All of the food world’s finest were in Bilbao, Spain, on June 19 to watch the 16th annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants be announced. British TV presenter Mark Durden-Smith, who hosted the event, revealed that the Basque Country event was officially the largest gathering of the global culinary community in the world. Although 50 different restaurants earned spots on the list, the No. 1 honor was given to Osteria Francescana as the world’s best restaurant for 2018.
Massimo Bottura accepted the award for the three-Michelin-star restaurant in Modena, Italy, saying, “This is amazing. This is something that we built all together, we all did together these things, and I’m not going to disappoint you. I am going to show the world that chefs in 2018, they are much more than the sum of their recipes. We can have a very loud voice of change if we stay together.”
The Modena-born chef opened Osteria Francescana in 1995, and it has been in the top 5 of the global list since 2010. The restaurant features modernistic, progressive Italian cuisine which reimagines traditional dishes in extraordinary and delicious ways. As The New Yorker's Jane Kramer describes him: "Bottura is one of a small, far-flung brotherhood of exceptionally gifted and inventive chefs who have deconstructed, distilled, concentrated, and, with uncommon respect, reconstructed the flavors of their own traditional cuisines."
Notable winners of the night included Cape Town’s The Test Kitchen, London’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Chicago’s Alinea, Singapore’s Odette, and New York’s Le Bernardin. Eleven Madison Park, which was last year’s No. 1 restaurant in the world, sank to No. 4 but maintained its title of best restaurant in North America. The full list of winners can be viewed on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants website.
An unprecedented 49 of the 50 restaurants who made the list had representatives show up at the event, sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, to receive the prestigious accolade, which is decided upon by an academy of over 1,000 people. The ceremony took a moment to honor the recently departed chef and travel show host Anthony Bourdain as well as two other chefs who passed away this year, Gualtiero Marchesi and Paul Bocuse.
The rest of the lengthy list, ranks 51 through 100 of the World’s Best Restaurants, were announced June 12 and included U.S. gems like New York’s Le Coucou and Per Se as well as Benu in San Francisco. You can check out The Daily Meal’s list of the 101 best restaurants in America for 2018, here.