The World's 50 Best Restaurants

The World's Best 50 Restaurants is a list produced by UK media company William Reed Business Media, which originally appeared in the British magazine Restaurant, based on a poll of international chefs, restaurateurs, gourmands and restaurant critics. In addition to the main ranking, the organisation awards a series of special prizes for individuals and restaurants, including the One To Watch award, the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Chefs' Choice Award, the latter based on votes from the fifty head chefs from the restaurants on the previous year's list. Often working as a barometer of global gastronomic trends, the list showcases a variety of cuisines from all over the world.[1] The top restaurants have sometimes been 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.[2] In 2010, Noma received the first place award. It was maintained in 2011 and again in 2012.[3] 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.[4] 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, after dropping to second in 2017, when Eleven Madison Park topped the poll.[5]


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.[6] It was more successful than they expected and soon became established as a major event in the culinary world.[6]

The World's 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled from the votes of the "World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy", a group of 26 panels established to make the ranking.[1][7] 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 40 members, who every year cast thousands of votes.

There is no list of nominees; each member of the international voting panel votes for their own personal choice of ten restaurants. Up to seven votes can be cast for restaurants in the voter's own region, while at least four must go to restaurants outside of the home region.[1] 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 19 months. The integrity of the voting process and the resulting list is adjudicated by global consultancy firm Deloitte.[1]

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.

Since 2013, William Reed Business Media has also published two regional lists: Asia's 50 Best Restaurants and Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants.

Writing in The Guardian in 2003 Matthew Fort described the list as "humbug".[8] The French food writer and critic François-Régis Gaudry [fr] says the ranking lacks reliability,[9] 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.[10] The list has also been criticised as lacking female representation and being overly Eurocentric.[11]

Best RestaurantsEdit

Noma's former storefront
World's Best Restaurant
Year 1st 2nd 3rd
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
2019   Mirazur   Noma   Asador Etxebarri
2021   Noma   Geranium   Asador Etxebarri
2022   Geranium   Central Restaurante   Disfrutar

Best of the BestEdit

As of 19 January 2020[12]

Chefs' Choice AwardEdit

The Chefs' Choice Award is voted for by the head chefs of the restaurants in the list, who choose a peer who has made a positive impact in the restaurant industry in the previous year.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "The World's 50 Best Restaurants". The World's 50 Best Restaurants. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Spain's El Bulli named best restaurant in world". The Economic Times. India. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 September 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Richard Vines (30 April 2012). "Noma Keeps World's Best Restaurant Title, Fat Duck Sinks". Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  5. ^ Barry Neild (20 June 2018). "World's 50 best restaurants for 2018 announced". CNN.
  6. ^ a b Lauren Collins (2 November 2015), "Who's to Judge? – How the World's 50 Best Restaurants are chosen", The New Yorker, retrieved 10 April 2017
  7. ^ "About The Academy". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  8. ^ Fort, Matthew (29 April 2003). "Questionable taste". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  9. ^ "Que faut-il penser des World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013?".
  10. ^ "Restaurant' es un montaje". El País (in Spanish). 2 May 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  11. ^ Bull, Marian. "The World's 50 Best Restaurants List Is Also a Bad Bucket List". GQ. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Best of the Best". The World's 50 Best Restaurants. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  13. ^ Restaurant, Osteria Francescana Archived 4 February 2013 at 2011

External linksEdit