The World’s 50 Best Restaurants organization has been ranking the globe’s top fine dining destinations since 2002, and this year has been no different, with a formidable panel of chefs, restauranteurs, food critics, writers, and well-traveled gourmets, all casting their votes. There are no predefined criteria. Rather, what constitutes “best” boils down to the judgment of a group of experts with decades of top-notch industry experience.
With the votes all in, the top 50 list for 2019 was revealed at an awards ceremony held in Singapore this summer. The event, which is one of the biggest nights of the year in the culinary world, saw restaurants from 26 countries on five continents walk away with a coveted award and confidence—if it were needed—that their dining rooms would be fully booked for some time to come.
Here is the crème de la crème of that list; the 10 stellar dining destinations that topped the ranking of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.
- Mirazur (Menton, France)
From a unique 1930s structure nestled at the foot of a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, chef Mauro Colagreco and his team can be found cooking up a storm at the Mirazur. Elegant and spacious, the restaurant spans three levels to match its three Michelin stars: a sun-drenched dining room with sea views, a lower-ground bar where guests can observe the kitchen team hard at work, and an orchard garden filled with the scent of herbs and citrus fruits. According to the restaurant, Colagreco’s cuisine is ultra-fresh and showcases the best fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood that local growers have to offer. The Mirazur offers two different menus, a Thursday to Saturday lunch menu priced at 160 euro ($177) and a lunch and dinner menu described as a “sensory trip” for 260 euros ($288).
- Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Noma is a two Michelin-starred restaurant located in a former warehouse on the seafront in Copenhagen’s Christianshavn district. Under chef Rene Redzepi, the restaurant is known for reinventing and redefining Nordic cuisine. The dining space is light and airy with exposed wooden beams and a rustic yet modern feel.
As for cuisine, the restaurant divides the year into three seasons—vegetable, game and forest, and seafood—during which the menu changes to match the ingredients that are at their best at each time of year. Currently, the menu is priced at 2,500 Danish Krone, or just over $372.
- Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain)
Asador Etxebarri can be found at the foothills of the Anboto mountain in the Durango region of Spain’s Basque Country. Far from the hustle and bustle of city life, the restaurant and its head chef Victor Arguinzoniz draw inspiration from its natural surroundings and preserves ancient grilling techniques using carefully selected firewood that complements the locally sourced produce used in all its dishes.
Choices about the menu are made every day, based on which seasonal products are most freshly available. The cost of dining out at Asador Etxebarri averages at 180 euros ($200), drinks aside.
- Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
Gaggan is the namesake restaurant of Indian chef Gaggan Anand and its dishes have been delighting diners in Bangkok, Thailand, since 2010. Before establishing the restaurant, Gaggan Anand worked at the triple Michelin-starred restaurant, El Bulli, in Spain. Today, Gaggan itself enjoys Michelin star status and offers a modern “progressive” take on Indian cuisine.
The restaurant is located in an old 19th-century townhouse and, much like the menu, the interior décor is a fusion of modern shades of white and beige highlighted with a burst of vibrant Indian color. The Best of Gaggan tasting menu is priced at 4,000 Bhat (approx. $130) plus service charge and VAT.
- Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)
The second Danish entry on this year’s list, Geranium is a gourmet restaurant located on the eighth floor in Fælledparken—or Common Gardens— in the center of Copenhagen. From way up high, diners can gaze out across treetops to the city’s green copper roofs that lay beyond and the windmills of Oeresund far in the distance.
Under head chef and co-founder Rasmus Kofoed, the culinary team at Geranium is on a mission to create meals that “involve all our senses”, offering diners an experience that the restaurant describes as restorative and enriching, yet challenging. Geranium’s Summer Universe menu is priced at 2,600 Danish Krone, just over $387.
“To me, luxury means using biodynamic, seasonal vegetables from a local farm. It’s important to take care of nature as well as our health in order to live life to the fullest in a beautiful place. It’s also a luxury to me to be in the restaurant, to do what I enjoy doing, to hopefully make a difference and to be a part of a very creative world,” – says Kofoed.
