The UK can now rightfully boast that it is the world’s culinary leader after 14 British-based restaurants made it into the list of the world’s top 50 eateries.
The Fat Duck, run by Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal in the Berkshire village of Bray, was voted the world’s best place to eat, beating such dining temples as Spain’s El Bulli, The French Laundry in California and Tetsuya’s in Syndey.
The list, decided by restaurant professionals and organised by British-based Restaurant magazine, was announced in London last night.
The list was compiled by over 600 chefs, food critics and other restaurant professionals from around the world. Of the 14 British restaurants featured, 11, including Gordon Ramsay, Tom Aikens, St John and The Gallery at Sketch, are in London.
The US and France came second and third with 10 and 9 restaurants in the list respectively. Bordeaux’s La Tupina, beloved of wine hacks the world over, came 50th.
Although not all agree with the ranking – UK food critic Jay Rayner was dismissive of some of British winners – many believe that Britain’s restaurants are producing meals to rival and, in some cases, better their overseas counterparts.
‘British chefs used to just go abroad to the US and France,’ Restaurant magazine editor Ella Johnston said. ‘Now, with people becoming more adventurous eaters and with more money in London and the surrounding areas, they know they will have an audience for great food.’
Heston Blumenthal, who earned his third Michelin star last year, is known for his scientific approach to cooking which sees some unusual combinations including snail porridge, salmon poached with liquorice, smoked bacon and egg ice cream.
Brian St Pierre, Decanter magazine’s restaurant reviewer, was one of the first to recognise Blumenthal’s potential, awarding the Fat Duck restaurant of the year in 1997.
Top 50 places to eat:
1 The Fat Duck Bray, Berkshire
2 El Bulli Montjoi Spain
3 The French Laundry Yountville, California
4 Tetsuya’s Sydney
5 Gordon Ramsay London
6 Pierre Gagnaire Paris
7 Per Se New York
8 Tom Aikens London
9 Jean Georges New York
10 St John London
11 Michel Bras Laguiole, France
12 Le Louis XV Monte Carlo
13 Chez Panisse Berkeley, California
14 Charlie Trotter Chicago
15 Gramercy Tavern New York
16 Guy Savoy Paris
17 Restaurant Alain Ducasse Paris
18 The Gallery at Sketch London
19 The Waterside Inn Bray, Berkshire
20 Nobu London
21 Restaurante Arzak San Sebastián, Spain
22 El Raco de Can Fabes San Celoni, Spain
23 Checcino dal 1887 Rome
24 Le Meurice Paris
25 L’Hotel de Ville Crissier, Switzerland
26 L’Arpège Paris
27 Angela Hartnett at the Connaught London
28 Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons Oxford
29 Le Cinq Paris
30 Hakkasan London
31 Cal Pep Barcelona
32 Masa New York
33 Flower Drum Melbourne
34 WD50 New York
35 Le Quartier Francais Franschhoek, South Africa
36 Spice Market New York
37 Auberge de l’Ill Illhaeusern, Alsace
38 Manresa California
39 Restaurant Dieter Muller Begisch Gladbach, Germany
40 La Maison Troisgros Roanne, France
41 The Wolseley London
42 Rockpool Sydney
43 Yauatcha London
44 The Ivy London
45 Gambero Rosso San Vincenzo, Italy
46 The Cliff St James, Barbados
47 Le Gavroche London
48 Enoteca Pinchiorri Florence
49 Felix Hong Kong
50 La Tupina Bordeaux
Written by Oliver Styles