World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017: New York’s Eleven Madison Park Takes Top Honor
The number one restaurant in the world is actually number eleven—Eleven Madison Park in New York City took the top honor at this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in Melbourne.
“All of us in this room, we’ve dedicated our careers to creating experiences that we hope will become extraordinarily memorable moments in people’s lives,” Will Guidara, the co-owner of Eleven Madison Park, said. “We get to help people celebrate some of the most important moments in their lives—or maybe just give them the grace to forget about something for a moment. We, collectively, all of us here, get to create these magical worlds where people can escape in a world that increasingly needs a little more magic. And that’s something we choose to do because it’s something we believe in. I don’t think any of us here do what we do for the accolades. But affirmation is a beautiful thing: it fills your gas tank, it fuels you and gives you the ability to keep pushing. And this, because it comes from everyone in here, this is the greatest affirmation of all.”
“There are a hundred and fifty people at Eleven Madison Park, all of whom give so much of themselves to take care of others,” Guidara continued. “They’re all back in New York right now, up early in our private dining room watching this online. Guys! We did it! We wish you were here to celebrate with us! Here’s the thing—don’t wreck the restaurant while we’re gone. We promise we will wreck it together when we get home!”
Let’s talk about the top three positions, because anyone who follows the awards every year could’ve guessed the outcome: The top three places is more or less a reshuffling, with an outlier thrown in every few years. To illustrate: Eleven Madison Park jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 this year. It was also pronounced the “Best Restaurant in North America.”
Other special recognitions were also given out:
The “One to Watch” went to Disfrutar, while the “World’s Best Pastry Chef” was given to New York-based Dominique Ansel. Septime was the recipient of the “Sustainable Restaurant Award.” This year’s “World’s Best Female Chef” is Ana Roś. The “Chefs’ Choice Award” went to Virgilio Martinez. And the “Highest Climber Award” went to Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
And the much-respected and revered Heston Blumenthal (of Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal fame) won the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” giving a speech so profound that it felt like he should have been given a philosopher-chef award as well. This particular award is the highest achievement a chef could hope for—and Blumenthal is certainly in good company. Past recipients include Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Joël Robuchon, Alice Waters, and Alain Passard.
“I didn’t realize at the time that I’d coined the term ‘multisensory,’ because I realized that the senses—what we perceive—is our reality. And ever since then I’ve been working with something like a humongous jigsaw puzzle,” Blumenthal said. “In fact the move to Melbourne last year made me realize the jigsaw puzzle. It was so big because we homo sapiens, human beings, became the most powerful creatures in the planet because we could imagine. We could imagine things that don’t exist. We created shared beliefs. Money, religion, language. These things enabled us to work in groups larger than any other creature…and the very thing we take for granted is the very thing that makes us human. Through cooking, our brains tripled in size because it had to accommodate and protect our changing gut…so we have this situation now where imagination has led to education…”
Regional awards went to objectively outstanding establishments: “Best Restaurant in Asia” was awarded to Gaggan. The “Best Restaurant in South America” went to Central; the “Best Restaurant in Europe” was given to Osteria Francescana; and of course, the “Best Restaurant in North America” went to Eleven Madison Park.
And the lists—both 1 to 50 and 51 to 100—represented a good chunk of the world this year, which is fantastically refreshing. There weren’t too many winners from New York, London, or Paris. Instead, cities like Lima, Bangkok, Moscow, Cologne, Kruishoutem, and Birregurra were represented.
In fact, New York City only only has two restaurants on this 50-strong list (Cosme and Eleven Madison Park). But given that the city is home the best pastry chef and the world’s best bar: The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, it’s a good time to be living here.
But beyond the diversity we’re seeing this year, it’s good to note that there were six new entries: Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (No. 31), Cosme (No. 40), Reale (No. 43), Brae Restaurant (No. 44), Den (No. 45; also last year’s “One to Watch” winner), and Tegui (No. 49).
Below is 2017’s complete list. For more information and the 51 to 100 list, go to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants site.
1. Eleven Madison Park (New York City, United States) — “Best Restaurant in North America”
2. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy) — “Best Restaurant in Europe”
3. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain) — winner of “The Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality” award
4. Mirazur (Menton, France)
5. Central (Lima, Peru) — “Best Restaurant in South America”
6. Asador Etxebarri (Axpe, Spain)
7. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand) — “Best Restaurant in Asia”
8. Maido (Lima, Peru)
9. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)
10. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)
11. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantino Hills, New York, United States) — “Highest Climber Award”
12. Arpège (Paris, France)
13. Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athenée (Paris, France)
14. Restaurant André (Singapore)
15. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
16. D.O.M. (São Paulo, Brazil)
17. Le Bernardin (New York, United States)
18. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)
19. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)
20. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
21. Alinea (Chicago, United States)
22. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)
23. White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)
24. Amber (Hong Kong, China)
25. Tickets (Barcelona, Spain)
26. The Clove Club (London, United Kindom)
27. The Ledbury (London, United Kingdom)
28. Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand)
28. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)
30. Arzak (San Sebastian, Spain)
31. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France) — “Highest New Entry” award
32. Attica (Melbourne, Australia) — Best Restaurant in Australasia
33. Astrid Y Gaston (Lima, Peru)
34. De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands)
35. Septime (Paris, France)
36. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London, United Kingdom)
37. Saison (San Francisco, United States)
38. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)
39. Relae (Copenhagen, Denmark)
40. Cosme (New York, United States) — New Entry
41. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai, China)
42. Boragó (Santiago, Chile)
43. Reale (Castel Di Sangro, Italy) — New Entry
44. Brae Restaurant (Birregurra, Australia) — New Entry
45. Den (Tokyo, Japan) — New Entry; Last Year’s “One to Watch”
46. L’Astrance (Paris, France)
47. Vendôme (Cologne, Germany)
48. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
49. Tegui (Buenos Aires, Argentina) — New Entry
50. Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)