The world has not one new best restaurant, but seven.
That’s according to La Liste, one of a crowded field of companies publishing restaurant ratings that are increasingly used by diners who travel around the world in search of culinary excellence.
Unlike some other companies that dole out stars or crown the No 1 restaurant in the world, La Liste compiles scores based on online reviews from casual diners and influencers, magazine and newspaper ratings, and scores from guides and other lists. The more than 1,000 sources include online travel guides, the food publisher Eater and the Black Pearl guide by Meituan Dianping in China.
“We believe by aggregating these subjective choices, reviews and critics, we end up with a ranking that is a bit more objective,” said La Liste MD Hélène Pietrini.
The list’s system assigns scores to restaurants in half-point increments up to 99.5, meaning many restaurants end up tied with the same numerical ranking.
The seven restaurants that received the top score of 99.5 included two repeats from last year: Le Bernardin in New York City and Guy Savoy in Paris. (Earlier this year, the restaurant made headlines when it lost its three Michelin star status.) Sushi Saito in Tokyo and La Vague d’Or in Saint-Tropez, France, inched up from No 2 to join the top group. The remaining three were L’Enclume in the UK’s Lake District, Schwarzwaldstube in Germany’s Black Forest and Lung King Heen in Hong Kong.
Pietrini, who previously was director of the World’s 50 Best restaurant list, said that while she respects the various methodologies used by different companies, she thinks consumers benefit from having multiple sources of information and not necessarily just one restaurant that’s universally declared best in the world. “In the end, the consumer is not stupid,” she said. “There is not one best, one unique restaurant that is best at one time, one day, one year. The notion of best is a bit more complex.”
Based on La Liste’s computations, 17 restaurants received the No 2 score of 99; 26 clocked in with 98.5 and 31 spots achieved the No. 4 score of 98. La Liste publishes a list of the top 1,000 restaurants but includes scores for even more in its app.
“One striking trend is that Asia is back,” Pietrini said, reflecting a part of the world that has more or less fully re-opened after the Covid-19 pandemic. Of this year’s top thousand restaurants, 139 were in Japan and 76 in mainland China, while 25 were in Hong Kong, 14 in Macao and seven in Taiwan. The US and France took 106 spots each.
The number of both high- and low-end places that continue to close is notable to Pietrini. It shows the ongoing impact that inflation and rising costs are having
on restaurants, at a time when customers have less disposable income, said La Liste editor and co-founder Joerg Zipprick. Notable restaurants that have announced closures include Le Gavroche in London, Deanes Eipic in Belfast, and Ernst in Berlin, not to mention the world-famous Noma, are “testifying to the considerable impact on upscale dining establishments”, he said. Restaurants that serve traditional, classic and terroir cuisine tend to survive best during these times, he said. “Periods of prosperity are more conducive to avant-garde gastronomy.” He added: “today’s public is looking for comfort food.”
La Liste is a relative newcomer on the ranking scene, producing its first list in 2015. The company this year branched into hotel rankings, crowning the Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Italy as the best in the world. Michelin, on the other hand, started awarding stars in 1926 to restaurants listed in its guide, with the aim of facilitating road trips and promoting its tyre business. And UK publisher William Reed Ltd has been producing its list of the World’s 50 Best restaurants since 2002; more recently it has added best hotels, as well as global and regional best bars lists. — Bloomberg