We Take a Look at the Newly Released List of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants
The 2016 list is released with a reshuffle at the top and a surprise new entry
Article by Sam Sinha
The time of year has come again for chefs to clench their buttocks in anticipation of the release of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Voted for by industry experts divided by regions worldwide, and published by Restaurant magazine, the list can be seen as a rival to the Michelin Guide as a adjudicator on the world’s best chefs.
Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana pipped the Roca brothers to the top spot, with the two swapping places from last year’s list. The rest of the top five also swapped places but there were no new entries into this elite group.
The top 10 is as follows, with the price of their tasting menu in brackets:
- Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy (£160-£180)
- El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain (£125-£150)
- Eleven Madison Park, New York City (£200)
- Central, Lima (£64-£80)
- Noma, Copenhagen (£195)
- Mirazur, Menton, France (£75-£185)
- Mugaritz, Errenteria, Spain (£165)
- Narisawa, Tokyo (£160)
- Steirereck, Vienna, Austria (£115-£125)
- Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain (£120)
The top 10 is dominated once again by Europe, with three restaurants coming from Spain this year. Virgilio Martínez Véliz’s Central waves the flag for South America. The Peruvian chef rediscovers forgotten indigenous ingredients with a modern twist. Just missing the top 10 is D.O.M, Alex Atala’s modern Brazilian restaurant which similarly uses Amazonian ingredients to redefine his country’s cuisine.
A mention should be given to Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa retaining his position at number eight, the only member of the top 10 from Asia. He cooks with the utmost respect for the natural Japanese environment, or satoyama, and aims to connect his guests with nature with dishes like “Soil Soup” and “Water Salad.”
The highest new entry goes to The Clove Club, located in Shoreditch Town Hall. The former supper club surprised everyone by jumping in at number 26. Isaac McHale’s reasonably priced but expertly delivered tasting menus and unfussy service are clearly a recipe for success.
With the Michelin Guide slowly modernising to keep up with modern tastes, amid accusations of snobbery and bias towards traditional standards of service and French cookery, it’s interesting that a former supper club in East London with informal service is rising rapidly up the ranks.
The World’s Best Female Chef award this year went to Dominique Crenn, whose passionate Ted Talks have inspired many. Her restaurant, Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, is modelled like an artist’s workshop with menu written as a poem, each line hinting at the dish to come. She bares her soul, serving emotions on a plate. Her aim is to evoke childhood memories and start a conversation with her diners.
It seems times are changing in the world of fine dining. The man who took on Italy’s stubborn traditionalism is on top and the only French restaurant in the top 10, Mirazur, is run by Italian, Mauro Colagreco.
Classic French techniques as ever pervade though, and modernists still build upon the imagination and knowledge of those who went before them. Some things never change and chefs who are rediscovering traditional terroir and respecting their local ecosystems are being rewarded.