'World's 50 Best Restaurants' in 2012
April 30th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
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Restaurant magazine revealed its annual "World's 50 Best Restaurants" list on Monday at an awards ceremony in London's Guildhall. This year marked the tenth year for the countdown.

Audience members rose to their feet as René Redzepi and his interpretation of Nordic cuisine at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, made a culinary hat-trick, staying in the No. 1 spot for three years in a row.

"Being on the list means that you made a mark within gastronomy," Redzepi said.

The much-anticipated list is compiled by the World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy - a panel of more than 800 of the world's gastronomic glitterati, including celebrated chefs, food critics, restaurateurs and other influential leaders in the restaurant industry.

"It's a very good window into what's happening in the world of gastronomy. It's a snapshot of the moment," said chef Heston Blumenthal. Blumenthal operates two restaurants, The Fat Duck (No. 13) and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (the highest new entry at No. 9), on this year's list. The Fat Duck topped the list in 2005.

The Ledbury in London was the highest climber in 2012, moving up 20 spots from 2011.

Thomas Keller, the 2012 S.Pellegrino Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, earned two spots on the list this year with Per Se at No. 6 and The French Laundry at No. 43. Six other restaurants from the United States were also crowned this year: Alinea in Chicago, Illinois; Daniel, Le Bernardin, Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Eleven Madison Park in New York; and Manresa in Los Gatos, California.

These are the world's 50 best restaurants:

1) Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)

2) El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)

3) Mugaritz (Errenteria, Spain)

4) D.O.M. (São Paulo, Brazil)

5) Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)

6) Per Se (New York)

7) Alinea (Chicago, Illinois)

8) Arzak (San Sebastián, Spain)

9) Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London, England)

10) Eleven Madison Park (New York)

11) Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)

12) L'Atelier Saint-Germain de Joël Robuchon (Paris, France)

13) The Fat Duck (Bray, England)

14) The Ledbury (London, England)

15) Le Chateaubriand (Paris, France)

16) L'Arpege (Paris, France)

17) Pierre Gagnaire (Paris, France)

18) L'Astrance (Paris, France)

19) Le Bernardin (New York)

20) Frantzén/Lindeberg (Stockholm, Sweden)

21) Oud Sluis (Sluis, Netherlands)

22) Aqua (Wolfsburg, Germany)

23) Vendôme (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany)

24) Mirazur (Menton, France)

25) Daniel (New York)

26) Iggy's (Singapore)

27) Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

28) Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo, Japan)

29) Quay Restaurant (Sydney, Australia)

30) Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland)

31) Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo-Bizkaia, Spain)

32) Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)

33) De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands)

34) Fäviken Magasinet (Järpen, Sweden)

35) Astrid y Gastón (Lima, Perú)

36) Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)

37) Momofuku Ssäm Bar (New York)

38) Biko (Mexico City, Mexico)

39) Waku Ghin (Singapore)

40) Quique Dacosta (Denia, Spain)

41) Mathias Dahlgren (Stockholm, Sweden)

42) Hof van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)

43) The French Laundry (Yountville, California)

44) Amber (Hong Kong, China)

45) Vila Joya (Albufeira, Portugal)

46) Il Canto (Siena, Italy)

47) Bras (Laguiole, France)

48) Manresa (Los Gatos, California)

49) Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)

50) Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand)

soundoff (237 Responses)
  1. CTStorm

    This list should really be called "Our 50 favorite restaurants" so the rest of us can pay it the attention that it truly deserves.


    May 1, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  2. RoyBatty

    The price of the food has little to do with the taste and more about its reputation. Best Mexican ever is a "hole in the wall" Tamale house #3 in Austin Texas. Cheap, family owned and the always fresh. Resturants in the neighborhoods are also worth the time like The Blackthorn in St.Louis for great pizza and Cafe Everest for AMAZING Indian/Napalese food. None of thses places are expensive and all serve their food with great care. Eat locally owned and keep the money in your community and eat well too. Seems pretty simple.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Sara

      well said.. all food is local and cultural...

      May 1, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • gfld

      Amen. Tamale house is guilty pleasure. I love it, will never admit where I get it. Now that I've hit the station in life when I can afford to eat anywhere in town, I've gotten tired of every good or once good restaurant catering to skinny-jeaned twenty somethings who come in loud groups of ten or more and who think foam on their food is worth $75 a plate. I would rather stick with honest tasty dive food any day or cook at home.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  3. rafael

    One of the silliest articles I have read–to think that you can put all 8 million restaurants in the world on a linear scale and that differences in any part of that list are meaningful. And the people they quote in the article saying how meaningful the list is are all on the list! How self-serving is that?!

