Streaming live from New York on June 13th, my husband and I connected the Mac to the big screen TV, grabbed a glass of wine, and sat back to listen to the much anticipated World’s 50 Best Restaurant List. Much of our travel has been based on this list; Copenhagen, New York, Mexico City, Spain, and later this year, Bangkok. The top 51-100 restaurants list was released a few weeks ago on the Worlds 50 Best website and it appeared that there might be a little shake up on this year’s top 50 best. Some we agreed should tumble down the list, others, albeit, one of our favorites, we could not understand why they were not in the top 10. Though I have not been to every restaurant on the list, the ones I have been to, I can offer a genuine opinion.
Out of the top 10, 7 were returning from last year, and 5 are repeat veterans. Europe still dominates, Latin American restaurants held onto their positions, but the Asian region seemed to have the most movement down the list. It’s interesting to know that the Diners Club® World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy consists of 1000 individuals based in 27 geographical regions who vote anonymously for 7 of their favorite restaurants; 4 in their region, and 3 outside their region. The voters are made up of chefs, restaurateurs, food writers, and well-traveled gourmets. They cannot vote for their own restaurant or for any establishment they have invested in. An outside company tallies the votes and sends the results to the Worlds 50 Best. This voting process sounds fair considering that new voters make up 30% of the votes every year, and that it’s not based just on the most reviews like other websites. Any restaurant in the world can be nominated, but it will come down to the one with the most votes in the region.
#2 El Cellar De Can Roca- for the last 5 years, it has maintained either the #1 or #2 spot of the list. Last year when we visited the restaurant, it was #1, today it stands as #2. To have that type of consistency, and continually offer phenomenal quality is quite a feat. It was still be #1 in my heart.
#15 Alinea has a hard time staying in the top 10 though it’s probably the best restaurant in America. Many of the New York restaurants are very classic with their menu like Per Se, and the Farm-to-Table movement of California restaurants has been overdone for a generation. Le Bernardin ranked #24 and personally was the most unmemorable dining experience I have had at any top restaurant. Alinea is funky, classic, upscale, and creative all wrapped into one.
#7 Mugaritz– not sure why its in the top 10. I enjoyed the experience many years ago, but what stands out in my mind, is the salted fish, and too much of it. It may be a cultural thing, but salted cured fish on more than one dish was too much. Having even one dish off balance is reason enough not to be in the top 10 or the top 25 for that matter.
#40 Relae, why is Relae not ranked higher? Is it because the staff is dressed in flannel and doesn’t set out the silverware, it comes in a drawer under the table? Is it because of the limited courses? Whatever the reason, is deserves to be much higher on the list. The creativity and true to taste of the ingredients, plus the fun casual atmosphere make this a place not to be missed. On top of that, they earned the 2016 Sustainable Restaurant Award.
Mexico City restaurants- some moved up, some moved down, but I feel they offer more diversity in their traditional and molecular creations than any USA or European establishment. The depth of flavor cannot be described, only experienced. We loved it so much that we are making a second trip this year to visit our favorites. #12 Quintonil, #25 Pujol and #43 Biko. (Posts coming soon!)
The Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award was introduced this year, and the winning recipient was #3 Eleven Madison Park. I have not been to this restaurant, but I do wish this award was created a few years ago because the restaurant that stands out in my mind for having the best hospitality was Martin Berasategui (#59 this year). As one of only two (the other being Alinea) restaurants who recognized that I was left handed and placed silverware accordingly, let us know when would be a good time to use the restroom between courses, and very concerned about a certain squid ink ravioli dish with my white dress, there is no question in my mind that Martin Berasategui should at least be nominated for this award. And though my dining experience at Martin Berasategui was a few years ago, we did dine at LaSarte in Barcelona this past year and the service was nothing less than extraordinary.
The Highest Climber Award was given to Maido in Lima, Peru who climbed from #44 in 2015 to #13 this year. Lima is still a hot spot of Asian/Peruvian fusion. I mean, what could be better than Asian and Spanish food combined? Peru is definitely on our top 10 travel list.
So now where will go? Travel plans are already in the works for Mexico City, Bangkok, Moscow is a possibility (White Rabbit), and we’re toying with Spain or South America for next year. Regardless, we will eat well wherever we go!