For the first time in three years, there’s a new restaurant on top of the world.
In a mild upset, El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, Spain, took top honors at Restaurant Magazine’s annual “World’s 50 Best Restaurants" awards (sponsored by San Pellegrino), which were announced Monday evening in London.
El Celler de Can Roca supplanted Noma, the Denmark restaurant that has ruled the top spot since 2010, which settled for second place. El Celler was in second place last year.
The top finisher from the United States was Eleven Madison Park; the New York restaurant vaulted to 5th place, after finishing 10th last year. Given its rapid ascent in the rankings (it was 50th in 2010 and 24th in 2011), Eleven Madison Park looks like a strong contender for the number-one No. 1 spot in the coming years.
It’s a measure of the event’s prestige that 49 of the 50 honored chefs were in attendance Monday night. Among them was Grant Achatz, likely disappointed that Alinea dropped to 15th place after four straight years as a top- 10 finisher, but doubtlessly happy to win the “Chef’s Choice” award, voted on by the “50 Best” chefs.
Astrid y Gaston, the Lima, Peru restaurant by chef Gaston Acurio, took 14th place; Acurio is opening a restaurant in Chicago (Tanta, in River North) this summer.
Other U.S. restaurants on the list were Per Se (11), Le Bernardin (19) and Daniel (29), from New York, and French Laundry (47) in Yountville, Calif. French Laundry was number-one No. 1 on this list in 2003 and 2004.
“I have a soft spot in my heart for French Laundry; I hate to see it at 47,” said Alinea partner Nick Kokonas. “But I’m really excited for (Eleven Mad owners) Daniel (Humm) and Will (Guidara); it’s really cool to see them number-one in the U.S. It’s a great restaurant and it’s a fun restaurant, that’s the thing.”
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