Denmark’s Noma reclaims world’s best restaurant honours

Danish restaurant featuring moss and sea urchin a four-time winner after losing title to Spain's El Celler de Can Roca the previous year

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 9:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 9:39pm


Denmark's Noma restaurant has reclaimed the title of world's best restaurant, becoming a four-time winner after losing the title last year to Spain's El Celler de Can Roca.

The two Michelin star restaurant in Copenhagen, which serves Nordic specialities in a quayside warehouse, topped the World's 50 Best Restaurants list compiled by 900 international experts for Britain's Restaurant magazine.

The restaurant's head chef, Rene Redzepi, paid tribute to his staff, calling them his "inspiration", as he collected the coveted prize.

"I know I'm not always the easiest person to be around," he told guests at London's Guildhall.

"I want to tell you in front of everyone, you guys are my dream team and inspiration. The patience and dedication that you give year in and year out is more than I could have ever hoped for.

"We were the geeks, they gave us funny names. But that didn't bother us, it fuelled us, and look where we are now several years later!"

Despite winning the award for the fourth time, the chef insisted there was more to come.

"We're not at the finish line," he said. "There are still so many discoveries out there, so many recipes to be written."

The best-ranked Hong Kong restaurant was chef Richard Ekkebus' Amber, in 24th place. Noted for dishes like sea urchin in lobster jelly, Amber improved its ranking by 12 places from last year. It was the only Hong Kong restaurant on the top 50 list; none were from the mainland.

There were murmurs in the audience when El Celler de Can Roca was named at number two, losing the crown it seized from Noma for the first time last year.

The restaurant in Girona, run by three brothers and known for its dishes based on perfumes, had previously spent two years as runner-up.

The brothers spoke before the ceremony, revealing that last year's victory had sparked a fresh wave of creativity.

"It's been a magical year, full of projects, emotion, sharing and dreams becoming reality," eldest brother Joan Roca said.

Consolation for the culinary siblings came when Jordi Roca was named Best Pastry Chef in the World.

Foraging restaurant Noma suffered last year after it was forced to apologise for a bout of food poisoning that left 63 customers suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea over a five-day period.

The restaurant, which gets its name from two Danish words, nordisk (Nordic) and mad (food), serves up local fare such as moss, sea urchins and oysters, and is celebrated for its Hen and Eggs dish - quail eggs that are pickled and smoked.

Last month, Noma announced plans to relocate to Japan for two months next year.

Since the awards were established in 2002 only five restaurants have held the title: Spain's El Bulli, in 2002 and from 2006-2009; California's French Laundry in 2003 and 2004; Britain's Fat Duck in 2005; Noma from 2010 to 2012, and El Celler de Can Roca last year.

Redzepi has formerly worked at The French Laundry, El Bulli and The Fat Duck.

Spain again dominated this year's top 10 with Mugaritz in San Sebastian at number six, and Arzak, also in San Sebastian, at number eight.

Seven American restaurants made the top 50, one more than last year, while Gaggan, a modernist Indian restaurant in Bangkok, was the highest new entry at number 17. Another Bangkok eatery, Nahm, was the highest-ranked Asian restaurant at 13.

Lima's Central was the highest climber, moving from 50th place last year to 15th.

Although only 12 years old, the award is beginning to rival the Michelin Guide in influence, helped by its focus on previously unexplored corners of the culinary world.

Although 29 of the awards still went to restaurants in the traditional gastronomic powerhouse of Europe, there were no French restaurants in the top 10, although they did make up 10 percent of the top 50.

Seven of the top 50 restaurants were found in Asia, five in Latin America and one in Africa.


Finest of fare

Top 10 eateries according to Restaurant magazine.

1) Noma - Denmark

2) El Celler de Can Roca - Spain

3) Osteria Francescana - Italy

4) Eleven Madison Park - US

5) Dinner - United Kingdom

6) Mugaritz - Spain

7) D.O.M. - Brazil

8) Arzak - Spain

9) Alinea - U.S.

10) The Ledbury - U.K.