    May 1, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • David

      They didn't put all the world's restaurants on a linear scale. They picked 50 that in their professional opinion were the world's best. Their list will look different than your list or my list. I don't think anybody claims that there is a scientific or objective method here.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  4. David

    Get a grip, people. This is a list of 50 restaurants out of thousands of cities in the world in hundreds of countries. They honestly cannot include everybody's favourite hole-in-the-wall restaurant in everybody's home town. I'm impressed with people's ability to take a list generated for general interest and entertainment and be personally offended by it

    The people who created this list are among the world's foremost food experts and you better believe they are smart, informed, and extremely talented. They're not saying that this is the only food that tastes good. Surely they would acknowledge that dive restaurants, food carts, etc also are capable of producing excellent flavours. However, they were tasked with the job of narrowing down all the restaurants in the world into a list of 50, which is no easy task.

    Please do your selves a favour and stop taking yourself so seriously, take a deep breathe, and appreciate the list for what it is. A subjective list that makes no claims of being complete, comprehensive, or exhaustive.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • rafael

      You think the people taking themselves too seriously are the ones who are commenting?

      May 1, 2012 at 9:43 am |
      • David

        Yes. People who scan the list, see that their favourite hole-in-the-wall is not represented out of the millions of restaurants in the world, and see it as a personal slight. Not everything is about you; sometimes a list just a list. People create "best of" lists in just about every category you can think of seemingly every week.

        May 1, 2012 at 9:47 am |
        • rafael

          Not everyone is having that particular negative response, but it seems perfectly valid to me. What kinds of comments are you hoping to see instead?

          May 1, 2012 at 9:51 am |
        • David

          Hold up...it seems valid to you that some people are offended that their personal favourite hometown restaurant is not represented on a list that represents an infinitesimally small fraction of the total restaurants in the world?

          I think I'm done talking to you now.

          May 1, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Bageldog

      David's comment FTW

      May 1, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  5. LIZ

    How about world's 50 best restaurants for under $500 a meal in 2013? Better yet for under $200 a meal?

    May 1, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • rafael

      Better yet, quality to cost ratio? People who think any of these restaurants are worth eating at must have lost any sense of perspective.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:53 am |
      • BobbyGB

        I'd like to see that list :)

        May 1, 2012 at 9:59 am |
      • Bageldog

        I've eaten at #37, Momofuku Ssam. Walked in wearing jeans, had a beer with dinner, felt perfectly comfortable. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised to see it on this list, but the food was outstanding. Maybe you just are making a snap judgment about these restaurants without knowing anything about them.

        May 1, 2012 at 10:26 am |
      • Rbnlegend101

        Quality to cost? Oh that's easy. Government cheese. You can't beat it, for quality to cost. Would I eat it? No. But you get a lot at very low cost.

        Why on earth would you want to make such a list? Government cheese is even better if you buy a ten pound bag of baking potatos and put your government cheese on a potato. I stretched many dollars with big bags or potatos in college. And you can get free salt to put on it, just by going to a fast food place and asking for it. Great value for money. And flavor? Let me tell you. It tastes like a potato, with semi melted, semi-plastic cheeese colored stuff on it. You can't get ten pounds of bland beige food for less.

        May 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  6. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    They forgot "The Triple Nickel", another name for Jdizzle's kitchen. The pan-fried cat fish is out of this universe. Think I ate about 10 pounds of it last night. I use seasoned stir-fry oil, good flavor and doesn't smoke at high heat unlike olive oil, which I usually use for cooking.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • hht554

      Sounds delicious. Next time use avocado oil for high temperature cooking, it works much better than olive.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:58 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Interesting! I don't like avocados, but it doesn't mean I won't try using the oil. Thanks. Didn't even knew it existed outside of shampoos and conditioners.

        May 1, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  7. Joseluis

    Just for fun I visited the noma website. It states that you MUST spend a minimum of 2500DKK...that's $4474 US dollars :/ Alinea's is a bargain at that price !!

    May 1, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Joseluis

      I ment 25000DKK

      May 1, 2012 at 9:26 am |
      • nut

        That's the minimum price to reserve the "Staff Room" for a private party up to 15 people.

