Italy’s Osteria Francescana Crowned Best Restaurant

Osteria Francescana, Italy takes first place on S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants awards list

Run by chef Massimo Bottura, “Osteria Francescana” pipped last year’s winner, Spain’s “El Celler de Can Roca,” in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, after coming second in 2015.

The Italian chef, whose world-famous restaurant in Modena came number three in 2013 and 2014, was emotional in accepting his award. “I want to thank everyone because it’s been so hard, our job is all about art work,” an ecstatic Bottura told the ceremony. “It’s all about our work, in the kitchen everyday to work and succeed.”

With Spain’s “El Celler de Can Roca” knocked down to second place, the third spot went to New York’s “Eleven Madison Park.”

Spain's El Cellar de Can Roca takes second place

The top 10 was rounded out by restaurants in Peru, Denmark — former four-time winner “Noma” — France, Spain, Japan and Austria. Three French chefs won individual honours, with Alain Passard of Arpege given a lifetime achievement award, French-born Dominique Crenn named best female chef and Pierre Herme best pastry chef.

READ: Chef Alain Passard Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

The accolades came after critics complained last year that the system was open to abuse since the jury do not have to offer physical evidence of having actually visited any particular restaurant. The bulk of those complaints came from France, which in 2016 made it into the top 10 for the first time in three years but has never managed to win first prize.

The board praised Bottura for his twists on traditional ingredients and his “Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano” in particular. The awards said he crafted the world-famous cheese into “forms and textures most diners will never have previously experienced.”

“The chef’s ambitious creations perfectly balance the demands of honoring heritage while embracing modernity,” the board added.

They praised his menu of “deliciously executed classics” such as tagliatelle with hand-chopped ragu and risotto cooked with veal jus.

Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana (Photo by Paolo Terzi)

The 2016 list included restaurants in 23 countries on six continents — but half were in Europe. Asia and the United States each had six in the top 50, while South America and Scandinavia each had five. Spain had seven restaurants on the list, including three in the top 10.

The awards, run by trade magazine Restaurant, began in 2002 and have become a reference for the world’s foodies, but were hit last year by allegations of cosy deals between restaurants and jury members. The contest is run by British media company William Reed, and criticism has focused on the methodology used to select the best restaurants. Its jury is made up of 972 experts, including food writers, chefs, restaurant owners and gourmets. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on where they have eaten in the past 18 months. There is no pre-determined checklist of criteria, but there are strict voting rules. In the face of complaints, the organizers say consultancy firm Deloitte oversees voting, to ensure the “integrity and authenticity” of the process.

Wagyu beef dish at Amber

The full list of 100 winners can be found below. At 20th place, Hong Kong’s Amber at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental is the only restaurant in Hong Kong to make it on the 50 list.

READ: Amber Claims Top 20th Spot in World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 

1. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy (Best Restaurant in Europe)
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3. Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA (Best Restaurant in North America)
4. Central, Lima, Peru (Best Restaurant in South America)
5. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
6. Mirazur, Menton, France
7. Mugaritz, San Sebastián, Spain
8. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan (Best Restaurant in Asia)
9. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
10. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Spain
11. D.O.M., São Paolo, Brazil
12. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
13. Maido, Lima, Peru (Highest Climber Award)
14. The Ledbury, London, UK
15. Alinea, Chicago, USA
16. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
17. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
18. White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
19. L’ Arpège, Paris, France
20. Amber, Hong Kong
21. Arzak, San Sebastián, Spain
22. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa (Best Restaurant in Africa)
23. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
24. Le Bernardin, New York, USA
25. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
26. The Clove Club, London, UK (Highest New Entry Award)
27. Saison, San Francisco, USA
28. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
29. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
30. Astrid y Gastón, Lima, Peru
31. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
32. Restaurant André, Singapore
33. Attica, Melbourne, Australia (Best Restaurant in Australasia)
34. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
35. Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
36. Boragó, Santiago, Chile
37. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
38. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands
39. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
40. Relae, Copenhagen, Denmark (Sustainable Restaurant Award)
41. Fäviken, Jarden, Sweden
42. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai, China
43. Biko, Mexico City, Mexico
44. Estela, New York, USA
45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
46. Combal Zero, Rivoli, Italy
47. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
48. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York, USA
49. Quique Decosta, Dénia, Spain
50. Septime, Paris, France
51. Maní, São Paulo, Brazil
52. Per Se, New York, USA
53. Hof Van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium
54. The Jane, Antwerp, Belgium
55. Nerua, Bilbao, Spain
56. Mikla, Istanbul, Turkey
57. L’Astrance, Paris, France
58. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
59. Martín Berasategui, Lasarte-Oria, Spain
60. Hedone, London, UK
61. Maaemo, Oslo, Norway
62. La Grenouillère, La Madelaine Sous Montreuil, France
63. Aqua, Wolfsburg, Germany
64. Lasai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
65. Brae, Birregurra, Australia
66. Lyle’s, London, UK (Tie)
67. The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, USA
68. Tegui, Buenos Aires, Argentina
69. Epicure, Paris, France
70. Burnt Ends, Singapore
71. Daniel, New York, USA
72. Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris, France
73. Hertog Jan, Bruges, Belgium
74. Le Chateaubriand, Paris, France
75. Twins, Moscow, Russia
76. La Colombe, Cape Town, South Africa
77. Den, Tokyo, Japan
78. Belcanto, Lisbon, Portugal
79. Diverxo, Madrid, Spain
80. L’Atelier Saint-Germain de Joël Robuchon Paris, Paris, France
81. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York, USA
82. Hajime, Osaka, Japan
83. Manresa, Los Gatos, USA
84. Reale, Castel Di Sangro, Italy
85. The French Laundry, Yountville, USA
86. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
87. Indian Accent, New Delhi, India
88. Die Schwarzwaldstube, Baiersbronn, Germany
89. Benu, San Francisco, USA
90. Zuma, Dubai, UAE (Tie)
91. St John, London, UK
92. Quintessence, Tokyo, Japan
93. Daniel Berlin, Skåne Tranås, Sweden
94. Bras, Laguiole, France
95. L’Effervescence, Tokyo, Japan
96. Cosme, New York, USA
97. Momofuku Ko, New York, USA
98. Quay, Sydney, Australia
99. La Petite Maison, Dubai, UAE
100. Chestnaya Kuhnya, Moscow, Russia

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