- Central (Lima, Peru)
Central Restaurante is located in the Barranco District of Lima, Peru, and is the flagship venue of Peruvian chef, Virgilio Martínez Véliz. The restaurant is known for its contemporary interpretation of the country’s cuisine, with dishes that introduce little-known indigenous ingredients from Peru’s coastal region, the Andes highlands, and the Amazon rainforest.
More than a restaurant, Central strives to connect with local communities and the surrounding natural environment. There are currently two menus that offer journeys through Peru’s ecosystems: the Mater Elevations menu priced at around $175 and the Mater Ecosystems menu, priced at just under $168.
“To me, luxury is tightly connected to the concept of time. Luxury may be offered by places or moments that will provide happiness, a large dosage of reality, and the possibility for introspection,” says Véliz.
- Mugaritz (Guipuzkoa, Spain)
Mugaritz is located in lush green countryside on the border between the two Basque towns of Errenteria and Astigarraga. The restaurant opened in March 1998 under the management of chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, one of Spain’s culinary pioneers. A meal at Mugaritz comprises as many as 20 courses, which are often served in the tranquility of the restaurant’s gardens.
In true Basque tradition, Mugaritz combines mountains and sea, with oysters, lamb loin and local cheeses counting among the many fresh, local ingredients used in the kitchen. But the tradition ends there; at Mugaritz, the cuisine is creative and contemporary, with dried hydrangea of cocoa counting as one of the standout dishes. The Mugaritz menu is priced at 220 euros, just over $244.
“In today’s world, where everything is changing so fast, by the time we think that we know what is moving the world, it changes. In this liquid post-modernity, I dare say that to be able to enjoy the uncertainty is a luxury,” says Adoriz.
- Arpège (Paris, France)
Chef Alain Passard opened Arpège in 1986. The venue had previously been home to a restaurant run by his own mentor Alain Senderens under the name Archestrate.
Chef Passard chose the name Arpège as a tribute to music, his second passion, and decorated the restaurant in an Art Deco style. The three Michelin-starred restaurant currently offers three tasting menus as well as an a la carte menu where dishes range in price from 46 euro ($51) to 210 euro ($233).
Flame cooked meats and fresh seafood feature at Arpège, but it is vegetables that take center stage. The restaurant has its own organic vegetable gardens tended by a dedicated team of gardeners.
“To me, luxury means not to have everything but to give everything, this is the real luxury,” says Passard.
- Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain)
Chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch opened Disfrutar in Barcelona’s Eixample district in December 2014. The trio had previously trained and worked together at Michelin-starred El Bulli on the Costa Brava under chef Ferran Adrià. Today, Disfrutar itself boasts two Michelin stars.
Respect for the history and legacy of the Mediterranean are the inspiration for the design at Disfrutar, with white walls, natural light and ceramic marking the restaurant’s interior. As for the gastronomic offering, dishes revolve around the tasting menu concept. There are four menus to choose from, with prices ranging from 155 euro (approx. $172) to 195 euro (approx. $216). Disfrutar, which means “enjoy” in English, describes its cuisine as daring, fun, modern and centered on taste above all else.
“To us, luxury means time. It means doing what you want with whom you want and in the moment you want,” says Casañas, Castro and Xatruch.
- Maido (Lima, Peru)
Maido is the flagship restaurant of chef Mitsuharu “Micha” Tsumura and counts as the second Peruvian entry on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants lineup. In a stylish room decorated with colorful ropes suspended from the ceiling that forms the shape of the Japanese flag when viewed from below, the chef serves up a fusion tasting menu as well as a la carte and sushi options.
Chef Tsumura was born in Peru but trained in the US before traveling to Japan to hone his skills and learn more about his heritage. Maido, meaning “welcome” in Japanese offers a menu that celebrates Nikkei cuisine—a blend of Peruvian and Japanese influences—with dishes including a fish hot dog and sea urchin rice. The Nikkei tasting experience costs approx. $130.