Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca regained its title as the world’s best restaurant on Monday, fending off previous winner Noma, with which it has alternated the top honor in recent years.
The Copenhagen restaurant dropped two places to No. 3, knocking chef-owner Rene Redzepi off the top spot he had held last year and for three previous years at the annual fine dining ceremony held in London’s Guildhall.
El Celler de Can Roca, run by three brothers in Girona, Spain since 1986, was described as “hospitality at its finest” by organizers and took second place in 2014 after knocking Noma from the top perch in 2013.
Italy’s Osteria Francescana in Modena was the near winner this year, moving up one place to No. 2, while Central in Lima climbed 11 places to settle in at No. 4, pushing New York’s Eleven Madison Park to fifth place. The top 10 was rounded off by Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain, London’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Narisawa in Tokyo, D.O.M in Sao Paulo and Gaggan in Bangkok.
European restaurants dominated the top 50, taking 18 of the remaining 25 places for popular locations in Spain and France, along with White Rabbit, a new entry from Russia. Surprisingly McDonald’s was not on this list – little bit of sarcasm doesn’t hurt.
Other notable winners include Helene Darroze at her eponymous Paris restaurant and at the Connaught in London, named the World’s Best female chef, and French chef Daniel Boulud, best known for the New York-based Daniel, who picked up this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The awards, now in their 14th edition, have become a coveted honour for high-end restaurants around the world, rivalling the longstanding Michelin guides. But this year’s ceremony arrived amid recent criticism over its voting process.
The list, organized by trade publication Restaurant magazine since 2002, is based on the personal experiences of more than 1,000 chefs, restaurateurs and food experts, rather than according to a pre-determined criteria. A French group called Occupy 50 Best launched a petition in protest, accusing organizers of sexism, bias and a lack of transparency in the judging system.
Ahead of the countdown, Group Editor William Drew said that organizers had brought in consultancy firm Deloitte this year as an independent adjudicator to oversee the voting process. It was also announced that in 2016, the awards will be held in New York City, the first time it will be staged outside of Britain.