The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021: The List So Far – Hillary Dixler Canavan

The Mirazur team celebrates winning No. 1 in 2019. | AFP via Getty Images

Check back here for live updates of winners

At a ceremony in Antwerp today, chefs and restaurateurs from around the world — well, mostly Europe and the Americas but here’s to hoping — are gathered to learn which restaurants have been named one of the World’s 50 Best on a list sponsored by San Pellegrino.

After pausing last year due to the pandemic, 2021’s list has a few known knowns going in: We know the restaurants that landed on the back fifty (slots 51-100). We know that there will be a new No. 1 restaurant in 2021 — due to a rule change in 2019, restaurants that win No. 1 are no longer allowed to be on any future lists. We know that the organization has attempted to meet criticisms long directed at the list when it comes to the lack of geographic, demographic, and stylistic diversity on the list. The organization committed to gender-parity in its voting panel back in 2018; a new regional list focusing on the Middle East & North Africa is coming next year; and with its pandemic restaurant relief fund, the organization offered to grants to restaurants that have significantly lower price points than the typically Eurocentric tasting menus that have historically dominated the list.

But the 2019 list didn’t exactly shake things up: The gender-balanced voting panel still largely ignored kitchens helmed by women. Removing the previous winners doesn’t ultimately account for that many open slots since fewer than 10 restaurants have ever been named No. 1 (though it does, perhaps, protect chef egos). And geographically, we still saw a list where the only mainland Chinese was a $600 tasting menu spot run by a French guy, the only African restaurant was a European-leaning spot in Cape Town, and there were precisely zero restaurants from India. In 2021, the list will take into account the votes cast for the 2020 list as well as a March 2021 “refresh” vote, in which voters could issue new votes, but only for restaurants in their own region. Maybe that will skew the list towards away from trophy-dining spots, considering how few people managed to do that kind of dining in the midst of a world-historic crisis…but probably not.

And so, heading into the announcement, we find ourselves putting the odds in Noma’s favor. Wasn’t Noma already a No. 1 restaurant? Yep! In 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014, to be exact. But that was old Noma. New Noma — which chef René Redzepi and co. relocated to a different Copenhagen space and reopened in February 2018 with a new, seasonally rotating tasting menu — is new. Not only did it just earn its third Michelin star, it took the No. 2 slot on the most recent list (2019). And the top five tends to be the best predictor of the top slot, so along with Noma, other frontrunners include Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain), Geranium (Copenhagen), Central (Lima, Peru), and Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain).

We’ll be updating the list below and the analysis above in real time. Stay tuned.

The 2021 World’s 50 Best List (So Far)

26. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)

27. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)

28. Benu (San Francisco, USA)

29. Reale (Castel di Sangre, Italy)

30. Twins Garden (Moscow, Russia)

31. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)

32. The Clove Club (London, UK)

33. Lyle’s (London, UK)

34. Burnt Ends (Singapore)

35. Ultraviolet (Shanghai, China)

36. Hof Van Cleve (Belgium)

37. SingleThread (Healdsburg, USA)

38. Borago (Santiago, Chile)

39. Florilège (Tokyo, Japan)

40. Suhring (Bangkok, Thailand)

41. Alléno (Paris, France)

42. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)

43. Atomix (New York City, USA)

44. Le Bernardin (New York City, USA)

45. Nobelhart & Schmutzig (Berlin, Germany)

46. Leo (Bogotá, Colombia)

47. Maaemo (Oslo, Norway)

48. Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, USA)

49. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)

50. Wolfgat (Paternoster, South Africa)

Sustainability Award: Borago (Santiago, Chile)

World’s Best Pastry Chef: Will Goldfarb (Ubud, Bali)

World’s Best Female Chef: Pía León (Lima, Peru)

One to Watch: Ikoyi (London, UK)

Icon Award: Dominique Crenn (San Francisco, USA)

Champions of Change: Kurt Evans (Philadelphia, PA), Viviana Varese (Milan, Italy), Deepanker Khosla (Bangkok, Thailand)

Read More