        May 1, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      The menu, with VAT included is $268. Wine pairing is $169 or non-alcoholic is $98, but neither is mandatory. Not cheap, but it is likely a once in a lifetime thing. If a person could get Super Bowl tickets for that, it could seem like a bargain.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Janus

      Lol, thats for reserving a spot for 9-15 people. Still not exactly cheap though:)

      May 1, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Rbnlegend101

      Try reading for comprehension. I know it's difficult, when you really want to be outraged, but put in the effort. You will find it well worth it.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  8. LIZ

    I can fly to NY roundtrip and get a room for less $$$$ than what it would cost me to dime at Per Se AND I live in the continental USA. I would love to give it a shot, but I have no plans to take out a home loan to do so.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Ray - VA

      Per Se isn't that expensive. It isn't cheap but looking at the menu fixed price for a 5 or so course meal + service is $300.

      $40 or so for entrees. Not cheap not take out a second mortgage level either. All of these places aren't every day dining. they are meant to be experiences for special occasions. Go to pro sports or a concert and you'll be paying the same levels for your evening.

      May 1, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  9. BobbyGB

    Tijuana Flats for the win!

    May 1, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  10. Grey

    I don't discount the list of top restaurants but in my experience, the best restaurants are the ones ran by unpretentious ppl. I had tasted mexican cuisine from 'expensive' restaurants and was not too impressed about it until a friend brought me to this small mexican place where i fully appreciated authentic mexican cuisine and I was hooked. Their double tacos only cost 1.48 dollars and it was soooo good, I kept dreaming about it even after I left California. My friend told me that when you go to an ethnic restaurant, make sure that you see majority of the same ethnic group patronizing the place or it wouldn't be the real thing. Like in that restaurant, I was the only Asian there and my friend was the only blonde. Everyone was Mexican. :D

    May 1, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  11. James Chan

    Glad to see French Laundry on here, but I'm shocked that there's nothing from New Orleans, Chicago or especially Las Vegas.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • RTFH

      7) Alinea (Chicago, Illinois} ????

      May 1, 2012 at 9:11 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Reading isn't everyone's forte.

        May 1, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  12. Chris

    The fact that New Orleans, one of the single greatest food cities in the world, gets no nod for any one of its wonderful establishments proves this list to be fraudulent.

    May 1, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Palmer

      Right on!!!

      May 1, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • mpouxesas

      Agreed! and not only that, but the fact that northern european places make the list (the top at that too!) is crazy! Since when is northern europe known for its cuisine!?!?! What happened to mid-east, south europe, north african cuisine?!?!

      May 1, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  13. Jack

    I'm not going to dispute what was included, although I agree with some of my fellow posters that these are more places to be seen than places to enjoy a good meal. But how ON EARTH could any list of the world's top restaurants not include a single one from New Orleans?!!

    May 1, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • danny

      And not 1 restaurant in Japan or China? really? For some reason people love these rank lists, but they are always very subjective and don't really mdean anything.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:48 am |
      • Andulamb

        Huh? I count two in Japan and one in China. Plus two in Singapore and one in Thailand. However, we are perhaps in agreement that this list is overly Western. I count 38 restaurants in either Europe or the U.S., leaving just 12 for the rest of the world. But of course it's a list created by a specific magazine with a specific readership, so that's fine. But really the list should be called "50 Favorite Restaurants of Western Food Snobs."

        May 1, 2012 at 10:13 am |
      • Eogris

        You should've probably read the list.

        27) Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

        28) Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo, Japan)

        and 44 is from China.

        May 1, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  14. William

    Nothing on this list is good. These places all serve basically the same over priced meals that look about the size of quarters that while may have great flavor, are not food. These are all jokes. Where is the BarbQ... if you expect me to belive that these taste testers no good food, then a place that serves Good smoked meat would be on here.

    May 1, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  15. humtake

    Any top restaurant list that doesn't have Bern's in it is a sham. Sorry, but it's true. Bern's always makes it into top 10's but the group in this list is comprised of mostly business class people who do not live here. And we all know the cool thing these days is to exclude America as much as possible in anything. Sure, we kinda caused that ourselves. But it still makes the list ineffective. Some of those places out of New York are terrible, but since they are in New York they get a nod. Look for other top lists, don't go by this one. Although I will say their #1 pick is definitely deserving.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • AleeD®

      Mmmm, Bern's ... wild truffled mushrooms and an Okinawan sweet potato with ginger / macadamia nut butter accompanying a 2-inch thick, aged filet, rare, cold center with a medium crust. Mmmm, Bern's.


