stunt by the staff of Restaurant magazine, who came up with the idea at the Shaston Arms public house in London's Carnaby Street. It was more successful than they expected and soon became established as a major event in the culinary world.
The World's 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled from the votes of the "World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy", a group of 27 panels established to make the ranking. The world is divided into regions, with a chairperson in each region appointed for their knowledge of their part of the restaurant world. These chairs each selected a voting panel of 35 members, who cast a total of 5,859 votes.
There is no list of nominees; each member of the international voting panel votes for their own personal choice of seven restaurants. To ensure that there are winners from many regions, judges are encouraged to vote for up to three restaurants in their own region, with the rest cast outside their home region. No voting member is allowed to vote for their own restaurant, or one in which they have an economic interest, and voters must have eaten in the restaurants they nominate within the past 18 months - although it is not possible to ensure that they have.
The criteria are different from those of the Michelin Guide or other guides, which has allowed restaurants like Momofuku Ssam Bar, Asador Etxebarri and St. John to hold their own among the molecular or traditional cuisine of restaurants such as The Fat Duck, Les Ambassadeurs or The French Laundry.
|World's Best Restaurant|
|2002||elBulli||Gordon Ramsay||The French Laundry|
|2003||The French Laundry||elBulli||Le Louis XV|
|2004||The French Laundry||The Fat Duck||elBulli|
|2005||The Fat Duck||elBulli||The French Laundry|
|2006||elBulli||The Fat Duck||Pierre Gagnaire|
|2007||elBulli||The Fat Duck||Pierre Gagnaire|
|2008||elBulli||The Fat Duck||Pierre Gagnaire|
|2009||elBulli||The Fat Duck||Noma|
|2010||Noma||elBulli||The Fat Duck|
|2011||Noma||El Celler de Can Roca||Mugaritz|
|2012||Noma||El Celler de Can Roca||Mugaritz|
|2013||El Celler de Can Roca||Noma||Osteria Francescana|
|2014||Noma||El Celler de Can Roca||Osteria Francescana|
|2015||El Celler de Can Roca||Osteria Francescana||Noma|
|2016||Osteria Francescana||El Celler de Can Roca||Eleven Madison Park|
|2017||Eleven Madison Park||Osteria Francescana||El Celler de Can Roca|
|2018||Osteria Francescana||El Celler de Can Roca||Mirazur|
The World's 50 Best Restaurants list has been criticised; writing in The Guardian in 2003 Matthew Fort described the list as "humbug". The French food writer and critic François-Régis Gaudry says the ranking lacks reliability, while the Spanish chef Martín Berasategui spoke of "rigged" ranking, manipulated by an "important international food company" in order to "cause damage" to the Michelin Guide. The list has also been criticised as lacking female representation and being overly Eurocentric.
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