Plat du Jour Thursday April 25, 2013: The “Other Top 100 Restaurants of the World” List
The Foodie Top 100 Restaurants: Worldwide were unveiled this morning.
Wait, hold on. I thought they were supposed to be unveiled on Monday in London?
Yes, that is correct. The World’s Top 50 Restaurants (that really is a list of the top 100 restaurants) presented by San Pellegrino and Restaurant Magazine will be announced on Monday April 29. That is the world’s best known and most contentious list. It’s the list once dominated by El Bulli and recently Copenhagen’s Noma Restaurant has been the winner for three years running.
Today’s list on the other hand is called The Foodie Top 100 Restaurants: Worldwide, courtesy of Glam Media. The 100 restaurants are not ranked in any order, so you can’t ascertain if Noma is higher than Alinea. The goal of this list is to be more transparent and relevant to the younger foodie generation, actually using that modern fervent gourmand term so often despised those it is meant to label. Here, foodie is intended to be nothing but a positive term.
The transparency can be found everywhere. The extensive list of runner-ups is also included, so you can see that somehow Paris’ Ze Kitchen Galerie is included in the top 100, but the likes of Paul Bocuse, Belgium’s In de Wolf, and the United States’ Manresa could only be in a top 200 or 300. Ze Kitchen Galerie has some exciting cooking going on in the Paris’ Left Bank, but really, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, especially if this list factors in service and atmosphere as it claims to (will admit that yours truly had a not so positive experience when I dined there, not trying to pick on them).
The names of judges are transparent. You’ll recognize the likes of Ruth Reichl, Jonathan Gold, Gael Greene, Patricia Wells, and Alexander Lobrano. Of course, skeptical diners will be wary of actual rankings like the San Pellegrino does, since it’s essentially impossible to measure once restaurant against another directly, and it’s truly impossible for every judge to dine at every restaurant. This list is more of a collection. In the words of Glam Media, the list:
“spotlights restaurants that provide exemplary dining experiences first, along with décor, service, and drinks program that complement the dining experience within the context of the food. This format paves the way for recognition of superb restaurants that may not fit into the narrower, more traditional definition of “world class” or star ratings. Foodie Top 100 Restaurants is for foodies who don’t want anonymously compiled directories or crowd-sourced reviews.”
Now, nobody will exactly call these restaurants on the list not “world class” restaurants. Point out one to me if you see one. On the other hands, the list of runner-ups is stacked with them: Pizzeria Mozza, State Bird Provisions, Jadis, and ABC Kitchen for starters.
A few quick notes browsing the list:
- Does it not seem heavy on Japan and France establishments? They are separated from their continents after all…
- Like with the James Beard Awards, Los Angeles and any city not named New York, San Francisco, or Chicago doesn’t get a lot of love in the U.S.
- Where is South America? Mexico? See: Atala, Alex or Olvera, Enrique.
- Since this is planning to be an actual hard copy publication, it will be much more useful than a plain list. Hopefully descriptions give us a better idea of why these 100 are so special.
- Very surprising to see that Copenhagen only had one runner-up (Noma)
- In the Top 100, United States: 20 restaurants. Paris: 21 restaurants.
On that note, rumor has it that the other Top 100 list to be announced Monday might have a changing of the guard with Tokyo’s Narisawa forecasted to replace Noma. Perhaps it’s because of the norovirus outbreak earlier this year at Noma. I don’t know. Having dined at Noma last summer, I can only say they deserve their top ranking. I’m also seeing Alex Atala’s Sao Paulo, Brazil restaurant D.O.M. moving from 4th to 2nd. We’ll see. Stay tuned.