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Thursday, April 21, 2005

The World's 50 Best Restaurants

Britain's Restaurant magazine recently published its annual list of 50 best restaurants in the world. Not surprisingly London, Paris and New York feature prominently:

1. The Fat Duck, England
2. El Bulli, Spain
3. The French Laundry, California

4. Tetsuya's, Sydney
5. Gordon Ramsay, London
6. Pierre Gagnaire, Paris
7. Per Se, New York
8. Tom Aikens, London
9. Jean Georges, New York
10. St John, London

11. Michel Bras Laguiole, France
12. Le Louis XV, Monte Carlo
13. Chez Panisse, California
14. Charlie Trotter, Chicago
15. Gramercy Tavern, New York
16. Guy Savoy, Paris
Restaurant Alain Ducasse, Paris
18. The Gallery at Sketch, London
19. The Waterside Inn Bray, Berkshire
Nobu, London

21. Restaurante Arzak San Sebastian, Spain
22. El Raco de Can Fabes San Celoni, Spain
23. Checcino dal 1887, Rome
Le Meurice, Paris
25. L'Hotel de Ville Crissier, Switzerland
L'Arpege, Paris
Angela Hartnett at the Connaught, London
28. Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, Oxford
29. Le Cinq, Paris

30. Hakkasan, London
31. Cal Pep, Barcelona
Masa, New York
33. Flower Drum, Melbourne
34. WD50, New York
35. Le Quartier Francais Franschhoek, South Africa
36. Spice Market, New York
37. Auberge de l'Ill Illhaeusern, Alsace
38. Manresa, California
39. Restaurant Dieter Muller Begisch Gladbach, Germany

40. La Maison Troisgros Roanne, France
The Wolseley, London
Rockpool, Sydney
Yauatcha, London
44. The Ivy, London
45. Gambero Rosso San Vincenzo, Italy
46. The Cliff St James, Barbados
Le Gavroche, London
48. Enoteca Pinchiorri, Florence
49. Felix, Hong Kong
50. La Tupina, Bordeaux

And just like the Olympics =P, Australia doesn't do too badly for itself despite our modest population of 20 million. Three restaurants made the list, with Tetsuya's making the top four!

It's all about fine dining (and pricy degustations it would appear) but there are definitely some intriguing establishments. The Fat Duck's degustation menu features snail porridge; sardine on toast sorbet; salmon poached with liquorice; and, wait for it... smoked bacon and egg ice cream!

I've only made it to one restaurant on this list and I probably could have visited more throughout my travels (I used to loiter longingly outside Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's staring wistfully at the menu). But I was young. I was poor. I was a fool.

I could quite easily get to the other two Aussie flag-flyers. Then I just have to work on the plane ticket.

How many have you been to?
9 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 4/21/2005 08:00:00 pm


  • At 4/22/2005 12:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ahh i shall save this list and pin it up on my cork board, so that i can stare at it longingly and tick the names of the list as i make one pilgrimage after another...

    i've been to rockpool! but i didnt enjoy it very much. and jean georges, but only the shanghai one (opened about 9 months ago, and not on the list). jean georges was pretty nice.

  • At 4/22/2005 3:24 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I live in Rome and i've benn to Checchino twice, and honestly they absolutely doesn't deserve to be the first restaurant in Rome: there are lots of restaurant much better than Checchino!
    And three months ago I have visited enoteca pinchiorri in Florence and it was a great experience, even if it's an enoteca and not a restaurant.
    But why no japanese restaurants? sound strange...:-)

  • At 4/22/2005 5:30 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Zero. Zilch. I've been to none of the world's 50 best restaurants. And for a country that touts itself as a food paradise, isn't it sad that we didn't make it into this list?

  • At 4/22/2005 11:39 am, Blogger Kelly said…

    I've been to Flower Drum and it was, without a doubt, the best meal (and dining experience) that I have ever been privileged to experience.

    The service and food were both exquisite. The Peking duck is to die for. The atmosphere is hard to describe. You just feel like you're part of something very special!

    AG, I wholeheartedly recommend that you get on a plane and get down to Melbourne. It's well worth the trip. (Oh, but make your restaurant booking before you book your flight!)

    And Julia, don't be sad that Singapore didn't make it into this list. I guess it's because the best food there isn't served in fancy restaurants. It comes from everyone's local "downstairs" hawker centres. Oh, and No Signboard Seafood. And my beloved Canteen 3 at NTU - which kept me very well-fed during my exchange semester there! I miss Singapore so much when I'm hungry! Your country taught me how to love food! :)

  • At 4/22/2005 7:27 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Gwenda - I've been meaning to go to Rockpool for aaages. Now I guess I have even more of a driving incentive to get there.

    Yeah I agree. This has given me a handy directive for any future jetsetting travel.

    Hi Marco - Oh now you're making us jealous by reminding Aussies how isolated we are down here!

    I suppose any list has its prejudices and although Japanese-cuisined restaurants are featured, Western concepts of decor and service will always influence perceptions of "best".

    Hi Julia - See my comment above to Marco! I wouldn't worry. I agree with brisKJJ below. Good food is available in all contexts. Generally I prefer honest tasty affordable grub anyway. You do live in a foodie's paradise. Great variety, very affordable and available 24/7? You're always on a winner.

    Hi brisKJJ - I'll definitely have to check out Flower Drum now. I knew it was hatted, but I'm always skeptical about expensive Chinese food. Something inside me screams that good Chinese food has to be cheap and cheerful. Like Lebanese food. That's the inherent beauty in it.

    And I agree with you re: hawker foods. Eating gourmet ingredients is a joy, but tucking into something tasty made from easy ingredients is pretty special too.

  • At 4/22/2005 8:52 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    OK. I've been to several of these places, and to tell you the truth, they aren't really worth the money spent. I'd much rather spend all that money on several wonderfully delicious AND simple meals rather than a single indulgent extravagance.

  • At 4/23/2005 3:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm GOING to Tetsuya's in June. I made the booking a month ago which was probably a good thing - I'm sure it will be booked out for months now.

  • At 4/23/2005 4:09 pm, Blogger mrstweety said…

    Hey.. AG,
    Like Reid.. some are very over-rated.
    I've been to some.. and didn't like all that i've eaten.. but some like the French laundry.. i would go again.. :)
    Cal Pep, Barcelona.. i loved tremendously..!

  • At 4/26/2005 11:29 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Reid - True. I'm with you. If push came to shove, I'd probably rather do half-a-dozen family-run honest feeds than one monetary blow-out.

    In a ideal world though, I could do both couldn't I? =P

    Hi Barbara - Woohoo! You will love it. I haven't gotten so much mileage out of one restaurant patronage than I have for Tetsuya's! Let us know all about it!

    Hi MrsTweety - Ah yes, therein lies the rub... some are actually diamonds worth their price-tag. I'll just keep on saving... and er, drooling.


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