Since 2002, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list has featured the finest restaurants and most mesmerizing dining experiences around the globe.
Each restaurant featured on the annual list offers an extraordinary dining experience from beginning to end – one that not only emerges the guest in an unforgettable culinary journey, but also reflects the diversity of the culinary arts. From the busy streets of New York City to a small town in Italy, from the tip of South Africa to the island of Japan, every restaurant on the list speaks to their region and holds true to the culinary influences they were built on.
Each year, the list is a product of votes given by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy – an international panel made up of over 1,000 food writers, critics, chefs, restaurateurs and well-traveled gourmets. To ensure every restaurant in the world is eligible, there is no predetermined criteria for them to meet. However, the Academy does have strict voting rules. Members are required to remain anonymous while on the The World’s 50 Best voting panel. The Academy is split into 26 annually-assessed regions throughout the globe to fairly represent the global restaurant scene. Check out this year’s top five and other standouts on 2018 Top 50 list below.
A native to the quaint and historic town of Modena, Italy, Massimo Bottura’s love of cooking began in his grandmother’s kitchen, sitting at her feet while she rolled fresh tortellini and prepared other family meals.
His restaurant, Osteria Francescana, has sat on the top five of the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2010 and this year was its second time taking the first spot. Inspired by art, nature and other experiences in his life, Bottura has reinvented traditional Italian cuisine – creating edible narratives with ingredients that speak to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
When the restaurant first opened in 1995, Bottura’s modern, gastronomic take on traditional local dishes took harsh criticism from Modena locals, bringing Osteria Francescana to the edge of closure. Today, the three-Michelin starred restaurant has become one of the most revered destinations for chefs, food critics and foodies alike, while its head chef continues to take on the culinary world by force – with both his cooking and ambitious personality. His notable works of art at Osteria Francescana over the years include Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano, presenting the region’s beloved cheese in different textures and temperatures, and The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna, reinventing the dish’s favored crisp corner.
Outside the kitchen, Bottura and his wife, Lara Gilmore, are heavily involved in bringing the joy of cooking to both the local and global community. Together they founded Food for Soul – a nonprofit dedicated to empowering communities to fight against food waste through social inclusion. Since, the organization has built “food hall” style establishments in Brazil, London, Modena, Bologna and Milan, where renowned chefs from around the world are invited to volunteer in the kitchen and use surplus ingredients to create meals for people in need.
EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA
Twice ranked #1 in the world, the restaurant is a world-renowned culinary establishment created by three brothers – Joan Roca, the chef, Josep Roca, the sommelier, and Jordi Roca, the pastry chef.
The trio’s modern dishes are inspired by memories of their childhood in the Catalonia region of Spain where their parents owned, and still own, a traditional restaurant. El Celler de Can Roca was opened in 1986 by Joan and Josep after attending Girona Culinary School, and their younger brother Jordi joined the team as pastry chef after first astounding his brothers with one of his signature creations – ice cream infused with cigar smoke. Each extremely talented in their fields, the Roca brothers make a trip to El Celler an unforgettable one.
The tasting menu has included a long list of notable dishes throughout the years – including frozen olives served on a bonsai tree, dishes inspired by luxury perfumes, and a dessert infused with the “essence of old book.” Each dish is expertly paired with wines selected from the restaurant’s incredible cellar of close to 3,000 wines.
The restaurant and its creators remain at the forefront of the gastronomy scene, using innovative cooking techniques and presentations that seduce the mind as well as the senses.
Joan, Josep and Jordi are also heavily involved with academia and its link to culinary avant-garde and gastronomy techniques. They work as Goodwill Ambassadors for the United Nations Development Program, provide free well-being sessions for their employees and have appeared as part of the Science and Cooking program at Harvard University.
From Mirazur – situated on the rolling cliffs of the French Riviera with breathtaking views of the shimmering sea – chef Mauro Colagreco serves dishes influenced by his Italian-Argentinian heritage and the surrounding French region.
Before opening Mirazur in 2006 and earning his first Michelin star within a year, Colagreco worked in the kitchen of some of France’s most celebrated restaurants – working alongside French culinary greats Bernard Loiseau, Alain Passard and Alain Ducasse. Inspired by the surrounding area and ingredients from his personal garden or nearby market, Colagreco creates colorful, innovative dishes and a style of food unique to Mirazur.
Taking the restaurants superb location into consideration, each dish is inspired by three themes – the sea, the garden and the mountains. The restaurant sits just minutes away from the Italian border, allowing the restaurant to source ingredients from both French and Italian local markets. Ultra fresh ingredients include gamberoni prawns from San Remo, locally caught fish, saffron from Sospel, and olive oil and lemons from Menton.
