For the second consecutive year, The Daily Meal presents its list of the 101 Best Restaurants in Europe, honoring the bounty of fine cuisine that can be found in countries all over the Continent. Our readers have most likely noticed that celebrating the world’s "101 Best Restaurants" has become a trademark feature of The Daily Meal. It started in 2011, with our first list of the 101 Best Restaurants in America, followed in turn by 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World, our inaugural 101 Best Restaurants in Europe, 101 Best Restaurants in Asia, and, most recently, the 101 Best Restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean. Following the success of these compendiums of gastronomic landmarks, we've decided to make all these 101s annual events.
Assembling a list like this is a challenging task. It would have been easy to name 101 really good restaurants in France alone, or Italy, or Spain, or the U.K. — but we wanted to represent as wide a geographical reach as possible, recognizing not just the best in more familiar places, but discovering lesser-known gems in other corners of the region. Thus our initial roster of nominees included some 314 restaurants in 31 countries.
To build this list, we consulted major restaurant guides and websites and gathered hundreds of recommendations from The Daily Meal’s editors, who have traveled and dined extensively around the world. We then converted the list into survey form, arranged by country. This survey went out to our address book of trusted panelists, including restaurant critics, food and lifestyle writers, hospitality business professionals, and bloggers with wide restaurant-going experience, as well as our own staff.
When we collated the results, we had representative establishments from 19 countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Monaco, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, from classic French and traditional Italian to international fusion, were considered. We did not discriminate according to location; no town, island, or enclave was off the table. Price was not considered, though many of these impressive restaurants have equally impressive tabs. Although we took inspiration from the Michelin Guide and other reputable sources, we weren't slaves to their rankings, and many excellent Michelin-starred restaurants have been omitted, while a number of places not singled out for recognition are here. While many of the restaurants on our list are gastronomic palaces, like the superlative Taillevent in Paris, there are also a number of more casual places that reflect the local character, ingredients, and culinary traditions — for instance Fishy Fishy in Kinsale, Ireland, and Da Fiore in Venice, Italy.
While capital cities like London and Paris are well represented, several of our bests are situated in smaller cities and far-flung locales, like Foša in the Croatian port of Zadar, The Yeatman in the Portuguese wine town of Vila Nova de Gaia, and Hof van Cleve in Kruishoutem, Belgium. The United Kingdom claims the most spots on the list with 23 restaurants, 16 of those in the ever-growing culinary capital of London. France tied for first with 23 of its own — four more than in last year's listing — 15 of them in Paris.
Nine restaurants from our recent listing of 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World are honored here, four of which are located in Paris: Restaurant Le Meurice at Le Meurice Hotel, Epicure at Le Bristol, Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, and Le Comptoir at the Hôtel Relais Saint-Germain. Rounding out the list of hotel restaurant honorees who also made the cut here are Anne-Sophie Pic at the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne; El Motel Restaurant at Hotel Empordà in Figueres, Spain; Le Louis XV at Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo; Matsalen at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm; and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.
Any list like this one is bound to stir disagreements among discerning diners. After checking out The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in Europe 2013, share your compliments and critiques in the comments section below — or on Twitter using the hashtag #BestDiningEurope — and let us know what restaurants you think should have been included, or should have been left out.
Assistant editor Haley Willard (@haleywillrd), editorial director Colman Andrews (@Colmanandrews), executive editor Arthur Bovino (@Arthur_Bovino), news editor Jessica Chou (@jesschou), and special contributor Michelle Kiefer (@michellebkiefer) contributed to 101 Best Restaurants in Europe. Elsa Saatela (@elsamaija) is the Travel editor at The Daily Meal.