Europe leads world cuisine in top 50 restaurant list

Yesterday's announcement of the San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants saw Europe continue its history of culinary dominance, with a range of innovative new eateries in Denmark, Spain, Italy and France ensuring foodies will continue to flock to the Continent this year.

Copenhagen's Noma restaurant took the top spot for the second time in a row in this year's list, chosen by a panel of 30 jurors across the international food industry, including journalists, restaurateurs, chefs and food lovers. Spanish restaurants El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, and Mugaritz in the far northern Basque region of Gipuzkoa, came second and third respectively.

The World's 50 Best is gradually taking over the Michelin star system as the international seal of approval for world-class restaurants, with more modern and innovative cuisine particularly being recognised. Claude Bosi, head chef at 43rd-ranked restaurant Hibiscus in London, told the New York Times bookings skyrocketed after his restaurant first made the list last year. "Business after the awards was, like, stupid", he said. "Until then, we would be pretty dead during the summer because all the locals go out of town. But we were full of tourists, lots of people from Asia."

Italy, the UK and France were other culinary stalwarts to make the list's top 10 – Massimo Bottura's left-field Modena eatery, Osteria Francescana, gained fourth place, up two positions from last year, while Heston Blumenthal's famed Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire slipped a couple of places to number 5. Trendy Paris eatery Le Chateaubriand, famed for its informal, relaxed atmosphere in defiance of more traditional French dining, gained two spots, coming in at ninth place.

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