The always anticipated World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards were announced in Melbourne, with New York City’s Eleven Madison Park topping the list. Previous reigning champion Osteria Francescana, located in Modena, Italy, moved to second this year after only one year in the top spot.
Eleven Madison Park has become the destination for an extraordinary tasting menu experience by head chefs Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, who took the reins of the restaurant from New York City legendary chef Danny Meyer in 2011. Chef Humm’s standout dish is a honey lavender roasted duck.
Surprisingly, this is only the second time an American restaurant has been awarded number one (the first time was all the way back in 2004 when Thomas Keller’s French Laundry was named #1). Other American restaurants on this year’s list include New York’s Blue Hill at Stone Barn (#11), Le Bernardin (#17) and Cosme (#40), Chicago’s Alinea (#21), and San Fransisco’s Saison (#37). Enrique Olvera’s Cosme is the newest edition to the top 50 list for New York City, which has more top spots than any other U.S. city. Enrique Olvera is head chef and owner of Mexico City’s famed restaurant Pujol (coming in this year at #20). Cosme is a relatively new restaurant on the New York City dining scene, opening to rave reviews in 2014, serving modern Mexican cuisine in the heart of New York City’s Flatiron District.
Every year, the advent of the awards brings with it not just the excitement of the announcement, but a chorus of negative pronouncements on the methodology for the awards (or lack thereof). For example, culinary bad-boy Anthony Bourdain recently weighed in, stating to the Daily Beast that “[a] lot of people benefit from it, but I think most of the chefs on it know it’s bullshit.”
The awards have a famously opaque methodology, with no one knowing what standards are used to rank the restaurants—for example, how many times do the critics dine at these restaurants? One would think truly great restaurants need not only be fantastic, but must be consistently fantastic. To what extent is the quality of a restaurant’s wine program a factor? Why do so many of the top spots go to über-modern restaurants with elaborate tasting menus serving European fare? And what makes those restaurants the “best in the world”? Eater.com’s Monica Burton covers this criticism and takes a look at all those that have earned the top spot in her article “Here’s Every Restaurant That’s Topped the World’s 50 Best List (If you want to be number one, start by serving a tasting menu).”
Whether enthusiastic about the list, or critical of it, there is no question that this list is filled with great restaurants and definitely warrants a look for any foodie. See the full list, including signature dishes and information about all the chefs at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants website.