By Chris Dwyer
Jul 20, 2022
IT WAS THE HOTTEST culinary gathering in British history. Literally. As the thermometer in London edged towards a record 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants bandwagon rolled into town for the climax of two steamy days of talking, eating, drinking — and nabbing selfies with Stanley Tucci.
Oh yes. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the awards so they seriously upped the glamour quotient by introducing the American actor, filmmaker and gastronaut as the evening’s co-host. Effortlessly cool, with a few unforgettable quips, (“fifty worst restaurants” lol, oops!) he lent the evening at London’s Old Billingsgate, the capital’s former fish market, some serious style props.
He counted down the World’s 50 Best restaurants — sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, in case you’d forgotten — all the way down to this year’s winner, Geranium from Copenhagen.
Led by chef Rasmus Kofoed, Geranium, open just four days a week, ‘creates food that awakens the senses’ and recently went entirely meatless. Dinner runs around 3,200 Danish krone, around US$435. You may also recognize the spot — located less than five kilometers from last year’s winner, the legendary NOMA — partly for having come in second place last year.
Sliding into their old spot this year was the dazzling Central in Lima, Peru… which surely now must be favorite to win in 2023.
But once again, there was an elephant in the corner of the room. And it was definitely Asian.
First, the brief good news from Asia, a new entry to the list in the form of Sorn in Bangkok, coming in at No.39. The close-to-impossible-to-book fine-diner specializing in old recipes and hand-caught or cultivated and heirloom ingredients from individual farmers, fishers and villages in southern Thailand will surely see their reservations inbox hit peak Noma levels now.
But the highest placed restaurant in all of Asia for 2022 was Den in Tokyo — way down in 20th place. Last year’s Best Restaurant in Asia, Singapore’s sublime Odette, fell from eighth to 30th place.
We know that there’s been a pandemic. We get that travel to some countries was a lot harder than others. But that’s not the half of it. In 20 years, no restaurant in Asia has ever come first, second or even third in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
As the world’s largest continent, with the biggest population, not to mention greatest cultural and culinary diversity, it understandably begs the question why not?
William Drew, Director of Content, 50 Best, told us via email:
“There are myriad explanations as to why restaurants or why some regions have a strong showing or lack representation or their position on the list. It could be a case of varying Covid restrictions across certain countries, or it could be an indication of shifting culinary tastes, or it could also represent that a geographical area is becoming more important.
We do not comment on restaurants that aren’t on the list or why a restaurant has fallen; we choose to celebrate and focus on restaurants that are on the list, whatever their ranking, as this is a massive accomplishment and achievement in and of itself which should be celebrated.
The ranking provides an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of our experts. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is voted by our esteemed panel of more than 1,000 culinary experts in 27 regions. Since 2002, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has reflected and celebrated the diversity of the world’s culinary landscape.”
Not going to lie; we were scratching our heads a bit as to how The Chairman in Hong Kong — an undeniably fabulous restaurant; get chef Danny Yip’s crab and shrimp sticky rice recipe exclusively here — won enough total votes from the global academy of more than 1,000 culinary experts to reach 24th overall place this year, when the city was closed to non-residents for more than two years? The same could be said for the high finishers in Japan.
Hat-tip to all the world’s restaurants and especially those from Asia who not only survived Covid but also made it onto the extended 51-100 list and 50 Best Discovery guide for 2022. Covid restrictions are now basically nil in Southeast Asia these days, so we look forward to seeing how the culinary globetrotters eat and vote next year.
As always, the world of 50 Best Awards, and all restaurant and bar rankings, for that matter, gets gastro fans talking and debating — and that, ultimately, is good for the hospitality industry.
Here’s the full list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2022:
11. Maido (Lima, Peru)
12. Uliassi (Senigallia, Italy)
13. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)
14. Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
15. Reale (Castel di Sangro, Italy)
16. Elkano (Getaria, Spain)
17. Nobelhart & Schmutzig (Berlin, Germany)
18. Alchemist (Copenhagen, Denmark)
19. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
20. Den (Tokyo, Japan)
21. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)
22. Septime (Paris, France)
23. The Jane (Antwerp, Belgium)
24. The Chairman (Hong Kong)
25. Frantzén (Stockholm, Sweden)
26. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
27. Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)
28. Le Clarence (Paris, France)
29. St. Hubertus (San Cassiano, Italy)
30. Florilège (Tokyo, Japan)
31. Arpège (Paris, France)
32. Mayta (Lima, Peru)
33. Atomix (New York, USA)
34. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)
35. The Clove Club (London, UK)
36. Odette (Singapore)
37. Fyn (Cape Town, South Africa)
38. Jordnær (Copenhagen, Denmark)
39. Sorn (Bangkok, Thailand)
40. Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland)
41. La Cime (Osaka, Japan)
42. Quique Dacosta (Dénia, Spain)
43. Boragó (Santiago, Chile)
44. Le Bernardin (New York, USA)
45. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)
46. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)
47. Oteque (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
48. Leo (Bogotá, Colombia)
49. Ikoyi (London, UK)
50. SingleThread (CA, United States)
For the 51-100 list, see here.
Sourced by 50 Best (William Reed Business Media)