      May 1, 2012 at 8:08 am |
      • AleeD®


        May 1, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • lgbarn

      I was looking for Bern's on this list and couldn't believe it wasn't there. Taking my wife there for anniversary in a couple of weeks.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Matty

      Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa? The single most overrated steakhouse in America. Everyone in Tampa thinks it is the greatest steak in the world but let's be real – we are talking about a group of uneducated hillbillies that are comparing Bern's to the Outback – which is the only other steakhouse they have eaten at in their lives. I would consider try eating outside of a 30 mile radius of your double wide before you throw Bern's into the top ten in the world.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:04 am |
      • Miso

        What's the matter, Matty? A hillbilly mess up your mis en place one time? And Tampa seems to be good enough in the winter for all you Yankees who can't stand the weather or the bad attitudes on the East Coast. We kind of look at you guys like our wintertime ATM since you pretty much throw your money at anything that is even half way pretentious, like Bern's. My only disappointment is how far down on the list French Laundry has fallen. Not up to their usual high standards last time I visited, but to be expected after a good, long run. And Keller's attention to the place seems to have wandered with his other interests.

        May 1, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  16. Robert

    Everyone on this comment list is ignorant. Go eat a Big Mac, you uncultured swine.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Northerner

      Another 1% 'er heard from....

      May 1, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • BobbyGB

      No, we just prefer to do different things with our money. With all the money I could spend on these meals, I'd rather setup a scholarship fund. Go eat a silver spoon.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  17. Squincher

    Being in L.A., I've eaten at quite a few of these "Art" restaurants at my company's expense (this was back in the good old days before the crash of 2007).

    After one elegant dinner with our Western regional VP of our company, I headed to the nearest In-N-Out Burger for real food (I was still starved). I'm a big guy and eating tiny little plates of beautiful food that looked like spectacular hors' d oerves did not fill me up. I

    Imagine my surprise when I ran into the same VP and his entourage there. We all shared a good laugh and bonded over a Double-Double!

    May 1, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • Ricky Carmichael

      I could really give a horses @$$ about this list.

      Our pasta this evening is a squid ravioli in a lemon grass broth...

      May 1, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • rafael

      Great story.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  18. Sean

    Balls. I'm wondering who they paid to get on the list.

    May 1, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Me. Or maybe their supply vendors. You know, the ones that didn't win the lowest bidder contest.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  19. ram

    Where is India?.There are many restaurants in my Country.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • Pattni

      yep and what about other countries eg in Africa middle east etc. Dont people survive there and have a healthy life. The arrogance from ignorance of the western people is still reflected through their media unfortunately

      May 1, 2012 at 3:11 am |
      • Ricky Carmichael

        No one wants to eat goat and rice from unwashed hands, and served on filthy dishes.

        May 1, 2012 at 7:38 am |
        • AA

          yeh no one wants to eat filthy oil processed food laden with fat and industral chemicals.

          May 1, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Chris

      The organisers of last night's awards have announced a new award for Asia's 50 Best Restaurant, which will be inaugurated in Singapore in Feb. 2013.


      May 1, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • onthemove

      Bakura in the Taj hotel in Deli is one of the best in the world.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:27 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Was that the hotel a bunch of people were gunned down? Where was that? I am too lazy to research it.

        May 1, 2012 at 9:29 am |
        • Jo Mama

          That was Mumbai (Bombay), and not Delhi.

          May 1, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • danny

      yeah and then you got diarrhea immediately afterwards...