Colagreco’s standout dishes range from anchovy fillets on fried anchovy skeletons, monkfish with topinambur puree and hazelnuts, and his signature oyster with tapioca, shallot cream and pear. Guests are offered a variety of menus to choose from depending on the experience they crave.
Mirazur now holds two Michelin stars and the kitchen is dedicated to changing its menu with the seasons – ensuring the freshest ingredients and produce in every dish presented to its patrons. Recently celebrating the 12th anniversary of Mirazur, the chef is also at the head of the food scene\ in Argentina with his burger chain, Carne, and owns a brasserie and restaurant, Grand Coeur, in Paris.
ELEVEN MADISON PARK
NEW YORK CITY, NY
Located in the heart of the Big Apple, Eleven Madison Park and Chef Daniel Humm have presented exquisite cuisine in the New York food scene since 2006.
The restaurant resides in a historic Art Deco building across from the picturesque Madison Square Park. Though a beautifully designed space, the restaurant would be nothing without its highly-celebrated chef. Born in Switzerland, Humm was working in a kitchen by the age of 14 and earned his first Michelin star at the age of 24. With Humm in the kitchen, Eleven Madison Park has received numerous accolades – including seven James Beard Foundation Awards, three Michelin Stars, and the top spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Backed by first-class service, Humm’s dishes are known for satisfying both your tastebuds and mind. Each dish that arrives in front of the diner at Eleven Madison Park is derived from fresh, local ingredients. Signature dishes on the restaurant’s eight to ten course tasting menu have included celery root cooked in a pig’s bladder, different iterations of roasted duck and dehydrated milk with bee pollen. Dishes are paired with expertly chosen wines or well-balanced cocktails served table side from a bar cart.
Ready to experience the world-renowned cuisine at Eleven Madison Park? Now is the perfect time. The restaurant just reopened last year with a fresh new kitchen and refurbished dining room – with an expanded lounge area that serves a five-course tasting menu for those in search of a lighter dining experience.
Post renovation, Humm’s dishes have taken a more minimalist approach, introducing a variety of new dishes that have become instant classics.
Born in India and raised in a lower-class family, Gaggan Anand’s parents strived to provide him with the best education – but school was never his priority.
Inspired by food and classic rock, Anand spent much of his childhood\ skipping school and exploringstreet markets, indulging in staples of Indian cuisine from street stalls. After college, Anand moved to Bangkok to pursue his culinary career working at a variety of upscale restaurants. His internship with three-Michelin-starred elBulli in Spain, paired with his desire to create a new take on Indian cuisine and encouragement from his brother, led him to the idea of opening his own restaurant.
Named number one on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for the fourth year in a row, Gaggan continues to push the limits of traditional Indian dishes and has grown to include influences from all around the globe on his emoji-filled tasting menu. One of his first signature dishes that still remains on the menu was inspired by his time at elBulli and the olive – a staple ingredient in Spanish cuisine. Created by reverse spherification, his Yoghurt Explosion creates an olive-shaped, gelatin form of yogurt – a staple of Indian food.
Newer menu items include Japanese-Indian nigiri, aubergine Oreo biscuits and Lick It Up, where guests are encourage to lick curry straight off their plate.
You only have until 2020 to taste of the culinary masterpieces of Gaggan, so book your reservation now! Plans to close the current restaurant and open a small restaurant in Fukuoka, Japan, are officially underway.
Even though the culinary world will lose his restaurant in Bangkok, there is no doubt that the chef will continue to serve up memorable dishes and create another world-class restaurant.
7. MAIDO – LIMA, PERU
Voted Best Restaurant in Latin America in 2017, Mitsuharu Tsumura’s menu presents a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. Born in Lima, Tsumura studied culinary arts in the United States and spent time in Japan to discover more about his cultural heritage. His signature dishes over the years include cod marinated in miso with crispy nuts, sea urchin rice and tofu cheesecake ice cream.
9. MUGARITZ – SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN
Aduriz’ gastronomic dishes are true masterpieces – taking unlikely forms that tease the mind and stimulate the senses. His two-Michelin starred restaurant is treated like a research lab, serving innovative dishes influenced by local ingredients and an element of surprise instilled in every Mugaritz 20-course tasting menu. The chef’s signature dishes over the years have included edible stones, egg yolk blanketed in sea urchin, tigernut ice cream with fried rice, and chocolate petit fours served in a wooden box with drawers – alluding to the seven deadly sins and allowing you to choose the sweets that you desire.
