The “50 best restaurants in the world” of 2021 are announced


An important chef developing his world-class cuisine.
Illustration: Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

This week a group of food journalists, luxury sponsors, chefs and industry enthusiasts gathered in… Berlin? Zurich? Um, hold on. This does not ring true. A second. Ah yes, this year they are in Antwerp. Either way, everyone is there, wearing the usual matching red scarves, to unveil the 2021 List of the “50 best restaurants in the world”, the annual celebration of catering establishments where the vast majority of today’s world will never be able to eat for reasons of prohibitive cost, impractical geography and the general preference of the ultra-rich for companies with exclusionary practices.

So! Who is the big winner This year? It is Noma, sure! Doesn’t he seem like he’s still Noma? This is a big leap for high-caliber Nordic rubber from René Redzepi, who climbed to the top of second place on the previous list. The top five this year is completed by that of Copenhagen Geranium, which is a 45-minute walk from Noma; that of the Basque Country Asador Etxebarri; Central in Lima; and Disfrutar in Barcelona. (New York City, if you’re wondering, is represented further down the list by The Bernardin, Cosme, and Atomix.)

But wait, you say. I thought a restaurant in France was the winner, and I can’t see it here? It is true that Mirazur, a coastal palace of complex seasonal delicacies in the south of France, took first place in 2019, and since the “50 Best” jumped its list in 2020 (pandemic), it was until this morning the “best” restaurant in the world. But not more! Now it’s Noma again.

Oh yeah, and where is Eleven Madison Park? I was thinking this was the best restaurant in the world? No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you: EMP is also missing from the list, though not because of the Secret Meat Room or a recent one. string of characters lukewarm Comments reviews from hometown New York. EMP, Mirazur and some other places are not eligible for the list because… they have already won. From now on, they exist in a sort of limbo of the “50 Best”, still recognized as operational but ultimately unclassifiable: these restaurants were the best, they can in fact still to be the best, but we’ll never know because the list is more interesting if a new place wins every year. (Noma, who held the top spot several times before the implementation of this unique policy in 2019, succeeds in solving a technical problem since its original location – the site that had already won – closed in late 2016.)

Now you might be thinking, Isn’t it a little strange that they are doing this while a deadly global pandemic is still in progress? Probably! Local critics in New York City, at least, have abandoned the stars and charts altogether, as the industry continues to suffer from more than a year and a half of destruction, death and dismay. The idea of ​​stars – or any other subjective measure of quality at a time like this – does a disservice to all that we have already lost, it is said, as well as the immense, complicated work that goes on. still needs to be accomplished before operators and workers. are completely back on their feet.

But the world’s elite – at least some of whom are probably on the move right now in search of a decent meal – also need to eat, and furthermore, this list is a celebration of resilience and l ” industry commitment to recovery and blah blah blah.

Admittedly, for restaurateurs, admission to the “50 Best” club is an extremely lucrative way to get back to work. Your diners are the richest people in the world, and they’ll come to your dining room ready to pay for a good time. They’ll shell out over $ 400 or so for your food and probably a lot more for wine, cocktails and coffee and whatever else you can think of to add to the bill. Once you’re one of the “Top 50 Chefs,” you can, and absolutely must, defraud a bunch of affluent foodies as much as you can, seven nights a week. Then you can open another restaurant and do it even more.

However, not everyone is allowed to charge couples $ 1,000 for dinner. To be on this list is a huge achievement. It takes an incredible level of motivation, ambition, vision, sacrifice, tenacity and what football commentators call persistence to even build a restaurant that is considered for an award like this. It also helps tremendously if the person building the restaurant is male, as the places on this list are disproportionately run by chefs who have Y chromosomes.

And even then, these aren’t the real best restaurants in the world; they are not even the best restaurants in their respective metropolises, small, bucolic farming towns or European villages that look like fairy tales. The real best restaurant in the world right now is probably the little brasserie or taqueria or trattoria around the corner from your apartment that has been on the verge of extinction for over a year and has undergone mandatory closings, take out, outdoor dining and returning to the indoor dining room just to stay in business to serve neighbors. Perhaps the best restaurant in the world is the inexpensive sushi restaurant down the street, where the counter chefs always chat with your daughter and make her feel extra special while regularly expanding her palate with all kinds of bites made. with love. What is the best restaurant in the world? It’s dinner with the right chicken soup. The late noodle restaurant or the early bagel restaurant. It’s anywhere you can go out of the blue and feel taken care of – a feeling more and more valuable these days and difficult to achieve when a reservation requires months’ notice, pre-loading does not. refundable to your credit card and a plane ticket to one of the world’s financial capitals.

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