      May 1, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  20. brothershen

    These fancy expensive restaurants are made with people who placed their hands on the final dish, after being cooked, and arrange the food, most often with their hands and not using utensils, in order to get a desired look. Many times the chefs are not wearing disposable gloves. Who knows what is happening in the kitchen behind closed doors. The chefs could be pushing their hair back while sweating, picking their noses, tasting the food on and off, etc. The best food is Chinese; the food is cooked, intense heat kills all the bacteria, and the food is dumped on to the plate with a hot spatula, and nobody touches the food except you. This is cleanest method. Forget what you heard about dirty Chinese restaurants. When the final product is served onto your table, you can be rest assured that the food is not touched or caressed by many different fingers.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • woosh

      Youre obviously entirely oblivious to hygiene standards. Bacteria becomes a problem because of storing at wrong temperature or not cooking enough. Atleast in Denmark your fridge and freezer have to be correct down to 1C and recorded 6 times a day, and cleaned EVERY day. Chefs work with handheld thermometers. Hopefully they dont use latex gloves, chefs especially at these restaurants will wash their hands hundreds of times a day. Would be such a waste for each chef to go through 100 pairs every shift. Also they have to wear hats, and tasting is obviously with a spoon, which you throw in wash after every taste. Anyone getting sick at one of these restaurants, even once it would ruin the restaurants entire imagine. But still enjoy your spatula food, sounds tasty. But i dont know where you came up with that chinese all serve with a hot spatula. I wonder where this tradition came from, and what they do with 70% of their dishes like dim dum, which u cant serve with a spatula.

      May 1, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • JC-VA

      Often times I think about the same thing when I go out (any restaurant) with my husband, and after much thoughts I realize that the best place to eat is home. I don't care what anyone says, chances are someone touched their nose or scratched their b@lls before they touched your food, or what about utensils or dirty plates..? Think about it….

      May 1, 2012 at 7:36 am |
      • Drowning (Gene) Pool

        LMAO! At a salad bar once, I watched some chick scratch her *rhymes with scratch*, wipe her nose, then, with the same hand, point at a bunch of salad items under the shield. I put my plate down, got a refund on the salad bar and bought a burger to go instead.

        B@lls indeed.

        May 1, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • P.J.

      Buffets have to be the most disgusting places. I'll stay home, thank you.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  21. bonz bustria nz

    have you tried Barrio Fiesta Resto in Manila? You'll surely love to include it in your list. TY

    May 1, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • Ricky Carmichael

      Have you tried Chik-fil-a? Change your life.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  22. Glutton

    Having been to a few of these due to having to entertain in my sales job, I must say that not a single place on this list – IMHO – can match the flavors, innovation and sheer delight of finding the next small, family-run Thai, Indian, Turkish, Spanish, Korean or Italian hole-in-the-wall gem...

    May 1, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  23. JimfromBham

    I guess these lists are like the political polls – different lists will have different restaurants on them. For instance, one of the chefs constantly in the running for the James Beard award is Frank Stitt from Highland Bar and Grill and Botegga's here in Birmingham.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • Carrie T.


      May 1, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  24. Fas4u

    Bar B Que Tonight at Clifton Karachi is the best.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • dohh

      i bet they serve pork there..

      May 1, 2012 at 1:35 am |
      • Fas4u

        Pork is Forbidden in Islam, so there is no pork

        May 1, 2012 at 6:34 am |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          Always thought that sucked for Muslims. More swine for me, though!

          May 1, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  25. blife

    What about Asia?? These lists are incredibly Eurocentric. Basically useless if you want to get an accurate snapshot of the really good foods throughout the world.
    How about choosing the best restaurants based on region? That might be more useful.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Ken

      6 of the 50 restaurants on the list are in Asia, so to say that Asia is not represented is simply not true. Also South-America climbed higher on the list this year than North-America did, and includes restaurants from Brazil, Peru and several in Mexico. Africa had a restaurant on the list in the past, but it didn't make it this year. Neither did Martin Berasategui, who is considered among the top chefs in Spain. So the moral of the story is that just because "your country" or "your region" or indeed "your local joint" didn't make the list, it just means that while those places are surely good/great, there are other places that (right now) are considered better. Restaurant menus change all the time, and so do people's focus. Like a past winner said, this is a "snapshot" of what's going on right now in the culinary world. The list tends to reward innovation and inventiveness (things we have not seen before), so it's not about giving you "grub on the plate" – it's about serving you the best food the world has to offer, as far as taste, plating and presentation. And yes, the portions are often small. But when you're having 10 or 20 course tasting menus, that's really quite alright. You're not going to go home hungry!

      May 1, 2012 at 1:08 am |
      • Lenny

        Sure. Racoon's rectum on a stick would make the list next year since it's never been eaten before and hence is considered innovation. Innovation, the most misused word of the last 25 years.

