April 19, 2011

Yet another Top 50/100

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The restaurant/foodie world collectively held their breath for the latest edition of the San Pellegrino World's Best 50 Restaurants, which was published at an awards ceremony yesterday.  This year's list yielded a few surprises, and some of my criticism from last year hasn't been addressed... not that the "academy" really gives two hoots about what I think anyway...

It's no surprise to anyone that El Bulli is no longer on the list, given that it is closing at the end of this season.  The French Laundry continues its fall and is now out of the Top 50 (#56 this year).  This puts it one place behind Les Amis in Singapore, 19 places behind Amber in Hong Kong, 29 places behind Iggy's in Singapore and a whopping 46 places behind sister restaurant Per Se.  As anyone who has eaten at both the French Laundry and these Asian restaurants will tell you, that is just ludicrous!

Well, at least the French have themselves one restaurant within the top 10 this year, as opposed to zero last year...

There are a total of 10 restaurants from Asia in the Top 100 - 3 from Japan, 3 from Singapore and 4 from Hong Kong/China (Amber was tagged as being in China).  The total has shrunk from 12 last year, while Japan is a little less "under-represented" compared to HK and Singapore.  Interesting to see that the top two from Japan remained the same creative restaurants which seem to appeal more to Western palates.  I hit both of these places on my Tokyo trip last year, and did like them both myself.

Here's the list of places I've been to from the Top 100:

8. Arzak
10. Per Se
11. Daniel
12. Les Creations de Narisawa
14. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Paris
16. Pierre Gagnaire, Paris
18. Le Bernardin
19. L'Arpege
20. Nihonryori RyuGin
27. Iggy's
29. Martin Berasategui
37. Amber
44. Maison Troisgros
47. Restaurant de l'Hotel De Ville
55. Les Amis
56. The French Laundry
60. Hakkasan
64. Bo Innovation
72. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Hong Kong
76. Caprice
94. Akelare

One always wonders who gets to vote for this list.  While only the identity of the regional "Academy Chairs" are published, the website does publish a list of 39 restaurants in the region of Hong Kong (I thought the region was Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan?) which are "Academy Recommended".  I couldn't help laughing while browsing through this list, as the names Cecconi, Ruth Chris Steakhouse and Tokio Joe pop up.  What does this list actually mean?  This is the list of restaurants in Hong Kong that got votes from members of the Academy during the annual voting?  Please say it ain't so!

Anyway... I'm sure the foodie community will have some heated discussions on this topic over the next few days, then forget all about it until next April...


Anonymous said...

So once again, it's that time of the year for me to apologize for not going to Mugaritz...

Peech said...

Damn you!!! It's all YOUR fault that I didn't get to eat at Mugaritz and complete the sweep of 3-star restaurants in Spain for that year...

Francis said...

I have been reading through your fabulous blog in preparation for my trip to Hong Kong in May. Great writing! I hope you will come to Chicago soon and partake of the transcendent experience of the #1 restaurant in North America and #6 in the world, the incomparable Alinea.

Peech said...

Thanks, Francis! I hope to make it to Alinea, too. Let me know if you need any help on HK.

Francis said...

Hi..thanks for the offer! And I will gladly take you up on it! I'm meeting two friends, former Chicagoans who are now based out of Singapore, and another friend from Atlanta for the weekend, but I'm coming in a couple of days before and staying another day after they leave. So there's lots of meal possibilities (sitting and standing...haha, we love street food too!). You can contact me via my blog www.fromtheledge.com (I write about mostly Chicago arts and culture, but I've written about Alinea and The French Laundry.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Unknown said...

Chef Daniel(DN innovacion) told me not to go Mugaritz...He said I would't like it anyway...

Peech said...

well, you never know until you try it. Back in 2006 I preferred Akelarre over Arzak, and EVERYBODY raves about Arzak except me.

Francis said...

Hi Peech. Thought I'd run by you some of the restaurants we were thinking of checking out in HK:

- we're trying to get reservations at private kitchen Yin Yang
- based on your blog recs, looks like we'll check out Fook Lam Moon and Tim Ho Wan (maybe the Sham Shui Po branch so we don't have to wait)
- The Chairman
- Ye Shanghai

I have a night to myself before my friends come...what do you think of Bo Innovation's chef's table? Other suggestions are welcome.

Peech said...


I think at Yin Yang some of the dishes are hit/miss but overall it's pretty good.

Definitely hit Fook Lam Moon although it's a good choice both for lunch (dim sum) and dinner.

I would never line up for Tim Ho Wan again.

The Chairman is very good.

I was never a fan of Ye Shanghai, and there are many others with equally good or better food, such as Liu Yuan Pavilion or even HK Old Restaurant.

If you are eating alone the best choices are Bo Innovation or Tim's Kitchen, or you will need to do non-Chinese...


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