The San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant list is the restaurant world's nearest equivalent to the Oscars. Every year hundreds of restaurant experts - all 'well-travelled restaurant commentators, chefs or restaurateurs’ vote for their favourite restaurants across 26 international regions. Here are this year's Top 10 restaurants - with some explanation as to why they're considered to be at the top of their game.
No. 1: Noma
Where in the world? Copenhagen, Denmark
What makes it the best? Chef René Redzepi's two Michelin-starred restaurant on the waterfront in Copenhagen retains its much publicised top spot. As Redzepi was trained at The French Laundry and El Bulli it's no surprise to find dishes such as 'edible soil' on the menu here. Booking a table here used to be relatively easy before last year's win - now it's a test of nerves and superfast clicking when new bookings come online each month.
For more info: Noma website
No. 2: El Celler de Can Roca
Where in the world? Girona, Spain
What's so great about it? Run by a trio of brothers, head chef Joan Roca, maitre d’ and head sommelier Josep and pastry chef Jordi, El Celler de Can Roca is a restaurant with its own lab, which has helped it come up with concepts such as perfume cooking. Their website describes one perfume-enhanced dish thus: 'smoke is introduced into an edible cavity, such as a paper-thin, blown sugar bubble for charcoal grilled porcini ice-cream'. Well it worked - we now want to go.
For more info: El Celler de Can Roca website
No. 3: Mugaritz
Where in the world? San Sebastián, Spain
What's so great about it? You've got to want to try the cuisine of any chef who's so into his food he's willing to spend two years of his life studying the chemistry of coagulation in order to produce the perfect poached egg. Mugaritz was opened by chef Andoni Aduriz in 1998, and caused quite a stir when it leapt into the no 10 position in the World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2006.
For more info: Mugaritz website
No. 4: Osteria Francescana
Where in the world? Modena, Italy
What's so great about it? Chef Massimo Bottura's playful approach to food often begins with childhood memories. His family's favourite dish of eggs and prosciutto is transformed into a single faultless disc of tortelloni filled with prosciutto. Another key dish here is the five ages and textures of Parmesan and then there's his take on the Magnum - a fois gras parfait lolly on a stick covered with hazlenuts. This restaurant is never stuffy and always great fun.
For more info: Osteria Francescana website
No. 5: The Fat Duck
Where in the world? Bray, Berkshire, UK
What's so great about it? The Fat Duck has been a gourmet mecca ever since it opened in 1995 but Heston credits his inclusion in this list to the restaurant's survival. Nine years later it was one of just three restaurants in this country with the full complement of Michelin stars and it topped the San Pellegrino list in 2005. Hot Dinners was lucky enough to eat at The Fat Duck in 2009 where it lived up to our highest expectations. It's a place where taste, sensation and theatre all come together perfectly.
For more info: The Fat Duck website
No 6. Alinea
Where in the world? Chicago, USA
What's so great about it? Chef Grant Ashatz opened Alinea in 2004 to bring his deconstructivist approach to cooking to the American public. Far from being horrified at his take on the classic Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich (Ashatz's version is a single, peeled grape, on the stem, covered in peanut butter and wrapped in wafer-thin brioche pastry) Alinea has become one of the most talked-about restaurants in the States.
For more info: Alinea website
No 7. D.O.M
Where in the world? Sao Paulo, Brazil
What's so great about it? Chef Alex Atala has forged a huge reputation for himself by applying the techniques and skills he learned whilst training in Europe under the three-Michelin star chef Jean Pierre Bruneau to the ingredients he finds closer to home. At this minimalist temple to gastronomy, you can also find ingredients that might flummox most Brazilians, as Atala works hard trying to source his food from every part of the country.
For more info: D.O.M website
No 8. Arzak
Where in the world? San Sebastián, Spain
What's so great about it? Four generations of chef Juan Mari Arzak's family have worked in this San Sebastián restaurant which has been in the family for 113 years. Here is where Juan Mari, now works with his daughter Elena to serve up his 'modern interpretation of classic Basque cuisine'. All well and good, but what you really need to know is that this is the man who played mentor to El Bulli's Ferran Adria which places Arzak squarely at the epicentre of molecular gastronomy. Arzac also picked up this year's LIfetime Achievement Award.
For more info: Arzak website
No 9. Chateaubriand
Where in the world? Paris, France
What's so great about it? Basque chef Iñaki Aizpitarte's 11th arrondisement restaurant is a world away from more starched linen tableclothed establishments in Paris. There's a pared back lunch menu, so book for dinner if you want the full bells and whistles. On the drinks front you can expect a decent selection of natural and organic wines.
No 10. Per Se
Where in the world? Manhattan, New York, USA
What's so great about it? One of just six restaurants in America to have a coveted third Michelin star, Per Se was a huge deal for East Coast foodies when it opened in New York in 2004, saving them the cost of a flight across the US to Thomas Keller's equally high-rated West Coast restaurant The French Laundry. It's not cheap - the nine-course menu costs $295 - nor is it easy to get into. With chef de cuisine Jonathan Benno (who launched the restaurant) having left, it's good to see that Per Se retains the number 10 spot.
For more info: Per Se website
- No 11: Daniel, New York
- No 12: Les Creation, Japan
- No 13: L'Astrance, France
- No 14: Hof Van Cleve, Belgium
- No 15: Le Bernardin, New York
- No 16: Pierre Gagnaire, Paris
- No 17: Oud Sluis , Holland
- No 18: Le Bernardin, New York
- No 19: L'Arpege, France
- No 20: Nihonryori RyuGin - Japan
- No 21: Restaurant Vendôme - Germany
- No 22: Steirereck - Wien, Austria
- No 23: Schloss Schauenstein - Switzerland
- No 24: 11 Madison Park - New York
- No 25: Aqua - Germany
- No 26: Quay - Sydney
- No 27: Iggy's - Singapore
- No 28: Combal Zero - Rivoli, Italy
- No 29: Martin Berasategui - Spain
- No 30: Bras - France
- No 31: Biko - Mexico City
- No 32: Le Calandre - Rubano, Italy
- No 33: Cracco - Italy
- No 34: The Ledbury - London
- No 35: Chez Dominique - Finland
- No 36: Le Quartier Francais - South Africa
- No 37: Amber - China
- No 38: Dal Pescatore - Italy
- No 39: Il Canto - Italy
- No 40: Momofuku Ssam Bar - New York
- No 41: St John- London
- No 42: Astrid Y Gaston - Sweden
- No 43: Hibiscus - London
- No 44: La Maison Troisgros, France
- No 45: Alain Ducasse at Hotel Plaza Athénée - Paris
- No 46: De Libreje , Germany
- No 47: Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville, Switzerland
- No 48: Varvary, Russia
- No 49: Pujol - Mexico
- No 50: Extebarri - Spain
Notable British entries in 50 - 100:
- 60 - Hakkansan (new entry)
- 66 - Zuma (no change)
- 84 - Le Gavroche (up from 92)
- 89 - Bar Boulud London (new entry)
- 96 - Marcus Wareing at the Berkely (down from 58)
One to watch award: Stockholm's Frantzen/ Lindeberg