        May 1, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  26. Hoosier

    Gee, I wonder why I have never heard of any of these places. I don't thin Anthony Bordan has recommended any of these. Obviously these are overpriced unique places that I for one am making a point to never visit after looking at their menus. These are some hopped up food critics choice who has been influenced by a free meal.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Ken

      Having eaten at 1), 2), 6), 7), 10), 13), 14), 15), 16), 17), 19) (ok, I'll stop there) in the past year alone (and at my own expense even), I can tell you that you are definitely wrong about these being "hopped up food critics choice" kind of places. For instance, the 5-course menu at Le Chateaubriand costs €55, which is a great value. As far as your comment about Bourdain, he is best friends with the chef at Le Bernardin so that he has not recommended any of these places is also not true. That you haven't heard of any of these places just means you're not informed about haute cuisine. Nothing wrong with that, but to diss what you don't know or have any foundation to speak about, is kind of ... well, ignorant.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:50 am |
      • Lenny

        LOOK!! I know sooo much about Haute Cuisine, look at meeee! I'm sooo cool! I know sooo much about food that all these mortals don't! I'm so special!

        May 1, 2012 at 1:24 am |
      • Roy Blodgette

        I have to agree... The foods on these menus seem just awful. "Cuisine" is just a word made up so that restaurants can sell overpriced food and people who fancy themselves high class can feel legitimize their narcissism. How pretentious.

        May 1, 2012 at 1:33 am |
      • Squincher

        Sorry Ken, but Art is Art and Food is Food.

        I too have eaten at "world class" restaurants here in L.A. and I have to say, I'll take a small mom and pop diner or In-N-Out (a legendary West Coast chain) over any snobby, over-rated place run by a a pretentious chef who "feels the need to express himself through his food".

        May 1, 2012 at 6:01 am |
        • Rbnlegend101

          In and out makes a great burger, and very nice fries, but it doesn't comapre to the top restaurants I have eaten at in atlanta and DC. Maybe your problem is an LA thing? Your complaint sounds like it matches a specific trendy trend. If you don't like little tiny portions served on big white plates, with more artsy sauce drizzled on the plate than on the food, don't eat at those places. Plenty of other options, and they aren't all applebees.

          May 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
      • Romas

        Well you must make a very good income to eat at these places. The latest price at Alinea is $220 and I have heard of some nights it being in excess of $400. Food Network featured Ashatz on a few shows. I don't doubt that he can make a good tasting meal; but when presentation and uniqueness is the prime objective I begin to wonder about the value of it. Besdes I have eaten at top restaurants (not in this lists top tier but on top lists) and overall I don't find real value in the food. The experience and the ambiance of the place may be more of what you are paying for; but when it comes to good tasting food, it's amazing what you can find in that bottom of the barrel hole-in- the-wall.

        May 1, 2012 at 8:15 am |
      • P.J.

        Ken, it sounds like you get around. If you have the chance, try Langdon Hall in Cambridge, ON Canada. Was # 88 in the world last year, and you won't have to travel too far. Great chef in Jonathan Gushue

        May 1, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  27. i_know_everything

    the taco bell here is pretty good, too

    May 1, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • JimfromBham

      Taco Bell – I had to fly out to El Paso with a government employee a few years ago, and was looking forward to some great Tex-Mex (I grew up out there). Anyway, the government guy was on per diem and insisted that we eat lunch at Taco Bell. What a waste of an opportunity!

      May 1, 2012 at 1:02 am |
      • JC-VA

        And you didn't have the pants to say No.. so shut up... I too am on a "perdiem" but never force anyone to eat where I want.

        May 1, 2012 at 7:40 am |
      • ToddT

        Total shame, even the Taco Cabana or Taco Tote would have abeen a nice. Plus the whole dang town is so cheap to eat at.

        May 1, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  28. GinBhamAL

    I think the Olive Garden here in Birmingham is pretty darn good.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Richard

      We need Golden Corral in Bama

      April 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
      • P.J.

        No, you don't. Nobody needs Golden Corral.

        May 1, 2012 at 9:09 am |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          Yes. We do.

          Not all of us are fat cows. Sometimes some us like to burn one and gorge ourselves in a buffet that isn't a Chinese buffet or "Grandma's Home Cooking" buffet. I'm looking at you, Country Buffet.

          May 1, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  29. Khalid

    The best restaurants, in my view, are the food streets of Lahore, Pakistan. Nothing comes close from the Top 50. I can a have 7course meal for $30 and leave fully satisfied and with a full belly.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Cow

      And you get the excitement of possibly being blown up by a bomb from your dumb brothers

      May 1, 2012 at 12:29 am |
      • JC-VA

        LOL.. that was gooodddd.. LOL...

