San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2009

Published by RESTAURANT MAGAZINE in London, this yearly list provides a pretty good snapshot of where the top toques are worldwide — although we’re more than a bit steamed that Joel Robuchon at the MGM didn’t crack the Top 100 this year. But he did receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from San Pellegrino and the magazine, so we suppose that’s something of a consolation prize for both him and our humble burg.

ELV is on the (very exclusive if we do say so ourselves) voting panel for these honors, and have heard all of the criticisms over the years, but do our level best to follow the rules (even if others don’t), and only vote for places we’ve visited.

The asterisks “*” denote restaurants ELV has dined in (11 in the top 50, and 19 out of the top 100).

The inclusion of Momofuku Ssam Bar at #31 is either someone’s idea of a joke, or a recognition of David Chang’s cutting-edge cuisine (served amidst extremely modest surroundings)…You Make The Call!
The San Pellegrino World’s

50 Best Restaurants 2009

1 El Bulli Spain (=)

2 The Fat Duck UK (=)

3 Noma Denmark (▲7)

4 Mugaritz Spain (=)

5 El Celler de Can Roca Spain (▲21)

6 Per Se USA (=)

7 Bras France (=) www.

8 Arzak Spain (=)

*9 Pierre Gagnaire France (▼6)

10 Alinea USA (▲11)

11 L’Astrance France (=)

*12 The French Laundry USA (▼7)

13 Osteria Francescana Italy (New Entry)

14 St John UK (▲2)

*15 Le Bernardin USA (▲5)

16 Restaurant de l’HÔtel de Ville Switzerland (▲11)

17 Tetsuya’s Australia (▼8) www.

*18 L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon France (▼4)

*19 Jean Georges USA (▼2)

20 Les Créations de Narisawa Japan (New Entry)

21 Chez Dominique Finland (▲18)

*22 Ristorante Cracco Italy (▲21)

23 Die Schwarzwaldstube Germany (▲12)

24 D.O.M. Brazil (▲16)

25 Vendôme Germany (▲9)

26 Hof van Cleve Belgium (▲2)

*27 Masa USA (Re-entry)

*28 Gambero Rosso Italy (▼16) Tel +39 (0)56570 1021

29 Oud Sluis Netherlands (▲13)

30 Steirereck Austria (New Entry)

*31 Momofuku Ssäm Bar USA (New Entry)

32 Oaxen Skärgårdskrog Sweden (▲16)

33 Martin Berasategui Spain (▼4)

34 Nobu UK (▼4)

35 Mirazur France (New Entry)

36 Hakkasan UK (▼17)

37 Le Quartier Français South Africa (▲13)

38 La Colombe South Africa (Re-entry)

39 Asador Etxebarri Spain (▲5)

40 Le Chateaubriand France (New Entry) tel +33 (0)1 43574595

*41 Daniel USA (=)

42 Combal Zero Italy (Re-entry)

43 Le Louis XV France (▼28)

44 Tantris Germany (▲3)

45 Iggy’s Singapore (New Entry)

46 Quay Australia (New Entry)

*47 Les Ambassadeurs France (▼2)

*48 Dal Pescatore Italy (▼25)

49 Le Calandre Italy (▼13)

50 Mathias Dahlgren Sweden (New Entry)

6 thoughts on “San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2009

  1. I’m not sure what the crack about Ssam Bar means. Does a restaurant have to be fancy to make a list. I certainly think the food is better at Ssam Bar than at Daniel, where you’ve also eaten, albeit not in as elegant a setting.

  2. The Ssam bar is a great restaurant, as is Daniel, comparing them is indeed like comparing apples and oranges. Both are completely satisfying yet polar opposites. The common factor – they provide guests with what they crave the moment the step in the door and that is thoughtful and delicious food. I agree that Robuchon in Vegas should be there, but I also think that Rao’s should be there, again for very different reasons.

  3. You are right, I have heard many that vote do not actually follow the voting guidelines. It is difficult enough to define “best” without the addition of self interests. Another flaw to this is that most of these restaurants are in cities that are major hubs; there is no “diamond in the rough” to speak of from a smaller city or rural area.

  4. Any lists like this are inherently obnoxious, just like those “50 hottest people” or “Sexiest Men Alive” lists. (I always want to say, really? does that include living men without publicists?)

    I have had remarkable meals in all kinds of places, many of which were not at all run by “famous” chefs. And while anyone with any experience knows that, despite Vegas’ exploding food pedigree, it still isn’t quite as exceptional as it wants to be…none the less, to have no Vegas representation on this list smacks of xenephobia.

  5. How about the list of top Chef’s that pretend to cook at their restaurants, but are busy cashing checks at the bank?

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