Every year, without doubt, the food world almost implodes with chatter over who has won what award, who was snubbed, and what relevance do guidebooks and lists actually have in a time where everybody is a critic. We do like a bit of culinary chinwagging, and as usual we have paid close attention to the release of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” – the best, according to Restaurant Magazine, and the awards are sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.
Amber, Richard Ekkebus’ modern European restaurant at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, was the only Hong Kong name to place in the illustrious list that included the likes of Noma (#3), Osteria Francescana (#2), and El Celler de Can Roca (taking pride of place at #1 once more).
Umberto Bombana’s Otto e Mezzo trails slightly behind, missing the top 50 billing but coming in at a respectable #62. Sneaking in at #99 is Lung King Heen at The Four Seasons – no sign of Caprice, although it was among one of our top dining experiences of 2014.
For local dining fans, it may seem irritating that only three Hong Kong restaurants have placed in the list, but then this is a ranking that has traditionally been seen to be biased towards the west – no system is perfect and, considering the widely publicised methodology of the list, is highly unsurprising. Still, the list manages to irk people to a point where, this year, a movement called “Occupy 50 Best” took to the masses to air their grievances.
In our own annual Top 20 list, we take into account our best dining experiences over the last year and rally the opinions of our own panel of expert eaters – a rather similar format to that of the 50 Best awards. Of course, this too is an imperfect system considering the diverse range of palates and the ephemeral experience of dining out itself. But then again, if lists can be predicted, would we really be so interested in talking about them?
Because we all know you want to know, this is 2015’s top 10:
1. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)
2. Osteria Franciscana (Modena, Italy)
3. Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)
4. Central Restaurante (Lima, Peru)
5. Eleven Madison Park (New York City, USA)
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6. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)
7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London, UK)
8. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)
9. D.O.M. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
10. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
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