        May 1, 2012 at 7:41 am |
  30. Food.Not.Art

    Food not art.
    I guarantee any of you that any small deli in the heart of South America, Africa, and Asia would be 10x as good as any of those 50 restaurants.
    Even a kebab sandwich sounds more interesting than half those restaurants menus up there, sheesh.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

    NOTHING MORE than over-priced restaurant with small portions.

    My dad love to bring us in to this kind of places for my mom birthday or during their anniversary, it is just a place for snobs to flaunt their money and trust me the food is not all that great.

    My restaurant ranking will be very different from this least, BUT....HEY, "TO EACH HIS OWN."

    April 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm |

      **my restaurant list will be very different from this list"**

      April 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Cow

      Let me guess.. your dad abused you as a child?

      May 1, 2012 at 12:31 am |
      • Gatinha

        Cow, you're not being very nice. Please remove your comment.....

        May 1, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Cow1

      Let me guess.. your dad abused you as a child?

      May 1, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  32. Liqmaticus

    List means absolutely nothing.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  33. maddiecait

    So apparently eating outside of New York is not allowed...

    April 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  34. Paul

    I don't care how good the food tastes; there's something about paying an immense amount of money for food that strikes me as over indulgent or gluttonous. I prefer smallish ethnic restaurants where you pay a modest amount for good food.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • P.J.

      I'd rather eat out once a year and have a fabulous meal, than eat out 3-5 times a week and have crap. Unless you've ever been to one of these places, you really can't imagine what it's like. Lots of food is great but there is no reason to bash these fine establishments if you've never been there.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  35. Mike in SA

    No Texas steak or BBQ places? Philistines...Sure, go and pay $300 for small pieces of crap or go an pay $20 ($25 with a few beers) and get some great food and good times without eating offal!

    April 30, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Tx Manx


      I see that selection was via... a panel of more than 800 of the world's gastronomic glitterati, including celebrated chefs, food critics, restaurateurs and other influential leaders in the restaurant industry.

      Got it. I doubt their combined opinion adds up to cup of pinto beans. Moving on.....

      April 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Squincher

      Give me some baby back ribs marinated in a spice rub and a cold beer or a rib-eye steak with pork & beans!

      That's REAL FOOD!!!, Not the artsy-fartsy glorified hors'd oeurves these "top chefs" serve.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:46 am |
  36. Kevin

    The average person of course might be able to afford an appetizer from any of these places

    April 30, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  37. Varun

    The judges and lot of people get confused between food and art. They are not the same, people.

    April 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  38. Max

    So I'm guessing there are no good restaurant in the entire African continent that can make the list

    April 30, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Marta Paglianni

      When I think of Africa only slavery and animals for the zoo comes to mind. Has there ever been anything good out of Africa that has caused any world changes?

      April 30, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
      • Varun

        So the food from these restaurants has caused "world changes"? You moron.

        April 30, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
      • Inglourious

        Umm... human kind.

        April 30, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
      • MH

        wow, educate yourself, please. Only human civilization, has come from the cradle of Africa.

        April 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
      • Docchiro99

        That's sound very ignorant of you. Have you ever heard of minerals, and other matals, precious metals such as Gold and Diamonds from the southern part of Africa, oil and Gas from the northern and western part of Africa. Dates from Tunisia and I can go and write a books on so many things that come from Africa. There are more natural resources from the African continent that any other continents. Perhaps if you are unfortunate to have a diamond ring on your fingers, that piece of material most likely would have come from AFRICA. Have a nice life.

        Just not to forget. The origin of man come from Africa. I suggest that you stop wasting your time writing nonsense and spend your precious time doing some research on the African continent.

        May 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
      • thoughful

        How about People?

        May 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  39. Ben

    Hmmm...Not even a crumb from Las Vegas anymore? Has Vegas become just a watering hole for the celebrity chefs to grown their 'brand' as Bourdain suggested years ago in his TV program? I'm thinking go for Wynn buffet next time in Vegas...LOL

    April 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  40. Gypsy

    I dont know who these "glitterati" judges are but every one in the world knows Asia has the best food and the fact that this list has more European restaurants indicate that these judges are not in touch with reality.

