The World's 50 Best Restaurants
The World's 50 Best Restaurants is produced by British magazine Restaurant based on a poll of international chefs, restaurateurs, gourmands and restaurant critics. In addition to the main ranking, the Chef's Choice list is based on votes from the fifty head chefs from the restaurants on the previous year's list. The top restaurants are often forerunners of molecular gastronomy. Most of the restaurants serve haute cuisine.
The first place on the list has been dominated by elBulli and Noma. In 2002 and 2006–2009, elBulli was determined to be the world's best restaurant, winning more times than any other restaurant. In 2010, Noma received the first place award. It was maintained in 2011 and again in 2012. After defending its title for the third time, chef Rene Redzepi said that 1,204 customers were wait-listed for the evening, compared to 14 customers from two years before. In March 2012 a rival guide was launched by US based private jet magazine Elite Traveler which was compiled through votes from the magazine's readers. This guide placed Chicago based restaurant Alinea as the number one restaurant in the world and placed Noma at a controversial 24th.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled from the votes of the "World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy", a group of 27 panels established to make the ranking. The world is divided into regions, with a chairperson in each region appointed for their knowledge of their part of the restaurant world. These chairs each selected a voting panel of 30 members, who cast a total of 5,859 votes.
There is no list of nominees; each member of the international voting panel votes for their own personal choice of 5 restaurants. To ensure that there are winners from many regions, they may vote for up to two restaurants in their own region, the remaining votes must be cast outside their home region. Nobody is allowed to vote for their own restaurant, and voters must have eaten in the restaurants they nominate within the past 18 months – although it is not possible to ensure that they have.
The criteria are different from those of the Michelin Guide or other guides, which has allowed restaurants like Momofuku Ssam Bar, Asador Etxebarri and St. John to hold their own among the molecular or traditional cuisine of restaurants like The Fat Duck to Les Ambassadeurs to The French Laundry.
The list has been criticised; writing in The Guardian in 2003 Matthew Fort described the list as "humbug". The French food writer and critic François-Régis Gaudry mentions the lack of reliability of this ranking, while the Spanish chef Martín Berasategui spoke of "rigged" ranking, manipulated by an "important international food company" in order to "cause damage" to the Michelin guide.
First place restaurants by year 
- 2013 El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Catalonia, Spain
- 2012 Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
- 2011 Noma
- 2010 Noma
- 2009 elBulli, Roses, Catalonia, Spain
- 2008 elBulli
- 2007 elBulli
- 2006 elBulli
- 2005 The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire, England
- 2004 The French Laundry, Yountville (Napa Valley), California, US
- 2003 The French Laundry
- 2002 El Bulli
Chef's Choice restaurants by year 
- 2013: Alinea, USA (15)
- 2012: Mugaritz, Spain (3)
- 2011: Osteria Francescana, Italy (4)
- 2010: The Fat Duck, UK (3)
- 2009: Noma, Denmark (3)
- 2008: Mugaritz, Spain (4)
- 2007: The Fat Duck, UK (2)
- 2006: Pierre Gagnaire, France (3)
- 2005: elBulli, Spain (2)
- 2004: Tetsuya's, Australia (19)
Other 2012 awards 
- La Grenouillere, France – "One to Watch" award. Overall it placed at #81.
- Elena Arzak from the Arzak restaurant, Spain – Veuve Clicquot World's Best Female Chef.
- Thomas Keller from the French Laundry, US – S. Pellegrino Lifetime Achievement Award.
- "Spain's El Bulli named best restaurant in world". The Economic Times. India. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- Richard Vines (30 April 2012). "Noma Keeps World’s Best Restaurant Title, Fat Duck Sinks". Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- World's 50 Best Restaurants: Academy
- Fort, Matthew (2003-04-29). "Questionable taste". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-04-02.
- (Spanish) http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2012/05/02/paisvasco/1335987912_360246.html.
- Restaurant, Osteria Francescana 2011
- "Noma Keeps World's Best Restaurant Title as Fat Duck Slumps". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 1 May 2012.