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UK restaurants make the top table

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

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