El Bulli keeps world's best restaurant accolade

Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:30pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Spain's El Bulli restaurant held onto its place as the top restaurant in the world, according to the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants 2009 compiled by Restaurant Magazine.

For the fourth year in a row, El Bulli head chef Ferran Adria was voted top by a panel of 806 chefs, critics and industry experts worldwide, while British chef Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck kept second place.

"Below these perennial favorites however, it's all change," the magazine said.

Copenhagen's Noma restaurant with its youthful head chef Rene Redzepi ranked third. Noma, which rose seven places, also took this year's Chef's Choice Award.

Last month, after all the votes had been counted and the top 50 restaurants established, the head chefs of these extraordinary establishments were asked to nominate the restaurant which they considered to be the best in the world. It is the ultimate honor Redzepi's peers can bestow.

Last year's Chef's Choice restaurant, Mugaritz, held onto its highest ever position at number 4, while another Spanish restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca, rose a staggering 21 places to fifth, making it 2009's highest climber.

Spain can claim more restaurants at the very top echelons of the list than any other country, with Arzak in eighth position.

Thomas Keller's New York restaurant Per Se grabbed sixth spot and with The French Laundry also well placed on the list, this year, Keller is the only restaurateur with two restaurants in the top 50.

Family business, Bras, headed by chef Michel Bras was the highest placed French restaurant at seven. France's culinary heritage and mastery continues to draw in a wealth of admirers from across the globe as it ties with the United States to score the highest number of restaurants on the list -- each has eight in the top 50.   Continued...

<p>Spanish chef Ferran Adria addresses the audience during the Madrid Fusion 5th International Summit of Gastronomy in Madrid in this January 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Victor Fraile/Files</p>