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Noma Scores With a Third Win as the World’s Best Restaurant

René Redzepi and his team raised the roof at the 10th anniversary of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, as Denmark’s Noma was named no. 1 for the third year in a row.

The standard bearer for the New Nordic movement, Redzepi’s meticulous attention to detail and innovative approach to foraging has enabled Noma to maintain its position at the coveted top spot of the list, which is widely considered the highlight of the global dining calendar.

Strong European presence

Europe retains a strong presence on the list, with France hosting 7 restaurants; 5 of which are in the top 20.New for this year was the inclusion of the Slow Food UK Award, sponsored by Highland Park single malt whisky. The award, which champions chefs and restaurants that support small scale producers and sustainably sourced, quality produce, was presented to Steirereck from Vienna, Austria.

Spain holds 5 spots on the list including Arzak at no. 8, whose Joint Head Chef Elena Arzak Espina was awarded the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef award. The Chefs' Choice award, sponsored by Silestone, was presented to Andoni Luis Aduriz of Spain’s Mugaritz, which held its place at no.3. It is hard to stand out from the crowd in San Sebastián, often touted as the ultimate destination for foodies, but Aduriz has managed it and the restaurant has risen from the ashes of a fire 2 years ago to surpass its former stature.

La Grenouillère in La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil received the 2012 One To Watch accolade. Chef-patron Alexandre Gauthier took the reins of the restaurant in northern France from his father back in 2003 when he was just 24. His decidedly different cuisine délurée now excites critics the world over.

Placed at no. 81 the restaurant's confident and sometimes rebellious cooking is indicative of a chef with great trust in his own palate.

Great year for Sweden

Last year’s One To Watch, Frantzén/Lindeberg, based in Stockholm, lived up to expectations and rose 37 places to join the list at no. 20. It is a great year for Sweden in general with another new entry on the list in the form of Fäviken at no. 34 and a re-entry for Mathias Dahlgren at no. 41.

The British contingent of the list also has plenty to celebrate with Dinner by Heston Blumenthal shooting straight in at no.9 to take the Highest New Entry award, sponsored by Les Concierges, as well as establishing itself as Britain’s highest placed restaurant. Heston Blumenthal’s historically influenced British cooking has proved hugely popular with both the British and international judging panels.

Brett Graham’s Notting Hill establishment, The Ledbury, which was last year’s Highest New Entry, rose an impressive 20 places to no. 14, taking the Highest Climber award, sponsored by Cacao Barry.

Hof Van Cleve in Belgium at nº42 , De Librije in The Netherlands at nº46, Geranium in Copenhagen at nº49 are an additional value to the other European Restaurants on the list strengthening the gastronomy scene in Europe.

The Americas

South America confirmed its standing on the list with 4 restaurants spanning Mexico, Peru and Brazil, whose São Paolo establishment D.O.M, run by ex-DJ Alex Atala, rose 3 places to enter the top 5 at no.4 and claim the Best Restaurant in South America title.

The USA boasts 8 restaurants in the list this year, the highest of which is New York based Per Se, owned by legendary chef Thomas Keller, who was rewarded with the Best Restaurant in North America and a Lifetime Achievement accolade after spending each of the past 10 years of the awards on the list under one guise or another. His original Californian restaurant, The French Laundry, which held the top spot for two years (2003-04), has also re-entered the list this year at no. 43.

6 restaurants from Asia

With 6 restaurants on the list, the Asian contingent has secured its position on the gastronomic map and the event organiser took the opportunity to announce the launch of the new Asia's 50 Best Restaurants awards at the ceremony, which will be held in Singapore in February 2013. The awards, which are also sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, are welcomed by top chefs from the continent including Ignatius Chan from Iggy’s in Singapore, who took the Best Restaurant in Asia title at no. 26. He said, “Asia has a long culinary history and we offer a deep, diverse and rich gastronomic landscape. Asia's 50 Best Restaurants is a fantastic platform to educate and showcase some of the greatest Asian restaurants to the world.”

Editor of Restaurant magazine, William Drew, commented, “A specially convened judging panel assessed the restaurants in the top 50 based on the principles of the Slow Food movement – locality, heritage, sustainability and the revival of forgotten foods – and Heinz Reitbauer's Steirereck in Vienna came out on top. Situated in Vienna's central city park, it is remarkable for its commitment to indigenous sourcing, the use of historic ingredients and recipes and the promotion of sustainability across the food chain.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons