Osteria Francescana is the world's new number-one restaurant. Or at least it is according to the new list from the World's 50 Best Restaurants, which was announced at a ceremony in Bilbao last night.
Returning to top spot after its first win in 2016, the restaurant by Italian chef Massimo Bottura is known for using ingredients from the surrounding Emilia-Romagna region and reinterpreting classic Italian dishes through a lens of art and culture. Bottura and his partner Lara Gilmore accepted the award on behalf of their staff.
"This is something we built all together," said Bottura. "I'm not going to disappoint you. I'm going to use these spotlights for all of us to show the world that chefs in 2018 are much more than the sum of their recipes. We can have a very loud voice of change if we stay together."
Gilmore echoed Bottura's sentiment. "We have the possibility to change the future," she said. "And that's the greatest mission we can accomplish."
In second place was El Celler de Can Roca while Mirazur on the French Riviera rounded out the top three. Last year's number one Eleven Madison Park slipped to fourth place; somewhat controversially, it closed for renovations for four months last year after taking the top gong.
Melbourne restaurant Attica, which placed at number 32 last year, continued its rise up the ranks to 20th place and was awarded Best Restaurant in Australasia. With the unexpected drop of Brae into the extended 51-100 list after being ranked 44 last year, Attica is now Australia's only restaurant in the list.
Australian talent was nevertheless represented: Brett Graham of London restaurant The Ledbury placed at number 42, followed by David Thompson's Nahm at spot 49 (a drop from 2017's rank of 28). On the extended list, Dave Pynt's Singapore barbecue restaurant Burnt Ends was ranked number 61 while Momofuku Ko, headed up by Sixpenny alumnus James Parry, came in at 62nd place.
On the night, the Sustainable Restaurant Award went to Azurmendi, a Basque restaurant that recycles its own waste and uses solar panels and recycled rainwater to reduce its energy needs. New York chef Dan Barber was nominated by his peers for the Chef's Choice Award while Geranium of Copenhagen took out the Art of Hospitality Award.
This year's award for Best Female Chef, announced in April, went to Clare Smyth, who opened her first restaurant, Core by Clare Smyth, in London last year after more than 15 years working in Michelin-starred kitchens including alongside Gordon Ramsay. Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio took home the Lifetime Achievement Award for raising the profile of Peru's food via a string of restaurants he's opened around the world over the last 20-plus years.
Meanwhile, the One to Watch Award was presented to SingleThread, a Northern Californian restaurant and inn that draws heavily on Japanese traditions and was opened by couple Katina and Kyle Connaughton in late 2016. It was a marked shift from last year's recipient, Disfrutar, a project by three el Bulli alumni, which came in at 18 on this year's list and took home the honour of Highest New Entry.
Eight new spots were created in this year's list due to reshuffles, restaurant closures or mid-year reopenings (Noma falling into the latter category). Among the newcomers was Hiša Franko, the Slovenian restaurant of Ana Roš who was awarded Best Female Chef last year, Istanbul restaurant Mikla – representing Turkey's first restaurant in the top 50 since 2002 – and Singapore's Odette.
For those cheering on Australia from the sidelines, the slip down the rankings for Brae and absence of new Australian entrants on the list was doubly surprising after the 2017 awards were held in Melbourne, which offered many Academy members a chance to dine in Australia. Members vote for 10 restaurants they believe are worthy of the list, with at least four votes going to restaurants outside their home region. For others, though, Australia's performance after being a host may be a reassuring sign of a voting process that's above money or influence.
The list from 1-50:
1. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3. Mirazur, Menton, France
4. Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA
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, Mexico City, Mexico
12. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocatino Hills, New York, USA
13. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
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, USA
27. Boragó, Santiago, Chile
28. Odette, Singapore
29. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris, France
30. D.O.M., São Paulo, Brazil
31. Arzak, San Sebastián, Spain
32. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
33. The Clove Club, London, UK
34. Alinea, Chicago, USA
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. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
42. The Ledbury, London, UK
43. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
44. Mikla, Istanbul, Turkey
45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
46. Saison, San Francisco, USA
47. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
48. Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia
49. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
50. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa