The 'world's best restaurant' title has returned to Italy as European chefs dominated the upper echelons of this year's awards, dubbed the 'foodie Oscars'.

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European chefs made their mark in the top rankings of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018, which were revealed at an awards ceremony in Bilbao. Taking the top honours was Italian chef Massimo Bottura, whose restaurant, Osteria Francescana, was awarded the number one spot for the second time.

It replaced Eleven Madison Park in New York, which dropped to fourth place.

Osteria Franescana joined restaurants from Spain (last year’s number one, El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona) and France (Mirazur in Paris) in second and third place respectively, with a total of six European eateries ranking in the top 10: Arpège in Paris (number eight), Mugaritz in San Sebastián (nine) and Asador Etxebarri in Axpe (10).

In order to decide the winners, more than 1,000 restaurant owners, chefs, writers and critics voted for their favourite venues, according to awards organiser William Reed Business Media.


Scroll down to see a list of the top 50


Bottura tells chefs to ‘dream big’

Massimo Bottura speaks at the awards, sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. Credit: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Speaking at a press conference after winning his award, Bottura explained why his Modena restaurant deserved to reclaim its number one ranking, first awarded in 2016. ‘The team is stronger, we’re more mature, and we’re evolving in a happy way, but also in a savvy way – together,’ he said.

Known for his community kitchen initiative, Food for Soul, which tackles food waste through social inclusion, Bottura also promised: ‘I’m going to use the spotlight to show that chefs are much more than the sum of our recipes.’ He concluded by encouraging his fellow chefs to ‘dream big’.

UK chefs perhaps need to dream bigger, with the country’s highest-ranked restaurant being London’s The Clove Club at 33 (down from 27 last year). Lyle’s (38), The Ledbury (40) and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (45) also featured in the top 50. While St John, Hedone and The Fat Duck were named in the top 100.

Best female chef

However Clare Smyth of Core in London was named World’s Best Female Chef, giving an inspirational acceptance speech in which she explained her reasons for accepting an award based on her gender. ‘People ask me what it’s like to be a female chef, but I don’t know what to reply as I don’t know what it’s like to be a male one,’ she quipped.

‘The role of a chef is not gender specific, but we all know that we don’t see enough women at the top of our industry. We must make a conscious effort to remove barriers. We must listen to each other and support each other… and make sure we clear a path for the next generation. I for one can’t wait until we achieve equality,’ she added.

Other awards 

This year was the 17th edition of the annual global awards, dubbed the ‘foodie Oscars’, which celebrate outstanding chefs and restaurants, while highlighting the world’s diverse and innovative gastronomy. The results are based on votes from over 1,000 chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and well-travelled gourmets from all around the world.

Event partners included the Italian sparkling wine producer, Ferrari Trento, which sponsors an Art of Hospitality Award to pay tribute to the restaurant that offers outstanding hospitality and provides the most memorable experience for diners. This year the award was presented to Geranium in Copenhagen.

Other individual awards included: One to Watch, given to SingleThread Farm Restaurant in California, and Highest New Entry, given to Barcelona’s Disfrutar, which ranked 18th after being named as last year’s One to Watch.

The Highest Climber Award went to Den in Tokyo, which rose to 17 from 45 last year and Azurmendi in Bilbao won the Sustainable Restaurant Award. The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award was given to chef Gastón Acurio of Astrid Y Gastón in Lima, Peru.

Best Restaurant in South America was Central, also in Lima; while Best Restaurant in North America was last year’s number one restaurant, Eleven Madison Park in New York. Bangkok’s Gaggan won Best Restaurant in Asia, while Best Restaurant in Europe was (no surprise) Osteria Francescana.

Editing by Chris Mercer. Updated with extended copy at 16:45 UK time on 20 June 2018.

World’s 50 Best

1 Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
2 El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3 Mirazur, Menton, France
4 Eleven Madison Park, New York, US
5 Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
6 Central, Lima, Peru
7 Maido, Lima, Peru
8 Arpège, Paris, France
9 Mugaritz, SAN Sebastián, Spain
10 Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain
11 Quintonil, México City, México
12 Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, USA
13 Pujol, México City, México
14 Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
15 White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
16 Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
17 Den, Tokyo, Japan
18 Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain
19 Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
20 Attica, Melbourne, Australia
21 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
22 Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
23 Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
24 Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai, China
25 Cosme, New York, USA
26 Le Bernardin, New York, US
27 Boragó, Santiago, Chile
28 Odette, Singapore
29 Alléno Paris au Oavillon Ledoyen, Paris, France
30 DOM, São Paulo, Brazil
31 Arzak, SAN Sebastián, Spain
32 Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
33 The Clove Club, London, UK
34 Alinea, Chicago, US
35 Maaemo, Oslo, Norway
36 Reale, Castel di Sangro, Italy
37 Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
38 Lyle’s, London, UK
39 Astrid Y Gastón, Lima, Peru
40 Septime, Paris, France
41 Nihinryori Ryugin, Tokyo, Japan
42 The Ledbury, London, UK
43 Azurmendi, Bilbao, Spain
44 Mikla, Istanbul, Turkey
45, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
46 Saison, San Francisco, US
47 Schloss Schauenstein, Furstenau, Switzerland
48 Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia
49 Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
50 The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa


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