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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The World's Best Restaurants

Ramsay Plummets From World’s 50 Best Restaurants; El Bulli Wins

By Richard Vines

April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Gordon Ramsay’s flagship London establishment dropped out of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list tonight and kept falling. The three-Michelin-starred venue failed even to make the Top 100 after coming 13th last year.

To add to the woes of the British chef, known for TV shows such as “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares,” his former friend Marcus Wareing’s new venue came in at No. 52. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley -- on the site of the old Ramsay- owned Petrus -- also won the Breakthrough Restaurant award, meaning it’s most likely to enter the Top 50 next year.

El Bulli, Ferran Adria’s experimental restaurant north of Barcelona, topped the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck came second for the fourth year in a row. Noma, chef Rene Redzepi’s venue in Copenhagen, jumped to third from 10th and also took the Chefs’ Choice award.

Ramsay’s empire spans the world, with establishments in Asia, the U.S., the Middle East, Africa and Europe. In London alone, the chef has eight restaurants, plus Foxtrot Oscar and three pubs. He plans to reopen Petrus and Savoy Grill this year. Ramsay came under fire last week when the Sun reported that a central kitchen supplies dishes in bags to Foxtrot Oscar and the pubs. The highest Ramsay venue in the Top 100 is Maze, at 91.

“Gordon takes all these sort of surveys with a pinch of salt,” according to an e-mailed statement issued by his public- relations company, Sauce Communications. “As always, Gordon regards his thousands of customers as his most valued critics. They are his judge and jury.”

New York

The top placed U.S. entrant was Thomas Keller’s Per Se, in New York, which came sixth. The same chef’s French Laundry, which won in 2004, came 12th this time. Other U.S. winners included Alinea (10th), Le Bernardin (15th) and Jean Georges (19th).

Wareing split from Gordon Ramsay Holdings last year. Ramsay kept the name Petrus and Wareing held onto the site at the Berkeley hotel, retaining the business he had spent nine years building.

The awards were announced at the Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden. The World’s 50 Best is one of the foremost gatherings of chefs from around the world. Among those planning to attend were Adria, Blumenthal, Daniel Boulud, Joel Robuchon, Tetsuya Wakuda and Wareing. Ramsay wasn’t planning to be there, the organizers said.

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay came second to El Bulli in the inaugural list in 2002, which was dominated by U.K. restaurants, It placed fifth in 2003, eighth in 2004, fifth in 2005, 14th in 2006, 24th in 2007 and then 13th in 2008. The list started life as a way of promoting “Restaurant,” a U.K. magazine.

Five Votes

The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards and List is organized and compiled by “Restaurant,” and sponsored by S. Pellegrino. The winners are chosen by a total of 837 food writers, critics and commentators around the world, organized into 26 panels. Each panelist has five votes, of which a maximum of three can go to places in his or her region.

For the first time, I was a member of the U.K. and Ireland panel, chaired by Jay Rayner of the Observer. I voted by post and don’t know who else was on the panel or how they voted.

Noma knocked Pierre Gagnaire from third place. El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, Spain, was the biggest gainer, jumping 21 places. The other notable change this year is the presence of Asian restaurants in the Top 50. Les Creations de Narisawa, Tokyo, ranked 20th. Iggy’s, in Singapore, which the new “Miele Guide” named Asia’s best restaurant last October, came 45th.

The Fat Duck, which topped the list in 2005 and now comes second each year, was closed for more than two weeks earlier this year after 529 diners reported falling sick. Health officials later said the cause was norovirus Winter Vomiting Disease.

The Top 50:

1 El Bulli, Spain (=)
2 The Fat Duck, U.K. (=)
3 Noma, Denmark (+7)
4 Mugaritz, Spain (=)
5 El Celler de Can Roca, Spain (+21)
6 Per Se, U.S. (=)
7 Bras, France (=)
8 Arzak, Spain (=)
9 Pierre Gagnaire, France (-6)
10 Alinea, U.S. (+11)
11 L’Astrance, France (=)
12 The French Laundry U.S. (-7)
13 Osteria Francescana, Italy (New Entry)
14 St. John, U.K. (+2)
15 Le Bernardin, U.S. (+5)
16 Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville, Switzerland (+11)
17 Tetsuya’s, Australia (-8)
18 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, France (-4)
19 Jean Georges, U.S. (-2)
20 Les Creations de Narisawa, Japan (New Entry)
21 Chez Dominique, Finland (+18)
22 Ristorante Cracco, Italy (+21)
23 Die Schwarzwaldstube, Germany (+12)
24 D.O.M., Brazil (+16)
25 Vendome, Germany (+9)
26 Hof van Cleve, Belgium (+2)
27 Masa, U.S., (Re-entry)
28 Gambero Rosso, Italy (-16)
29 Oud Sluis, Netherlands (+13)
30 Steirereck, Austria (New Entry)
31 Momofuku Ssam Bar, U.S. (New Entry)
32 Oaxen Skaergaardskrog, Sweden (+16)
33 Martin Berasategui, Spain (-4)
34 Nobu U.K. (-4)
35 Mirazur, France (New Entry)
36 Hakkasan, U.K. (-17)
37 Le Quartier Francais, South Africa (+13)
38 La Colombe, South Africa (Re-entry)
39 Asador Etxebarri, Spain (+5)
40 Le Chateaubriand, France (New Entry)
41 Daniel, U.S. (=)
42 Combal Zero, Italy (Re-entry)
43 Le Louis XV, France (-28)
44 Tantris, Germany (+3)
45 Iggy’s, Singapore (New Entry)
46 Quay, Australia (New Entry)
47 Les Ambassadeurs, France (-2)
48 Dal Pescatore, Italy (-25)
49 Le Calandre, Italy (-13)
50 Mathias Dahlgren, Sweden (New Entry)

51 Zuma, China
52 Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, U.K.
53 Spondi, Greece
54 L’Arpege, France
55 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, China
56 Hibiscus, U.K.
57 Aqua, Germany
58 Le Gavroche, U.K.
59 Chez Panisse, U.S.
60 Les Amis, Singapore
61 El Poblet, Spain
62 Maison Pic, France
63 Cafe Pushkin, Russia
64 Le Meurice, France
65 Bukhara, India
66 Varvari, Russia
67 Schauenstein, Germany
68 RyuGin, Japan
69 La Maison Troisgros, France
70 Wasabi, India
71 The River Cafe, U.K.
72 Enoteca Pinchiorri, Italy
73 Le Cinq, France
74 Allegro, Czech Republic
75 Quintessence, Japan
76 Restaurant Dieter Mueller, Germany
77 Geranium, Denmark
78 Caprice, China
79 Jardines, South Africa
80 Amador, Germany
81 Biko, Mexico
82 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon U.S
83 Fasano, Brazil
84 Mozaic, Bali
85 Obauer, Austria
86 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, France
87 L’Ambroisie, France
88 Maison Boulud, China
89 De Librije, Netherlands
90 Babbo, U.S.
91 Maze, U.K.
92 Zuma, U.K.
93 Manresa, U.S.
94 Pier, Australia
95 De Karmeliet, Belgium
96 Aubergine, South Africa
97 Bo Innovation, China
98 Rust en Vrede, South Africa
99 Del Posto U.S.
100 Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, UAE

Figures in brackets indicate change on last year.

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg News Opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer on the story: Richard Vines in London at rvines@bloomberg.net.

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We would never expect you to eat this shrimp, nor do we serve farmed Asian shrimp

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