British magazine Restaurant has been creating a run-down of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, since 2002. Sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna and voted for by the Diners Club World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, it has become as prestigious as the Michelin Guide. While, like the music charts, restaurants can go up and down the pecking order, the list below are all worthy of a visit, whether near the top or the bottom or fluctuating in position.
Errenteria, a 20-minute drive from San Sebastián in northern Spain, is the home of Mugaritz, currently seventh on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. It’s a playful palate-teaser of a place, riffing brilliantly on Basque Country‘s culinary traditions. Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz uses only local ingredients to startling effect – crab served on a frozen tongue, anyone? The setting is comfortingly traditional, in a Basque country house with warm wooden walls and open beams..
With marine blue views across the Cote d’Azur, Mirazur draws praise for dishes such as salt-crusted beetroot served with caviar cream. In the dreamy coastal setting of Menton, with soft-cream interiors, Mirazur is steered by Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco, who adds something of his homeland into contemporary French cooking, flaunting three Michelin stars for his efforts. This is the finest restaurant in France, according to the Restaurant list 2020, with an organic garden attached that provides inspiration and produce for the dishes.
Mountain trout seasoned with lime salt and char-cooked in hot beeswax. It’s all par for the (main) course at this mirror-fronted, futuristic fine-dining restaurant overlooking the river Wien in the Austrian capital. Heinz Reitbauer took over his family’s restaurant in 2005 and has turned it into the finest dining establishment in Austria, with two Michelin stars. Trained under culinary giants of the Joël Robuchon/Anton Mosimann order, Reitbauer presents a menu heavily influenced by the flavours and produce of the Styrian region, which translates perfectly to Steiereck’s leafy location in the Stadtpark, Vienna.
Azurmendi is worth visiting for the building alone – a glass-walled, stone-floored sensation on a hillside in the Basque Country, amid lush foliage and gnarled trees. Eco-credentials are in place: geothermal energy is used, rainwater reused. The marriage of modern technology and traditional cuisine has earned three Michelin stars; avant garde dishes are so preciously created that ultrasound scans judge the texture. The tasting menu is in sections, from the starter Welcome Picnic with smoked-fish brioche to the finale (dessert) with black olives and cocoa.
Forget fuddy-duddy notions at this 15th-century restaurant with rooms, set in a North Wales country retreat once owned by Queen Victoria – chances are, you’ll be dining to the beat of The Prodigy or the Arctic Monkeys. On the edge of Snowdonia National Park, it attracts guests as much for its menus as its bedrooms. Chef Gareth Ward has one Michelin star but can expect at least one more for his original 19-course tasting menu mixing Japanese flavours and Welsh produce: sample his signature Welsh Wagyu beef. The experience lasts four hours, as you savour the fruits of his techniques, from ageing, pickling and foraging to salting and preserving.