9 Restaurants In The World
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not since geoff hurst won england the world cup in 1966 has there been a hat-trick as impressive as this: el bulli crowned the best restaurant in the world for the third consecutive year, once more pipping the fat duck to the golden prize. were it not for the fact that heston blumenthal and ferran adrià are such good friends you might have expected blumenthal to sink his teeth into adrià when the awards were announced at the s.pellegrino world's 50 best restaurants ceremony in london.
the fat duck
he's been called a magician, scientist, artist, culinary alchemist and a gastronomic messiah - there's no doubt that heston blumenthal and his creations served at the fat duck capture the imagination. when classic dishes like snail porridge and egg and bacon ice cream made headlines in the early 2000s, his fate for media stardom was sealed. three michelin stars for the fat duck were to follow, along with an obe, an honorary doctorate, award-winning books and more recently the bbc tv series in search of perfection.
at 58, life is sweet for pierre gagnaire. he is respected by his peers, his eponymous paris restaurant holds three michelin stars and he oversees a portfolio of restaurants stretching from london to tokyo.
andoni luis aduriz is often portrayed as the quiet man of nueva cocina. his food is less flamboyant than that of many modern spanish chefs, and, ostensibly, he is less driven by new technology and kitchen science. but it is all a matter of degree. aduriz spent two years studying the chemistry of coagulation in order to produce the perfect poached egg. clearly, he is a chef in possession of a fathomless curiosity and a razor-sharp cutting-edge. "i encourage my team to make an individual effort to explore the origin of everything they touch and transform over fire."
the french laundry
the french laundry has something of a checkered past. built in 1880 as a saloon, it was later turned into a brothel before finally gaining respectability as a french steam laundry in the 1920s. although it was first run as a restaurant in the 1970s, it wasn't until thomas keller bought the building in 1994 that it began to gain critical attention as one of the most celebrated restaurants in the world.
few people talk about it now, but in the late 1980s, thomas keller left new york with his tail very much between his legs. after a glittering opening, his rakel restaurant had essentially "failed" after the stock market crash of 1987.
a seamless continuity, a modernism that grows naturally and instinctively out of the ancient, is the aim at bras. if that sounds rather poetic, it's meant to. this isn't a restaurant that does anything as prosaic as merely feeding people. instead, it's an attempt to conjure the history, landscape and soul of this area of southern france in a series of thoughtful, attractive plates of food.
juan mari arzak is one of the great characters of the culinary world. at 65, he may be the grand old man of spain's new cuisine, but he has the energy and dynamism of a man one-third his age. his quest to reinvent basque cuisine, inspired after attending a short course with french chef paul bocuse in 1976, has led him on a boundary-busting journey of discovery involving new techniques and unusual ingredients. together with his talented daughter elena, he continues that work today, a 'flavour lab', or test kitchen, above his restaurant attesting to his ambition to experiment and discover.
a chef whose genial reputation precedes him, tetsuya wakuda sums up his modus operandi with humility: "i made a lot of things up and, luckily, people like the way it tasted." that, however, hardly begins to explain the rise of a visionary who can hold his own among the world's most outrageous culinary pace-setters.
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