The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2012 - the full list

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 27 international regions.

Here are 2012's Top 10 restaurants - with some explanation as to why they're considered to be at the top of their game. as well as the rest of the top 50 and the notable British entries.

Find out why the awards are important and don't forget to read our report of the night.

World's 50 Best restaurants - 1

No. 1: Noma (no change)

Where in the world? Copenhagen, Denmark
What makes it the best?
Chef René Redzepi's restaurant on the waterfront in Copenhagen retains its much publicised top spot for a third year running. People love it for a whole raft of reasons, from the genuinely thrilling food of ultra seasonality and locality to the personal touches which means chefs serve the dishes they've worked on to you personally. Booking a table here has been a test of nerves and superfast clicking when new bookings come online each month since its elevation by The List.
For more info: Noma website

World's 50 Best restaurants - 2

No. 2: El Celler de Can Roca (no change)

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

World's 50 Best restaurants - 3

No. 3: Mugaritz (no change)

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. We tried his food on his recent trip to the UK, including the famed edible stones.
For more info: Mugaritz website

World's 50 Best restaurants - 4

No 4. D.O.M (up 3)

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

World's 50 Best restaurants - 5

No. 5: Osteria Francescana (down 1)

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

World's 50 Best restaurants - 6

No 6. Per Se (up 4)

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

World's 50 Best restaurants - 7

No 7. Alinea (down 1)

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

World's 50 Best restaurants - 8

No 8. Arzak (no change)

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

World's 50 Best restaurants - 9

No 9. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (new entry)

Where in the world? Mayfair, London, UK
What's so great about it? Heston's first London restaurant was always going to be noteworthy and his decision to open a restaurant which celebrated Britain's historic gastronomy cleverly distinguished it from his work at the Fat Duck. Head Chef Ashley Palmer Watts' food has thrilled since day one with dishes like Meat Fruit and Tipsy Cake deservedly drawing diners from all over the world. 

Read more about Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

World's 50 Best restaurants - 10

No. 10: Eleven Madison Park (up 14)

Where in the world? Manhattan, New York, USA
What's so great about it?
Sold by owner Danny Meyer to its chef Daniel Humm and GM Will Guidara last year (just as it shot from one to three Michelin stars) Eleven Madison Park continues to push boundaries following their decision to reduce seats and offer a menu where diners build their menu based on key ingredients. Hot Dinners' lunch there last year was a highlight of our trip to New York.
For more info: Eleven Madison Park website

World's 50 best restaurants 2012: 11 - 50
  • No 11: Steirereck - Wien, Austria (up 11)
  • No 12: L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Paris, France (up 2)
  • No 13: The Fat Duck - Bray, UK (down 8)
  • No 14: The Ledbury - London (up 20)
  • No 15: Chateaubriand - Paris, France (down 6)
  • No 16: L'Arpege - Paris, France (up 3)
  • No 17: Pierre Gagnaire - Paris, France (down 1)
  • No 18: L'Astrance - Paris, France (down 5)
  • No 19: Le Bernardin - New York, USA (down 1)
  • No 20: Frantzen/ Lindeberg - Stockholm, Sweden (up 37)
  • No 21: Oud Sluis - Sluis, Netherlands (down 4)
  • No 22: Aqua - Wolfsburg, Germany (up 3)
  • No 23: Restaurant Vendôme - Gladbach, Germany (down 2)
  • No 24: Misazur - Menton, France (up 44)
  • No 25: Daniel - New York, USA (down 14)
  • No 26: Iggy's - Singapore (up 1)
  • No 27: Narisawa - Tokyo, Japan (down 15)
  • No 28: Nihonryori RyuGin - Tokyo, Japan (down 8)
  • No 29: Quay - Sydney, Australia (down 3)
  • No 30: Schloss Schauenstein - Switzerland (down 7)
  • No 31: Asador Extebarri - Atxondo, Spain (up 19)
  • No 32: Le Calandre - Rubano, Italy (no change)
  • No 33: De Libreje - Zwolle, Netherlands (up 13)
  • No 34: Faviken Jarpen - Sweden (new entry)
  • No 35: Astrid Y Gaston - Peru (up 7)
  • No 36: Pujol - Mexico City, Mexico (up 13)
  • No 37: Momofuku Ssam Bar - New York (up 3)
  • No 38: Biko - Mexico City, Mexico (down 8)
  • No 39: Waku Ghin - Singapore (new entry)
  • No 40: Quoque Dacosta - Denia, Spain (up 11)
  • No 41: Mathias Dahlgren - Stockholm, Sweden (up 11)
  • No 42: Hof Van Cleve - Kruishoutem, Belgium (down 27)
  • No 43: The French Laundry - Yountville, USA (up 13)
  • No 44: Amber - Hong Kong, China (new entry)
  • No 45: Vila Joya - Albufeira, Portugal (up 34)
  • No 46: Il Canto - Sienna, Italy (down 7)
  • No 47: Bras - Laguiole, France (down 17)
  • No 48: Manresa - Los Gatos, USA (up 21)
  • No 49: Geranuim - Copenhagen, Denmark (new entry)
  • No 50: Nahm - Bangkok, Thailand (up 27)

Notable British entries in 50 - 100: