Announced Tuesday night at a ceremony in Valencia, Spain, the 2023 World’s 50 Best restaurants list includes restaurants from 24 territories on five continents and introduces 12 new to the list.
“Not a fine-dining temple in Paris or Tokyo – or even a game-changer in Catalonia or Copenhagen – but a husband-and-wife spot in Peru, a country perched on the furthest-western coastline of South America that’s also famous for being the home of a certain Paddington Bear,” the award organizers write in the announcement.
“Central, the establishment just named The World’s Best Restaurant, maintains a clear focus on the biodiversity of the region: we’re talking indigenous fruits from the Amazon, root vegetables from the Andes, seafood from the Pacific Ocean, as well as tubers and potatoes – a lot of potatoes. Most importantly, of course, the dining experience is genuinely unique and utterly brilliant.”
Central is followed by three Spanish restaurants: Disfrutar in Barcelona in #2, Madrid’s Diverxo #3, and Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo #4. Alchemist in Copenhagen, Denmark made it to #5 and also won the Art of Hospitality Award.
Central and a new gastronomic capital
This is the first time that a South American restaurant climbs to the top of the list of what is considered the “Oscars of gastronomy.”
Central, led by chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, is taking the top spot from 2022 winner Geranium in Copenhagen. Ranked at #2 on the 2022 list, Central “is an ode to Peru, with a menu that celebrates the unique biodiversity of the country’s indigenous ingredients alongside its traditions and history, while championing sustainability.”
“In 2008, Virgilio Martínez opened Central in Lima with a vision to create a fine dining experience rooted in Peruvian ingredients and cooking techniques. Pía León joined in 2009 – then went on to become Martínez’s head chef and wife, laying the foundations of what would become the Central experience,” the 50 Best website explains.
For 15 years, the winning restaurant has been serving top gastronomic dishes made with Peruvian ingredients and techniques. The restaurant “takes diners through 15 different Peruvian ecosystems, categorised by altitude – from 15 metres under the Pacific Ocean to 4,200 metres up in the Andes.”
Along with Central, which also took the title as the Best Restaurant in South America, Peru’s capital city got more slots in the top 50 than any other city.
South America rising
In total, South America now counts with nine restaurants, two of them new: Kjolle, #28 in Lima, which is the solo venture of Chef Pía Léon, and El Chato, #33 in Bogotá, Colombia, in the prestigious competition.
Chef Pía Salazar, from Nuema, Quito, won the title of The World’s Best Pastry Chef.
…the rest of the list
Asia follows with seven restaurants, including Singapore’s Odette in #14 — with its chef, Julian Roger, taking the Chef’s Choice award and the restaurant also named the Best Restaurant in Asia — two Bangkok restaurants, Le Du in #15 and Gaggan Anand in #17, three in Tokyo — Den, #21, Florilège, #27 and Sézanne, #37 — while The Chairman in Hong Kong closes the list at #50.
Spain, the host country of the awards ceremony, earned a total of six entries in the top 50, including the world’s #2, Disfrutar in Barcelona, which is also the 2023 Best Restaurant in Europe, #3 Diverxo in Madrid and #4 Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo in the Basque region.
Italy has five restaurants and France four in the top 50. Restaurants in London earned three spots.
Two New York restaurants landed on the list: Atomix, #8, in New York, which climbed 25 places from 2022 to take the Highest Climber prize and was also named the Best Restaurant in North America, and Le Bernardin, #44.
Fyn, in Cape Town, won the Best Sustainable Restaurant Award and Table by Bruno Verjus, #10, in Paris, got the Highest New Entry Award. Alchemist #5, from Copenhagen, got the Art of Hospitality Award.
The awards were announced on June 20 in the Spanish city of Valencia at the City of Arts and Sciences, a collection of futuristic spaces designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.
According to the rules of the competition, restaurants are permitted to get the top prize only once. They then enter into a separate “Best of the Best” category. Members of that elite group include Geranium and Noma in Copenhagen as well as New York’s Eleven Madison Park, The Fat Duck near London, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, and Mirazur in Menton, France.
“If you can’t bag a reservation there – a task that might get a little harder hereon – try any of the other outstanding places named on the brand-new list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna ,” the organizers advise.
Here is the complete list of 50 Best Restaurants:
1. Central (Lima, Peru) – Best Restaurant in South America
2. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain) – Best Restaurant in Europe
3. Diverxo (Madrid, Spain)
4. Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain)
5. Alchemist (Copenhagen, Denmark)
6. Maido (Lima, Peru)
7. Lido 84 (Gardone Riviera, Italy)
8. Atomix (New York City) – Highest Climber, Best Restaurant in North America
9. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)
10. Table by Bruno Verjus (Paris, France) – Highest New Entry
11. Trèsind Studio (Dubai, UAE) – Best Restaurant in the Middle East and Africa – New entry
12. A Casa do Porco (São Paulo, Brazil)
13. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
14. Odette (Singapore) – Best Restaurant in Asia and Chef’s Choice: Julien Royer
15. Le Du (Bangkok, Thailand) – New entry
16. Reale (Castel di Sangro, Italy)
17. Gaggan Anand (Bangkok, Thailand) – New entry
18. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)
19. Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
20. Quique Dacosta (Dénia, Spain)
21. Den (Tokyo, Japan)
22. Elkano (Getaria, Spain)
23. Kol (London, England) – New entry
24. Septime (Paris, France)
25. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)
26. Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland)
27. Florilège (Tokyo, Japan)
28. Kjolle (Lima, Peru) – New entry
29. Boragó (Santiago, Chile)
30. Frantzén (Stockholm, Sweden)
31. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)
32. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)
33. El Chato (Bogotá, Colombia)- New entry
34. Uliassi (Senigallia, Italy)
35. Ikoyi (London, England)
36. Plénitude (Paris, France) – New entry
37. Sézanne (Tokyo, Japan) – New entry
38. The Clove Club (London, England)
39. The Jane (Antwerp, Belgium)
40. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
41. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)
42. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
43. Leo (Bogotá, Colombia)
44. Le Bernardin (New York City)
45. Nobelhart & Schmutzig (Berlin, Germany)
46. Orfali Bros (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) – New entry
47. Mayta (Lima, Peru)
48. La Grenouillère (La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France) – New entry
49. Rosetta (Mexico City)
50. The Chairman (Hong Kong)