Published 6 October 2021
by Josh Barrie
It’s important to take The World’s 50 Best Restaurants with a pinch of expensive salt, which we have, so that’s that.
This year’s winner, Noma, will come as no surprise to restaurant fans given it’s won four times already. It was allowed to win again because it closed and reopened in a new location. René Redzepi said after the news was announced: “What an incredible moment for us all in Copenhagen. We are so happy and proud of our team being voted the no.1 restaurant in the world.” It comes after Redzepi finally won three Michelin stars last month.
“Noma has arguably been the most influential restaurants of its generation, setting new standards in terms of research and ingredient sourcing, dish development and presentation,” said William Drew, the awards’ director of content.
“It has become one of the most sought-after dining destinations by consumers from all over the world and we are delighted to announce it as this year’s No.1.
“It is also wonderful to see eight new restaurants making their debut as well as two re-entries after one of the most challenging periods the sector has seen. It has been an honour to witness the resilience and community spirit of so many restaurants on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and beyond.”
Noma’s fellow Danish restaurant Geranium took second place. Italy, Spain, France? No. Denmark. It has long been home to progressive, upmarket and experimental cuisine.
It is a little trifling that just two UK restaurants made the cut in 2021. At a live event in Antwerp on Tuesday night, Isaac McHale’s Shoreditch spot The Clove Club came in at 32, and Lyle’s was listed at 33. Ikoyi got ‘one to watch’ (and placed 87) while Core by Clare Smyth and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal also made the top 100, at 66 and 65 respectively. Brat came in at 78.
This year’s rankings were compiled by votes cast in January 2020, before Covid had shut most of the world down, and combined with a second string cast in March 2021. The latter votes were done “where possible [to reflect] contemporary, local updates,” Drew told Bloomberg.
As ever, an explanation as to how the list is compiled read: “The annual restaurants list is created from the votes of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of more than 1,000 leaders made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and international culinary experts, with a 50/50 gender balance.
“To counter the restrictions on international travel and limited dining opportunities of the last year, the 2021 list has been created from a combination of votes cast in January 2020 (which have never been published) and a ‘voting refresh’ which took place in March 2021.”
Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera, Italy, was the ‘highest new entry’ at 15, while The Chairman in Hong Kong received the ‘highest climber award’, rising 31 places to 10. Victor Arguinzoniz of Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo, Spain, was voted by his peers as the winner of the chefs’ choice.
Last year’s best restaurant, Mirazur in the South of France, has since moved to the ‘hall of fame’, joining the likes of El Bulli and The Fat Duck.
The World’s 50 Best said: “Those in the elite group of No.1 ranked restaurants have more than proved their worth and will now be forever honoured as iconic dining destinations in the Best of the Best hall of fame.
“The chefs and restaurateurs who have led their restaurants to the pinnacle of the list have expressed their desire to invest in the future of the sector and ‘give back’ to the food world through new projects and initiatives. The following restaurants have been named No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants since the list’s inception and were therefore not eligible for voting in 2021 and beyond.”
A Casa do Porco
Castel di Sangro
Restaurant Tim Raue
The Clove Club
Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet
Hof Van Cleve
Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen
Nobelhart & Schmutzig