If you love to eat out, knowing all about well-known chefs or simply, love food, then following the annual ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ must be on your list. Often dubbed the Oscars of the fine dining world, this year, the event took place in Bilbao (sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna) on June 19 and the acclaimed top prize was reclaimed by Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, a position the restaurant had last held in 2016. Head chef Bottura’s restaurant in Modena, Italy,  is discreet and serves contemporary cuisine, which challenges and reinvents Italian culinary tradition while making use of the finest produce from the Emilia-Romagna region.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants
Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana won the top prize in the World's 50 Best Restaurants 2018
Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana won the top prize in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018

Claiming the second and third sports were  El Celler de Can Roca and Mirazur, respectively.  While the former is the 2015 winner and last year won third place, the latter had been placed fourth in 2017. El Celler de Can Roca is based in Girona, Spain, while Mirazur in Menton, France.

Last year’s winner Eleven Madison Park was bumped to fourth. In this year’s awards, Asia and South America were represented with Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand) taking the fifth spot and Central (Lima, Peru) at No 6. 

Gaggan has been winning the No 1 spot in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for the last four years in a row for his creativity and innovation. However, if you want to eat at this restaurant, you better do it soon as chef Gaggan Anand has pledged to close it down in 2020 after 10 years of service. 

This year’s list included restaurants from 23 countries around the world and features nine new. Six on the list were making their debut and three returned as reentries. 

Spain leads the way with seven restaurants on the list, including three in the top 10 – El Celler de Can Roca (No 2); Mugaritz (No 9) and Asador Etxebarri (No 10). The United States follows close behind with six  while France has five, two in the top 10 – Mirazur (No 3) and Arpège (No 8) in Paris. Italy and the UK each have four restaurants in the list and Peru has three – two in the top 7 alone! Central (No 6) and Maido (No 7) are both in Lima. 

“We applaud all those involved in this list of inspiring restaurants, which is constantly redrawing and reflecting the global gastronomic map. We are also thrilled to see Osteria Francescana return to the top spot in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking this year,” said William Drew, group editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, at the event.

The Chef’s Choice Award, bestowed on an individual believed by their peers to have made the most significant contribution to the industry over the last year, was given to Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, USA (No 12). The award is a testament to Barber’s innovative work and commitment to the debate around food ethics.