Today, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants were announced at Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao, Spain. Tastemakers from all corners of the globe arrived in the Basque Country the days leading up to the ceremony, reveling in the region’s exceptional fare and dining at acclaimed restaurants like that of Eneko Atxa’s Azurmendi just 20 minutes outside of the host city and Arzak in neighboring San Sebastián. There was even a celebration for Mugaritz’s 20th anniversary, where attendees shimmied on the makeshift dance floor, snacked on bites presented at various stands, drank their fill of wine and gin tonics, and even participated in a few competitive rounds of tug of war, in which the final match resulted in a snapped rope and both sides tumbling to the ground in jovial laughter.
And while the festivities were plentiful, there was still work to be done. On Sunday, chefs Joan Roca, Gaggan Anand, Eneko Atxa, Dan Barber, Paul Pairet, Christina Tosi, and Clare Smythe, the recipient of this year’s World’s Best Female Chef award, took to the stage at the Basque Culinary Center in Donostia for a series of talks discussing matters like sustainability and answering questions about women in the hospitality industry. The following day renowned chefs Massimo Bottura and Alain Passard, artist Joana Vasconcelos, and architect Giulio Cappellini gathered at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and engaged in a conversation on how food and art are interlaced.
All of these events were in anticipation of tonight’s big unveiling, where the who’s who of fine dining were all gathered in one room, awaiting this year’s rankings. For its past five iterations, there have been a trio of restaurants that have rotated their positions within the leading five spots: Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, helmed by the vivacious Massimo Bottura; El Celler de Can Roca, ascending to the top twice in the past five years; and Eleven Madison Park, which claimed first place last year and was the first U.S. restaurant to garner such recognition since 2004. Noma, another mainstay and a top earner for four non-consecutive years since World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ inception in 2002, dropped off the list in 2017 as restaurants that are closed or are getting ready to close are not eligible for inclusion, and although René Redzepi reopened his famed establishment in February, it was too late for consideration in this year’s list.
But there are two glaring omissions: Core by Clare Smyth and Atelier Crenn. Once more the organization has left out the recipient of their World’s Best Female Chef award from their list of 100 restaurants, which had also occurred in 2016 when Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn was recognized for the same title. Now, after having ranked 83 last year, Atelier Crenn has been dropped from the list entirely. Chef Crenn has been a champion for women in the hospitality industry and has even previously called out the guide’s sponsor for gender inequality. One can only wonder if such outspoken criticism led to her removal, especially given that Crenn is arguably one of the most inventive and exciting chefs in the United States right now, with many critics rallying behind her. However, Ana Roš, last year’s winner of the same award, has climbed her way up into the top 50 with her restaurant Hiša Franko. There are now five female head chefs on the list (two more than last year), but there’s still a long way to go before we see women getting the proper recognition within this male-dominated industry.
Below, the full list of the 30 best restaurants in the world.
1. Osteria Francescana; Modena, Italy
2. El Celler de Can Roca; Girona, Spain
3. Mirazur; Menton, France
4. Eleven Madison Park; New York, USA
5. Gaggan; Bangkok, Thailand
6. Central; Lima, Peru
7. Maido; Lima, Peru
8. Arpège; Paris, France
9. Mugaritz; San Sebastián, Spain
10. Asador Etxebarri; Axpe, Spain
11. Quintonil; Mexico City, Mexico
12. Blue Hill at Stone Barns; Pocantico Hills, USA
13. Pujol; Mexico City, Mexico
14. Steirereck; Vienna, Austria
15. White Rabbit; Moscow, Russia
16. Piazza Duomo; Alba, Italy
17. Den; Tokyo, Japan
18. Disfrutar; Barcelona, Spain
19. Geranium; Copenhagen, Denmark
20. Attica; Melbourne, Australia
21. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée; Paris, France
22. Narisawa; Tokyo, Japan
23. Le Calandre; Rubano, Italy
24. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet; Shanghai, China
25. Cosme; New York, USA
26. Le Bernardin; New York, USA
27. Boragó; Santiago, Chile
28. Odette; Singapore
29. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen; Paris, France
30. D.O.M.; São Paulo, Brazil