After 13 years of announcing their annual list in London, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for 2018 was unveiled in Bilbao, Spain, last night. A body of 1040 expert judges made up of chefs, food writers and gourmets from 26 regions of the world assessed over 1000 dining spaces in order to compile the year’s definitive rankings, of which we’ve featured the top five; you can read a full list of recommendations here.

The winner is: Osteria Francescana − Modena, Italy

Hearty congratulations go to proprietor Massimo Bottura for Osteria Francescana’s second appearance in the top slot − the first was in 2016. A relatively small establishment in the modest Italian town of Modena, Osteria draws its creative inspiration from art and music (particularly jazz), transforming ingredients from the surrounding Emilia-Romagna region into plates of art with local stories to tell. Shown here is the tasting menu (photograph by Paolo Terzi).

No. 2: El Celler de Can Roca − Girona, Spain

The runner-up is El Celler de Can Roca, the brainchild of three brothers Roca − chef Joan, sommelier Josep and pastry chef Jordi. Previously twiced ranked No.1 on the list, El Celler’s innovative menu offers a wealth of classic Catalan ingredients served with innovative and creative techniques, supercharged by the extraordinary accompanying wine menu. Pictured above is Ostra (oysters) al Albariño.

No. 3: Mirazur − Menton, France

Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea an hour’s drive from Nice, Mirazur takes its culinary vision from its idyllic surroundings − the exquisitely prepared dishes feature fresh fish and seafood, and vegetables from the nearby market at Ventmiglia or harvested directly from Argentinian chef patron Mauro Colagreco’s own backyard farm. Pictured is a salad of green beans, cherries and pistachios.

No. 4: Eleven Madison Park− New York, USA

Helmed by chef/co-owner Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park was last year’s winner. It spent a good portion of this year undergoing a renovation, so expect to see a higher ranking for 2019. Acclaimed, at least, as the best restaurant in North America, Eleven serves simple yet stunning creations − including a savoury cheesecake piled with caviar. Pictured is a more traditional cheesecake, with raspberry vinegar snow, assorted berries and ice cream.

No. 5: Gaggan − Bangkok, Thailand

Kolkatan-born chef Gaggan Anand may have started out serving traditional Indian cuisine, but he’s gone on to create dishes that are anything but. With diner experience at the forefront, avant-garde plates range from Mexican-inspired taco bites to Japanese-Indian sushi. Travellers, please note: this essential dining destination for anyone visiting Bangkok comes with an expiration date as Anand plans to close Gaggan in 2020. Pictured is the chef’s signature ‘Yoghurt Explosion’ amuse-bouche.

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