The world's 50 best restaurants -

The world’s 50 best restaurants

And once again, Canada doesn’t make the cut


Chefs pose for a group photo after the 2012 World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

The world’s 50 best restaurants, as determined by Restaurant magazine and sponsored by Italian beverage emporium San Pellegrino, were announced today. 2011’s top three–Denmark’s Noma, and Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca and Mugaritz–have kept their respective first, second and third positions. Restaurants in the U.S., London and Italy round out the top 10, with eight new restaurants added to the list that have never made it before. And, once again, there’s not a Canadian place in sight.

Have we ever made the cut? Yes: Michael Stadtländer’s Eigensinn Farm came in at number nine in 2002–the list’s inaugural year–and dropped to number 28 the next year, while Susur Lee’s Susur, which closed in 2008, came in 49th place in 2002.  But for the last nine years, this country’s finest eateries have been shut out of the top 50.

I’ve only been to one restaurant on this year’s list, New York’s Daniel, so I’m certainly not an authority on what it takes to make the grade. But presumably it takes chefs who are really breaking culinary grounds, or cooking up traditional fare better than anybody else, in order to be considered by the 800 international restaurant industry experts who travel the world annually and compile the list.

I’m curious to know what restaurants, if any, Canadian food authorities (that’s another debatable list unto itself) think should have been a contender this year.

Do tell!



The world’s 50 best restaurants

  1. The top 50 list is completely overblown. The methodology behind it is inheriantly biased to a very large degree. NYC is over represented as many judges visit there. Japan is under represented big time. Michelin guide, for all its faults, is a much better list of top restaurants.

    That being said, I dont think Canada deserves a spot on this list.

    • It may be true that Japan in under represented, but Michelin is not a better list of top restaurants because it’s so narrow in scope geographically. There are many global cities that aren’t even rated by Michelin. (Biko and Pujol in Mexico City, for example). At least the Restaurant magazine list could theoretically contain any restaurant anywhere in the world.

      • Many of the restaurants on this list are soley there because they were on the list last year, so the judges see that they were ranked, go there, and then rank them the next year. Therefore it lacks the credibility of michelin guide (which itself is far from perfect) who attempt to standardize the process.

        For example: le chateaubriand, it is a very nice bistro in paris. There are a handful of other very nice bistros in Paris that are as good or better. Yet none of them make the top 50? Everyone on the panel wants to see what all the hype about le cheatubriand is all about, they go there, enjoy themselves, and place it in their top 7. Voila, its ranked again.

  2. Japan is under represented because of the anti-western tradition still practiced widely within the country. Judges can’t get in to a lot of the places because they’re not Japanese, so they will never be on the list.

    A fairer example of under representation is Australia, simply because it’s so far away from everywhere. Restaurants like Quay, Marque, Attica, Sepia and Becasse should be higher up or on the list, but have a limited number of judges visiting, thus limiting the chances.

    NYC is definately over represented, and by every account I’ve heard from chefs I’ve met, Eleven Madison Park may be the most overrated restaurant around today. I haven’t heard very many comments of “wow”, as you’d expect from a top ten restaurant, in fact, “mediocre” is the overwhelming opinion I’ve heard.

    Surprised to see that WD-50 and Next didn’t make the cut though, both amazing restaurants. Also surprising to see Dinner By Heston Blumenthal so high on the list.

    In terms of Canadian restaurants, I’m not sure there’s one that deserves a spot, Colborne Lane may be the best chance, but it’s just mediocre, well … it was last time I went.

  3. I would like a list for best cities/neighbourhoods for street food. I enjoy cooking but fine dinning stuff is overly fussy, and not really about flavours, so I prefer to find recipes used by street chefs. I find many great recipes online from different parts of Asia that are delicious and easy to prepare.

    Give me food prepared by some stooped auntie who’s been cooking pla neung for thirty years than anything prepared by Ferran Adrià.

  4. I recently came back from a trip to NYC where I had an amazing experience eating at Eleven Madison Park, which I see has made the list (top 10?). I’ve posted a review of the restaurant on Trip Advisor, here: While I’ve been fortunate to eat at some amazing restaurants across Canada including great outings in Niagara-on-the-Lake and in Banff and Lake Louise, no experience has come close to Eleven Madison Park in NYC. I was also surprised that some of the top Vegas restaurants missed the list. Judging from what I’ve seen, it looks like a trip to Paris is in order!

  5. I believe there are many restaurants in Canada worthy of the list and those that say Canada does not deserve a place must obviously not be eating at the right establishments. some great Canadian Restaurants are Diva at the Met, Rouge- calgary, canoe-toronto, au pied du cochon, Joe Beef, chives- halifax, The Inn at Bay Fortune- PEI, Atlantica-NFLD, Atelier-Ottawa..the list goes on and on and to top it off you wont go broke eating at all these places!!! so could menu cost also have bearing on the judgement? how can one call it the worlds 50 best when there are parts of the WORLD not represented!!

    • I have been to half of the restaurants you just mentioned. As well as a handful of the top 25 on this list, and certainly do not agree about the order and inclusion of many of these restaurants. However Canada just doesn’t compete in the high-end restaurant category at all. Take Atelier, Canoe (molec gastro, modern fusion) compared to say Alinea and Pierre Gagnarie (similar styles respectively), the Canadian restaurants are drastically inferior in all regards.

  6. As usual, this list is nothing more than a compilation of where the judges have been able to go this year. If they were to venture further afield they would find a plethora of worthy restos around the Globe. Montpelier Plantation on Nevis, Sooke Harbour House in British Columbia, maybe my own Tempest in Nova Scotia – but how to get the judges out when Europe and New York beckon?