The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the annual event sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, was held in London yesterday. If you don’t already know who won this year, this is the final ranking:
- El Celler De Can Roca, Girona (Spain)
- Osteria Francescana, Modena (Italy)
- Noma, Copenhagen (Denmark)
For those of you who are familiar with the competition, these are three well-known restaurants.
The same restaurants shared the podium last year when Noma was in the first position for the fourth time. El Celler De Can Roca was second last year and already experienced the first position in 2013. Osteria Francescana continues to confirm great results and gains another position after being third in 2013 and 2014. Hopefully, I might say as proud Italian, the positive trend will continue in the future.
950+ food critics, chefs and experts judge the best restaurants in the world every year. One of the parameters they consider is the wine list. Let’s have a brief overview of the three restaurants on the podium and how they deal with wine.
El Celler De Can Roca
El Celler De Can Roca was founded in 1986 by two of the three brothers: head chef Joan and sommelier Josep. In 2007, Jordi joined the two brothers: just to complete the perfect trio, Jordi was 2014’s World Best Pastry Chef… As they write on their website, it’s the combination of three minds: the salt mind (Joan), the liquid mind (Josep) and the sweet mind (Jordi).
They initially opened right next to Can Roca, their parents’ restaurant, where they started their culinary experience. “El Celler” is a clear reference to wine (“the winery” in Catalan).
Josep, “the liquid mind”, is well-recognized among wine experts as much as his brothers are foodies’ gurus. The wine list is impressive: 2,800 wines, actually split in more than one list.
Many guests “begin their visit with a tour of the kitchen and end it with a look at the temperature-controlled wine rooms, complete with music, visual props and commentary from Josep”, as you can read in this write-up by Tim Atkin.
Massimo Bottura is consistently travelling the world and his book Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef is printed in a new language every day. However, his cuisine is still Italian, particularly from Emilia Romagna, and his push to innovate and merge food with art are not slowing down.
If you haven’t already watched Chef’s Table, the food documentary on Netflix, you should do it as soon as possible. One of the six documentaries is dedicated to Massimo Bottura, his life and how Osteria Francescana was born. You can see how difficult it was in the beginning to be accepted by the critics and how important was his wife Lara Gilmore in his journey.
The wine list is not published online, but you can take a look at the menu. Guests can choose a menu and, eventually, the wine pairing. According to some articles, the wines offered and the pairings are as innovative as Bottura: you can read this article on VinousMedia: Antonio Galloni describes his meal with enthusiastic words. Some pairings involved spirits and the vast selection of small producers was perfect to pair with the outstanding dishes.
Osteria Francescana will have his pop-up in London for three days at the end of June (27-29) at Sotheby’s auction house (sothebys.com).
This restaurant has been performing at the highest levels since 2010 when it reached the first position for the first time. The chef, René Redzepi and his team just finished a very intense year after winning the competition last year. The most acclaimed moment was a five-week pop-up in Japan, which was oversubscribed and extremely successful.
Noma is the only restaurant in the top 3 to publish the wine list online. It’s a pretty large wine list you can find here.
It’s definitely a French-oriented wine list with 70% of the wines coming from France. The remaining wines are a good representation of German and Austrian wines, some Italian and some Spanish wines and some gems from Slovenia.
As you noticed, it’s a European-only wine list and who knows how this impacted the global panel of the judges for this competition.
If you are wondering what’s the impact of being the best restaurant in this list, you might be overwhelmed: when El Celler won in 2013, their waiting list grew to one year and they had three people working only on turning down new reservation attempts. When Noma won in 2014, 100,000 people tried to book online…
While no one argues the quality of the restaurants that make the top 50, someone might have a point saying that it’s mostly focused on European restaurants: only a few of the best restaurants in Asia, Middle-East and South America are included. Even Japan, with its 12 3-michelin star restaurants in Tokyo, appears to be underrepresented.
However, you will never find a list that everyone agrees with… We might as well enjoy some of the dishes that top this ranking:
What’s your opinion on this list? Have you ever been to any of these restaurants?
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