World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021: full list - and which UK ones were included, from The Clove Club to Lyle’s

The best restaurant in the world was crowned at a lavish ceremony in Belgium on 5 October. Which restaurant came out on top?

Copenhagen is probably best known for The Little Mermaid statue and its globally renowned museums.

But Denmark’s capital has also been developing a reputation as a key world foodie capital.

On 5 October 2021, two restaurants in the city - Noma and Geranium - took home gongs for the best and second-best restaurants in the world respectively at the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards.

Noma - the world’s ‘best restaurant’

Noma, a previous version of which won the competition in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, made it to the top spot this year thanks to head chef René Redzepi and his team’s “unerring focus on unusual seasonal ingredients”, according to the judging panel.

Its seasonal menu, which operates in three phases - seafood in the winter,

vegetables in the summer, and game and forest in the autumn - has its ingredients foraged locally.

These are then “brought to life in creative and complex ways on the plate”, the judges said.

The award’s director of content, William Drew, described the restaurant as “the most influential of its generation”, and said it had set “new standards in terms of research and ingredient sourcing, dish development and presentation.”

Those able to secure a reservation at Noma will have to shell out 2,800 Danish Krone (£320) for its current Autumn menu.

The best of the rest

Second-placed Geranium was described as where “food meets art” by the awards panel and was praised for taking seasonal menus “to the next level”.

The top-three was rounded off by Spanish restaurant Asador Etxebarri, which is run by Victor Arguinzoniz who took home the award for best chef as voted for by his peers.

Two London restaurants also made it into the top-50. Shoreditch-based eateries The Clove Club and Lyle’s came 32nd and 33rd respectively.

The Clove Club is run by Scottish chef Isaac McHale, who previously trained at Noma, and offers modern British cuisine that was described by the 50 Best judges as “refreshing and full of surprises”.

It was said to offer a “relaxed East London vibe” in a blue-tiled dining room and will set you back £145 for a full tasting menu or £95 for a shorter one.

Lyle’s, which is situated further down Shoreditch High Street in a former Lipton Tea factory, was said to have a “micro-seasonal” menu that showcases “what’s best on any given day in London and the UK”, according to the awards panel.

The restaurant’s dinner menu costs £79, with a lunch set-menu weighing in at £30 per head.

Noma head chef René Redzepi (centre) with Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur (right), the previous winner of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (image: Jonas Roosens/AFP/Getty)Noma head chef René Redzepi (centre) with Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur (right), the previous winner of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (image: Jonas Roosens/AFP/Getty)
Noma head chef René Redzepi (centre) with Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur (right), the previous winner of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (image: Jonas Roosens/AFP/Getty)

The full list:

1. Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)

2. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)

3. Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain)

4. Central (Lima, Peru)

5. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain)

6. Frantzen (Stockholm, Sweden)

7. Maido (Lima, Peru)

8. Odette (Singapore)

9. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)

10. The Chairman (Hong Kong, China)

11. Den (Tokyo, Japan)

12. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)

13. Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

14. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)

15. Lido 84 (Gardone Riviera, Italy)

16. Elkano (Getaria, Spain)

17. A Casa do Porco (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

18. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)

19. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

20. Diverxo (Madrid, Spain)

21. Hisa Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)

22. Cosme (New York City, USA)

23. Arpege (Paris, France)

24. Septime (Paris, France)

25. White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)

26. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)

27. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)

28. Benu (San Francisco, USA)

29. Reale (Castel di Sangro, Italy)

30. Twins Garden (Moscow, Russia)

31. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)

32. The Clove Club (London, UK)

33. Lyle’s (London, UK)

34. Burnt Ends (Singapore)

35. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai, China)

36. Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)

37. SingleThread (Healdsburg, California, USA)

38. Borago (Santiago, Chile)

39. Florilege (Tokyo, Japan)

40. Suhring (Bangkok, Thailand)

41. Alleno Paris au Pavillion Ledoyen (Paris, France)

42. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)

43. Atomix (New York City, USA)

44. Le Bernardin (New York City, USA)

45. Nobelhart & Schmutzig (Berlin, Germany)

46. Leo (Bogotá, Colombia)

47. Maaemo (Oslo, Norway)

48. Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, USA)

49. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)

50. Wolfgat (Paternoster, South Africa)

How voting works

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants was decided by a panel of more than 1,000 food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and international culinary experts.

Known as the “academy”, this panel has a 50/50 gender split and is adjudicated by major accountancy firm Deloitte.

2021’s list of the planet’s top-50 was created in a different way to previous incarnations of the awards due to the pandemic.

As the awards did not take place in 2020, the votes the panel cast in 2020 were combined with a “voting refresh” that took place in March 2021.

Each voter was given the chance to update their 2020 selections based only on restaurant experiences in their own region.

The organisers said this system reflected “the increased importance of local dining” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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