Every year the World’s 50 Best Restaurants anoints 50 chefs and their crews with the ultimate crown of excellence. The 50 best restaurants in the world are about more than just the food — they embody innovation, artistry, and community all rolled into one tasty package. Yes, these are run by great chefs serving mind-blowing food. But they’re also just people behind the grill, working hard every night to bring us an experience unlike any other.
With the new roster of winners announced yesterday, we thought we’d take you on a visual tour of the top ten. These are the chefs, crews, and restaurants who are redefining cuisine around the world and blazing a path for all future chefs and food as a whole.
You can check out the full list of winners here.
10. ASADOR ETXEBARRI — Axpe, Spain
Sometimes the simplest foods are the most enduring and engaging. Spain’s Asador Etxebarri from Chef Victor Arguinzoniz takes wood-fired cuisine to delectable heights.
The shining stars of Etxebarri are perfectly grilled local steaks served on the bone, masterfully grilled smoky bright red prawns, and a true love of local, seasonal, and bright Basque classics. The restaurant is a testament to how good the simple things in life should be and can be with a little love.
9. MUGARITZ — San Sebastian, Spain
About an hour from Extebarri up on the coast, you’ll find San Sebastian — a town renowned for amazing food around every corner. To stand out in San Sebastian takes a lot of effort and some seriously life-changing food.
Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz is creating something called “techno-emotional Spanish” cuisine. Our interpretation is that that’s something akin to masterfully executed Spanish comfort food. Imagine a dish you’ve loved your whole life reimaged and restructured in fantastical ways, while maintaining those trademark rich flavors. It’s almost a magic trick on a plate.
8. ARPÈGE — Paris, France
Chef Alain Passard’s Aprège is at the forefront of great French cuisine. The highlight here has been the wonderous bounty of French fruits and vegetables, dairy agriculture, and, more recently, fruits of the sea with small quantities of animal protein here and there. Passard and his crew are able to take humble foods and elevate them to a higher plain with an eye acutely aimed at bright vegetables and ripe fruits as the star of every meal.
7. MAIDO — Lima, Peru
Chefs Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura and Cesar Choy are the masters of Nikkei. Think Japanese sashimi blended with Peruvian ceviche and you’ll get a sense of this wholly unique Japanese-Peruvian food movement.
Tsumura and Choy work a bit of magic in the kitchen with local ingredients filtered through both Japanese and Peruvian food traditions to create artistic masterpieces on every plate. Maido is an experience where culinary mastery meets elevated artistry to create pure deliciousness.
6. CENTRAL — Lima, Peru
Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pia León are the spearheads of the rebirth of the indigenous food movement (amongst high-end cuisine) in Peru. They’ve turned their culinary gaze inward to champion the deep food culture of native Peru and put that food onto plates in the most colorful, dynamic, and celebratory way possible. Each plate at Central is a rhapsodic trip through Peru’s voluminous and motley foods that are foraged, fished, hunted, and gathered from across the country.
5. GAGGAN — Bangkok, Thailand
Is the best Indian restaurant in Thailand? It would seem so if you’re looking for “progressive Indian cuisine” from the brain trust of avant-garde chefs Gaggan Anand and Rydo Anton. Anand and Anton are able to bring a levity to fine dining that pumps a breath of fresh air into the whole scene. Yes, their plating and menu is a tour-de-force of restructured Indian masterpieces; but they also have fun with form. Case in point, their emoji desserts — which blend expert execution with cultural touchstones that fit perfectly in an Instagram-obsessed world.
4. ELEVEN MADISON PARK — New York, USA
Last year, Eleven Madison Park took home the title. This year they’re still in the top five and the only North American entry on the list (have the World’s 50 Best judges even tried an In-N-Out burger?). Chefs Daniel Humm and Dmitri Magi have crafted a classic New York restaurant that focuses on haute European cuisine filtered through an American lens.
This is dramatically beautiful food that celebrates what great food can be with precision.
3. MIRAZUR — Menton, France
Menton, France, is one of those French Riveria towns (right on the border with Italy no less) that looks like it’s a living postcard. The city’s premiere restaurant, Mirazur, is equally living perfection.
The cuisine is decidedly Mediterranean — no surprise given the location — and has a flair and whimsy that embraces you with comfort, crispness, and profundity. This is food that isn’t afraid to be big and bold while still executed with deft and love. Mirazur is the embodiment of everything you want the French Riveria to be when you’re there — colorful, lustful, and ever-lasting.
2. EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA — Girona, Spain
Back in Spain, El Cellar de can Roca sits in the foothills of the Pyrenees and captures yet another unique culture of Spain — Catalonia. Chef Joan Roca embraces the wonders of local Catalan and Spanish classics and hoists them to technologically intriguing heights.
While the dining menu is superb, the Roca family is blazing a path in dessert gastronomy as well. They’re even opening their own chocolate factory to further their pursuit of pasteles (pastry) mastery. If you can score a reso, you’d better bring a sweet tooth.
1. OSTERIA FRANCESCANA — Modena, Italy
Chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana has retaken the crown as the world’s greatest restaurant. It’s really easy to see why. Chef Bottura’s elevation of Italian comfort food is one of the greatest achievements in gastronomy. Bottura and his team are also celebrated for their immense charity work that tackles restaurant industry waste to feed the homeless around the world.
Once-in-a-lifetime food combined with a truly important and industry-defining charity make Osteria Francescana, Chef Bottura, and his whole team the greatest of the great in 2018.