Top 15 Restaurants In The World
15. Septime ~ Paris, France
Septime is a super-cool place on a cool street run by cool people, frequented by cool customers. The food is relaxed, packed with flavour and served without pretention. Hyper-sustainable Septime was also the winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award in 2017.
The food is sophisticated and uses some of the finest producers from around the world but, unlike some of its neighbouring restaurants, doesn’t feel the need to shout about them. The dishes themselves do the talking. Expect inspired plates like egg yolk cured in salted pimento vinegar with raw cuttlefish, lardo, and pimento oil; and beets cooked in a brown butter, with red sorrel, and a sauce made from red wine and tuna bones.
14. Azurmendi ~ Larrabetzu, Spain
Azurmendi is more than one of the most beautiful restaurants in Spain. It is more than a business committed to sustainability, more than just striking architecture in the building designed by Naia Eguino, and even more than the way it relates to food. Azurmendi is, above all, the home of a chef who seeks gastronomic excellence through hospitality – and this year, climbing 29 places up the list since 2018, it is also the winner of the Westholme Highest Climber Award.
To visit Azurmendi in the Basque Country is to feel that you are entering Eneko Atxa’s home. The Spanish chef and his team take you by the hand to discover each corner of the marvellous space. At the same time, you enjoy a gastronomic experience in which the flavour and the beauty of each preparation are always linked to the landscape and the culture that shaped it.
13. White Rabbit ~ Moscow, Russia
With a spectacular 360-degree view of Moscow from its 16th-floor dining room, White Rabbit is the best place in the capital for dining with a view. But it is also the place to come for Vladimir Mukhin’s inventive cuisine using Russian ingredients – think swan liver pâté with torched marshmallow or baked cabbage with caviar.
12. Pujol ~ Mexico City, Mexico
Chef Enrique Olvera is credited with proving that rustic Mexican flavours deserve as much attention as any other haute cuisine in the world. And Pujol has been his pedestal to make that point via a tasting menu of refined and elegant plates built from indigenous ingredients that pay tribute to Mexico’s rich culinary history. This year, his vision is brilliantly justified as he wins the award for The Best Restaurant in North America 2019.
11. Den, Tokyo ~ Japan
Rather than sticking to the elegant, refined but often impersonal traditions of high-end kaiseki cuisine, Chef Hasegawa offers an elevated, deeply personal take on Japanese home cooking. Chef draws on diverse influences, both home-grown and gleaned on overseas trips, but always based around prime ingredients from ocean, pasture and forest.
10. Maido ~ Lima, Peru
Tsumura’s Nikkei Experience menu is a journey through Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood. There is succulent cod marinated in miso with crispy nuts, nigiri sushi, sea urchin rice, the now-legendary 50-hour-cooked beef short rib and even tofu cheesecake ice cream. Everything sings with flavour, zing and the natural bright colours that come from Peru’s produce. There’s also a separate sushi counter and menu for regular or business diners.
9. Disfrutar ~ Barcelona, Spain
In contrast to the hyperactive and avant-garde menu, which can run to over 30 courses, the dining room appears relatively simple and serene: light-filled, white and opening onto an outdoor terrace. The overall design is no less creative, however, incorporating a ceramic-lined tunnel effect as guests travel from the narrow entrance area almost through the busy kitchen into the wider restaurant space.
8. Arpège ~ Paris, France
What is it all about? Vegetables, in short. Chef Passard famously in 2001 announced that Arpège – until then a meat institution – was turning vegetarian, and although meat has since returned to the restaurant in smaller quantities, vegetables still take the main stage. They arrive daily from Passard’s own farms and appear on diners’ plates soon after.
Despite his ever-changing menu, Passard has managed to amass a number of signature dishes over the years, some so famous that diners book months in advance for the first taste of white asparagus in spring or the arrival of black truffles in autumn. Other signature dishes include the dumplings, stuffed with seasonal vegetables, and the langoustine carpaccio with caviar.
7. Mugaritz ~ San Sebastián, Spain
Mugaritz is playful, avant garde and highly innovative. It’s a creative dining experience developed by Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz aimed to open minds; Aduriz freely admits that not all of his plates are designed to be enjoyed by diners. Dishes on the 20-30-course menu – which change throughout its eight-month season – bear emotive names such as How Long a Kiss Lasts or Depends On How I Look At It.
6. Central ~ Lima, Peru
Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León’s flagship restaurant is a shrine to everything that is Peruvian, including many ingredients that are seldom served elsewhere. The husband-and-wife team have been traveling the length and breadth of the country for several years to source interesting and unique produce from land, sea and mountains.
5. Geranium ~ Copenhagen, Denmark
The seemingly unlikely duo of nature and technology are at the heart of chef Rasmus Kofoed’s progressive tasting menu: 17-plus inspired, artistic courses composed of organic and wild Scandinavian ingredients. While a presentation of fragile, near-translucent leaves is made from a Jerusalem artichoke purée, what look to be razor clams are actually dough painted with squid ink.
4. Gaggan ~ Bangkok, Thailand
For four years in a row (2014-2018), Chef Gaggan was voted No.1 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, a testament to the constant innovation and improvement at this ever-evolving hub of creativity. El Bulli-influenced chef Gaggan Anand serves up a menu of 25 or more courses of rapid-fire small bites, many of which are eaten with the hands.
3. Asador Etxebarri ~ Axpe, Spain
Chef Victor Arguinzoniz has a remarkable ability to coax out explosive flavor from seemingly simple ingredients, most of which are grilled over an open hearth. The restaurant respects the intrinsic natural flavours of local produce and delicately urges each ingredient to show its potential: goat’s milk churned into ethereal butter, green peas amplified in their own juice, beef dry aged for so many days it bites with umami. Arguinzoniz cooks vegetables and proteins on a range of charcoals he makes from a variety of woods, kissing most plates with at least a suggestion of smoke.
2. Noma ~ Copenhagen, Denmark
The original Noma was, undoubtedly, one of the most important restaurants of its generation. With his food, René Redzepi developed a new genre of cuisine. New Nordic cookery looks back to look ahead; digging deeper than seasonality to explore unsung foraged products, while seamlessly weaving in a study of fermentation. Redzepi’s visionary approach to celebrating terroir via ingredient-focused, minimalist plates earned the first incarnation of Noma the title of The World’s Best Restaurant in four years: 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014.
Redzepi closed the original Noma in February 2017. He moved the restaurant from Copenhagen’s Christianshavn neighbourhood to a more spacious plot on artsy Refshalevej Island, with the new restaurant’s first service taking place in February 2018. Under the Best of the Best rules, the new Noma is a separate restaurant than its original location, and therefore earns the Highest New Entry Award debuting on this year’s list at No.2.
1. Mirazur ~ Menton, France
Unrivaled views of the French Riviera, three levels of cascading vegetable gardens churning out the sweetest produce and a team of outrageously talented cooks and front-of-house staff combine to make Mirazur the ultimate restaurant experience. Mauro Colagreco’s unique cuisine is inspired by the sea, the mountains and the restaurant’s own gardens, including Menton’s emblematic citrus fruits.