    April 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Marta Paglianni

      AMazing list. I always say it to my friends, "Spain has the best cuisine in the world." Wish they were more Spanish restaurants in the USA we I can eat the healthy and delicious Mediterranean dishes.

      April 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
      • Varun

        Spanish food? Yuck!! The dirty tripe and intestines and coagulated blood is good? What other food do you eat? Warthog's rectum with poop on it? You're disgusting!

        April 30, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
        • LifelongVege

          Oh, look! A troll!

          April 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
        • Sashi

          Take it down a notch Varun.

          May 1, 2012 at 12:55 am |
        • Ken

          Clearly you know nothing about Spanish cuisine then!.

          May 1, 2012 at 12:55 am |
        • Lenny

          @ Ken @ Sashi, I was just messing with Marta since she made some very rude comments about Africa. Spanish cuisine is one of my favorites and I've had some of the best food in San Sabastian.

          May 1, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  41. Mickelson

    I guess they had dinner that my mother cooked.

    April 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  42. shawty

    guess atlanta's not that hot

    April 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  43. bamagrad03

    Meh. I'd rather listen to what James Beard's list has to say. James Beard seems to focus more on what really makes a world class restaurant and worries less on pandering to the snobbish elite.

    April 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • small town chef

      Not so. James Beard has all of these wonderful dinners that people come to pay money for, only to have the restaurants that produce them pay for all of their ingredients, and staff needed to complete the meal. The james beard area is essentially great paid for advertising where list seems to be of restaurants standing on their own without needing to travel somwhere else to showcase what they do.
      Thats not to say that awards from the foundation are invalid, but the promotions the group gives are paid for in some part by the recieving restaruants.

      April 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  44. Eric

    this list is absurd, not one place to eat in Louisiana? r-e-t-a-r-t-e-d

    April 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Matt

      Spelled retarded correctly, and then perhaps your opinion regarding fine cuisine will be respected.

      April 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Anthony

      That misspelling was intentional. Retarted is an insult about overcooking baked goods.

      April 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  45. Cheryl

    Have you read some of the menus for these places? Surely they jest. Noma is the most absurd.

    April 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • matt

      have you ever been????? no? really? ok then .... shut up!

      April 30, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
      • Lenny

        I don't need to go eat at Noma to find out how a boiled carrot tastes like you idiot!

        May 1, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • World traveller

      Cheryl – only absurd if you don't understand the concept: local produce! The menu makes total sense!!!

      May 1, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  46. fostertrecost

    No thanks, I'd rather the bottom 50. I'm sure the food is good, I've no doubts, but I'd rather be someplace a bit more accessible.

    April 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm |

      Absolutely. To eat in one means no money to eat anything the rest of the month.

      April 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  47. small town chef

    I didn't see Benu in San Fran. run by chef Cori Lee. It is amazing, has Mich. stars already and for what it is, is still resonably priced. Having dined at the French Laundry, and Per Se, I can fully attest that restaurant should make the list. Thats just my opinion though, congrats to the big town chefs.

    April 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  48. Walker, Austin

    What no Salt Lick in Driftwood, Tx?!?! I'm half serious...

    April 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • tango

      I agree. Also there seems that there are no decent restaurants in Australia, NZ, Argentina, Russia and many other places where I can ensure you that are as good or better than many of the restaurants listed here.

      April 30, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
      • P.J.

        I'm sure all the places you mentioned have wonderful restaurants, probably hundreds of them. But we're talking about the top 50 IN THE WORLD!! Do you have any idea how hard that must be to attain and retain?

        May 1, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Marc, Austin TX

      Salt Lick is awesome, but Lockhart, TX has even better Bbq.

      April 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  49. Chris

    Well done to Rene Redzepi and all the chefs in the top 50.
    Not only does this annual list result in intense competition, which is great for diners worldwide, but local suppliers of fresh produce are given a huge boost, along with the local tourist industries, e.g. Copenhagen & Girona (top two restaurants) are both beautiful cities to visit.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • JC-VA

      Oh brother, what are you doing...? Do you think they care about your opinion..?

      May 1, 2012 at 7:48 am |
      • Shi Thead

        If they didn't care, there wouldn't be a comments section after the article, genius. I'll bet they even care about your negative diatribe (that means bitter and abusive speech or piece of writing).

        May 1, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • P.J.

      Amen, Chris.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:22 am |
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