The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 have been crowned in Bilbao, Spain, but who came out on top? Who was snubbed? And has the restaurant world learned anything from recent debates around equality and sexism, particularly in kitchens?
Here are the main talking points…
The top 5
1. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
Chef Massimo Bottura’s three-star Michelin restaurant jumped from second place in 2017 to first this time around, but it’s not entirely new to the top spot, having won in 2016 too. He’s much touted for his deconstructed dessert, Oops I Dropped the Lemon Tart and for creating a lasagne comprised entirely of the crunchy, crispy bits everyone fights over.
2. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)
This brother run northern Spanish restaurant is all about finesse and elegance on the plate – and their legendary wine pairing.
3. Mirazur (Menton, France)
Chef Mauro Colagreco combines his Argentinian heritage with French produce – his oysters are said to be incredible.
4. Eleven Madison Park (New York City)
It was the world’s best restaurant, but chef Daniel Hum’s modernist joint has dropped down to fourth (although that may have something to do with being closed for several months due to a renovation. If you ever blag a table, order the duck.
5. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
Chef Gaggan Anand serves progressive, modern Indian cuisine, and presents diners with a list of emojis, rather than a standard menu.
The awards have been criticised for a number of things. Firstly, the fact the top 10 is basically the same as last year’s, save for a few switch arounds position-wise, and those that are most celebrated are largely focussed on expensive European fine dining – there’s not much diversity, and little intrigue. Bloomberg said the awards had a sense of “deja vu” to them.
Talking of diversity, of the top 50 restaurants, just five are headed up – or co run – by women. And despite winning Best Female Chef award, Clare Smyth’s restaurant, Core by Clare Smith, didn’t actually find itself on the list. The Best Female Chef award actually came under fire itself – arguably, if women in professional kitchens weren’t treated as anomalies, surely this award wouldn’t be needed at all?
There was also much outrage that San Francisco restaurant, Atelier Crenn, headed up by chef Dominique Crenn, was also missed off the list.
The Brits on the list
Just four UK based restaurants made the top 50, namely The Clove Club (order the crab), Lyle’s (perfect for a low key lunch), The Ledbury (indulge in the tasting menu) and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (you have to try the meat fruit).