12. BLUE HILL AT STONE BARNS – POCANTICO HILLS, NY
Taking farm-to-table to the next level, every ingredient in Chef Dan Barber’s vibrant dishes are sourced year-round from his surrounding farm just hours before it arrives on the dining table. His commitment to natural flavors, eco-friendly and low-waste methods greatly influence the restaurant’s menu and kitchen practices.
13. PUJOL – MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
At Pujol, chef Enrique Olvera has proven that the rich culinary history of Mexico and the country’s popular street foods belong in a fine dining establishment. From baby corn coated in mayonnaise and flying ants to his signature Mole Madre, new mole (aged for more than 1500 days), Olvera is changing the way the world eats Mexican cuisine.
15. WHITE RABBIT – MOSCOW, RUSSIA
Through his culinary talent and desire to change the world’s limited view of Russian cuisine, Vladimir Mukhin takes traditional Russian ingredients and creates modern plates in a spectacular locale with a 360-view of Moscow. Standouts in his Modern Russian lineup include rabbit cabbage rolls in foie gras sauce, burnt cabbage and caviar, Borscht soup and black bread.
18. DISFRUTAR – BARCELONA, SPAIN
Four avant-garde tasting menus, three creative chefs (Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch), two Michelin stars and one thrilling dining experience is what awaits at Disfrutar. Famous dishes over the years have included crispy egg yolk, chocolate peppers with oil and salt, panchino filled with beluga caviar and gazpacho in sandwich form.
22. NARISAWA – TOKYO, JAPAN
Every Narisawa dish embodies the natural elements of Satoyama – a region between the mountain foothills and flat lands. Influenced by the seasonal ingredients, chef Yoshihiro Narisawa presents dishes such as broth made from poisonous snakes found near Okinawa or warm sashimi from Suruga Bay. The restaurant also boasts a long wine list of the finest found in Japan.
25. COSME – NEW YORK CITY, NY
Founded by #13’s chef Enrique Olvera, this hip New York City restaurant is run by one of the hottest young chefs in the United States. Chef Daniela Soto-Innes won the James Beard Rising Star Award in 2015 and has created many signature Mexican inspired dishes – each as tasty as the next – including duck carnitas and corn husk meringue.
29. ALLÉNO PARIS AU PAVILLON LEDOYEN – PARIS, FRANCE
Paris has long been the center of the culinary arts world and where better to experience modern French cuisine than at its oldest and most celebrated restaurant? Chef Yannick Alléno revived Pavillon Ledoyen in 2014 and has since created many stand-out dishes. Pike brioche, blue lobster tail in floral cucumber cream and black truffle in a cocoa crust … just to name a few.
34. ALINEA – CHICAGO, IL
At Alinea, you will find extraordinary dishes that are created to engage the senses, elicit nostalgia and take you far from a typical dining experience. Since the restaurant’s debut in 2005, chef Grant Achatz and his team have created innovative dishes such as clear pumpkin pie, potato truffle explosion and deconstructed peanut butter and jelly. The most famous? An apple taffy balloon filled with helium.
35. MAAEMO – OSLO, NORWAY
Meaning “Mother Earth” in ancient Norse, every item on Maaemo’s menu is comprised of ingredients from the surrounding region. Chef Holmboe Bang has created one of the most sought-after destination restaurants in the world – with signature dishes including langoustine roasted in pine butter and chicken foot with chicken liver and fermented lingonberry juice.
38. LYLE’S – LONDON, UK
Iconic British ingredients is what you will find on the tasting menu at Lyle’s. Modern takes on wild British game, mutton and black pudding are among the dishes that have been served by chef James Lowe.
22. NIHONRYORI RYUGIN – TOKYO, JAPAN
Contemporary kaiseki – a multi-course, modern Japanese meal presented with complete respect for the guest – makes the experience at Nihonryori RyuGin one to remember. Local ingredients are featured in chef Yamamoto’s dishes, including matsutake mushrooms, wild blowfish and snow crab. Make sure to try their standout dish, Fugu and Matsubagani.
44. MIKLA – ISTANBUL, TURKEY
The restaurant’s breathtaking view of the Bosphorus Strait could be reason enough to visit Mikla, but chef Mehmet Gürs’ New Anatolian cuisine is as equally beautiful as the scenery. From octopus, cheese, artichoke and lamb, the menu serves the best ingredients the region has to offer.
50. THE TEST KITCHEN – CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Voted Best Restaurant in Africa 2018 and the first-fine dining establishment in Cape Town, chef Luke Dale-Roberts uses fresh South African ingredients in globally-inspired dishes – including ceviche, oryx carpaccio and kingklip smoked with curry leaves.