Chinese restaurants rise in French listing

AFP
China and Japan have more of the world's best restaurants than anywhere else, according to the La Liste ranking to be published next week.
AFP

China and Japan have more of the world’s best restaurants than anywhere else, according to the La Liste ranking to be published next week.

Although the French-based list will declare Guy Savoy’s flagship Paris riverside restaurant the best in the world for the second year running — and French cooking dominates the top 100 — the big trend is the rise of Chinese haute cuisine.

“The rise and rise of China is the big story,” said Jorg Zipprick, who crunched the numbers for the “guide of guides” set up as a “more scientific and reliable” rival three years ago to the British-based 50 Best Restaurants.

Japan still tops the country table with 138 restaurants in the top 1,000 of the French classification — which aggregates reviews from guides, newspapers and websites — but China is closing the gap fast with 123.

“Up to now China has been one of the most difficult countries to get data from,” Zipprick said, but a boom in local gastronomic guides has changed all that.

“Asia has a lot more restaurants than Europe and it is only logical that La Liste will reflect that,” he added.

Tokyo institution Kyubey, whose sushi is renowned for being both “extraordinary and reasonably priced,” took third spot after Le Bernardin, a New York fish restaurant run by Emmy award-winning US television chef Eric Ripert.

Two other restaurants in the Japanese capital made the top 20, the tiny Kyo Aji and French chef Joel Robuchon’s plush dining room in a reconstructed French chateau.

A favorite of Chairman Mao

They were followed by the highest-placed Chinese restaurant, the Huai Yang Fu at Andingmen in Beijing — whose speciality is a roast pork dish that was a favorite of Chairman Mao Zedong.

While there is no dramatic change at the top of the list, there are three newcomers to the top 10, including The French Laundry, a former saloon in California’s Napa Valley which “Kitchen Confidential” author Anthony Bourdain has called “the best restaurant in the world, period.”

It shared a mark of 99 out of 100 with La Vague d’Or in Saint Tropez and Martin Berasategui’s restaurant in the village of Lasarte in Spain’s Basque country.

Another of the big climbers was Aponiente at the other end of Spain, where diners cleanse their palates with a plankton sorbet.

The Andalusian fish specialist in El Puerto de Santa Maria jumped 200 places on the back of getting a third Michelin star.

For the first time a Canadian restaurant, Alo in Toronto, entered the top 100, while Turkish chef Aylin Yazicioglu made the grade for her highly-rated Istanbul restaurant, Nicole.

New York’s Eleven Madison Park, which was first in the 50 Best Restaurants ranking in 2017, made La Liste’s top five.

La Liste’s aggregator of the 1,000 top-rated restaurants in the world is modelled on the world tennis rankings and the ShanghaiRanking for universities.

While Japan, China, France and the United States top the league for having the highest number of best restaurants, Switzerland with 38 for a population of eight million, has the highest per capita rating.

Zipprick said its database now includes 16,000 eateries across the world which it classifies from haute cuisine to lower-priced “Food Gems.”

Superstar chef Gordon Ramsay’s flagship London restaurant remained the highest-rated British table, pipping L’Enclume, which operates in a former blacksmith’s forge in Cumbria, northwest England.

This year’s winners will be formally announced at a banquet in Paris next Monday.


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