Must-visit destinations for gourmet travellers…
Globe-trotting foodies need look no further; I’ve data-crunched my way through the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and worked out which are the tastiest countries on the planet right now. Here are the top five places to visit to satisfy an appetite for experiential dining…
3= UK (6)
With six entries among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the UK, or more specifically London should be on your to-do list. The British capital plays host to three restaurants in the top 50: number 45, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental, one of the most decadent places to stay in London; number 26, The Clove Club in fashionable Shoreditch, an early adopter of the pre-pay concept that some high-end restaurants are now electing to use (a bit like buying a ticket to gig); and holding onto the UK top slot, The Ledbury at number 14.
From 51 to 100, there’s offal specialist St John (91); new entry in 2016, Lyle’s (66); and Hedone (60) with its fabulous food and famously grumpy head chef.
3= Japan (6)
Japan also has six World’s Best Restaurants entries, but only two are in the top 50: Narisawa at number eight and at 31 Nihonryori Ryugin, where I first discovered the delicacy monkfish liver. I’ve never had the fortune of seeing it on another menu since. Other than Quintessence in Osaka, all Japan’s other listed restaurants are in Tokyo, so that’s where to book your ticket to.
2= France (10)
Paris hosts eight of the 10 restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, but the highest-ranking one is Mirazur in Menton on the French Riviera, kissing the border of Italy. It’s known for its annual Lemon Festival, held every February since 1934, which attracts 230,000 visitors who come to look at 145 tonnes of citrus fruit modelled into the world’s most famous landmarks, icons and characters. Juicy!
2= Spain (10)
Spain has the highest concentration of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, from El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, number one in 2015, now at number two, to Quique Dacosta in Denia at 49. Over 50, there’s the Nerua (55) at the striking Guggenheim Bilbao, the amazing Martin Berasategui (59, but should be much higher, in my view), and Diverxo (79).
Six of these venues – Nerua, Martin Berasategui, Arzak (21), Azurmendi (16), Asador Etxebarri (10) and Mugaritz (a controversial seventh place ranking that gets very mixed reviews) – all fit into one nice little itinerary spanning neighbouring Bilboa and San Sebastian in Northern Spain, and can be packed into one week or enjoyed a little more leisurely over two. Stay posted for the Worldiner Northern Spain Eatinerary – coming soon!
1 USA (15)
Wave the Star-Spangled Banner in the air, let off some fireworks, scream a few yee-ha’s! America is our winner, way out in the lead with 15 establishments nabbing a place on the World’s Best Restaurants list.
New York is the city break to take to hit eight of the 15 venues, with the phenomenal Eleven Madison Park taking third place on the list. Almost all the others are on the West Coast where a road trip from Yountville to San Fran, taking in a few vineyard tours along the way, is the trip of a lifetime. ✪
Image credit: Menton Lemon Festival by Bohyunlee, courtesy of wikimedia.org