The 50 World’s Best Restaurants – S.Pellegrino awards

“Being branded the number one restaurant in the world is actually very humbling”. Heston Blumenthal

It must be. Being number one is never easy. In my opinion, number two is slightly better off – you can always visualize who or what you are after and that something or someone sets a pace.

Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, England was nominated no.1 in 2005 according to S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. 2006 through 2009 it took a 2nd place on the favorites’ list, this year being outcooked by a few more.
Please don’t take it I am in favor of The Fat Duck versus any other on the list – I did refer to the owner and the chef of the place since it was his quote I came across. It did make me wonder what are those awards about and who is no 1.
Let’s see the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards. The Fat Duck is among the top 10, however it gave its way to 4 other restaurants and now is a holder of a proud no 5 spot.

Here comes the full list, 2011:

Rank Position Restaurant Country Awards
1 Noma Denmark The S.Pellegrino Best Restaurant in the World. The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Europe
2 Up 2 El Celler De Can Roca Spain
3 Up 2 Mugaritz Spain
4 Up 2 Osteria Francescana Italy The Chefs’ Choice sponsored by Electrolux
5 Down 2 The Fat Duck UK
6 Up 1 Alinea USA The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In North America
7 Up 11 D.O.M Brazil The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In South America
8 Up 1 Arzak Spain
9 Up 2 Le Chateaubriand France
10 Per Se USA
11 Down 3 Daniel USA
12 Up 12 Les Creations de Narisawa Japan The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In Asia
13 Up 3 L’Astrance France
14 Up 15 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon France
15 Up 2 Hof van Cleve Belgium
16 Down 3 Pierre Gagnaire France
17 Up 2 Oud Sluis Netherlands
18 Down 3 Le Bernardin USA
19 Re-Entry L’Arpege France
20 Up 28 Nihonryori RyuGin Japan Highest Climber Sponsored by Lavazza
21 Up 1 Vendome Germany
22 Down 1 Steirereck Austria
23 Up 7 Schloss Schauenstein Switzerland
24 Up 26 Eleven Madison Park USA
25 Up 9 Aqua Germany
26 Up 1 Quay Australia The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In Australasia
27 Up 1 Iggy’s Singapore
28 Up 7 Combal Zero Italy
29 Up 4 Martin Berasategui Spain
30 Re-Entry Bras France
31 Up 15 Biko Mexico
32 Down 12 Le Calandre Italy
33 Re-Entry Cracco Italy
34 New Entry The Ledbury UK Highest New Entry Sponsored by Silestone
35 Down 12 Chez Dominique Finland
36 Down 5 Le Quartier Francais South Africa The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In The Middle East and Africa
37 New Entry Amber Hong Kong
38 Down 2 Dal Pescatore Italy
39 Up 1 Il Canto Italy
40 Down 14 Momofuku Ssam Bar USA
41 Up 2 St John UK
42 New Entry Astrid Y Gaston Peru
43 Up 6 Hibiscus UK
44 Maison Troisgros France
45 Down 4 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee France
46 Down 9 De Librije Netherlands
47 Down 33 Restaurant de l’Hotel De Ville Switzerland
48 New Entry Varvary Russia
49 New Entry Pujol Mexico
50 Re-Entry Asador Etxebarri Spain

It is far more than tempting to compliment the vacations with some exclusive culinary experiences. This may be a good hint for where to start, however bare in mind to make the reservations a while in advance!
For those interested in more details how this list is born every year:

How we do it

The list of the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants (and the award ceremony organised to celebrate its annual unveiling) is organised and compiled by Restaurant Magazine. None of the employees of any of the sponsors associated with the awards, including the headline one, votes or has any influence over the results.
The list is created from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 800 international leaders in the restaurant industry, each selected for their expert opinion of the international restaurant scene. The Academy comprises 27 separate regions around the world. Each region has its own panel of 31 members including a chairperson to head it up. The panel is made up of food critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’ each of whom has seven votes. Of the seven votes, at least three of which must be used to recognise restaurants outside of their region. At least 10 panellists from each region change each year.
The results are published online as soon as they have been announced to the assembled chefs and academy members in April.
Some regions span more than one country. The decision as to how the world is divided up is left to the regional chairs and is debated and reassessed annually. The divisions are designed to fairly represent the global restaurant scene at the current time.
The main rules of voting are:
  • Voting is strictly confidential before the awards announcement
  • Panellists may vote for up to 4 restaurants within their region
  • At least 3 votes must be for restaurants located outside of their region
  • Voters must have eaten in the restaurants they nominate in the last 18 months
  • Voters are not permitted to vote for restaurants they own or have an interest in
  • Nominations must be made for the restaurant, not for the restaurateur or the chef
  • Panellists submit their 7 choices in order of preference (this information is used to decide on positions in the event of a tie)
Other than this there are “no rules”.
This is what makes the S. Pellegrino World 50 Best Restaurants unique and not comparable to any other guide or ranking of restaurants.
These criteria are designed to allow our panellists to vote far and wide. They could vote for a small, unknown restaurant in a secluded region, or select the best-known restaurants in the world – it is their opinion and the experiences they have had that matters.
This method means that restaurants cannot apply to be on the list, and cannot be nominated, and no external influences (from Restaurant magazine or our sponsors) can influence the list. It also means that every restaurant in the world is eligible, unless the restaurant is closed at the time of going to print in mid April, or we receive notice that it will be closing in the near future after the results are published.
There are no criteria that a restaurant has to meet. They certainly do not have to sell a certain product. They do not need to have been open a certain number of years and they do not need to have won any other culinary accolades.

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