I don’t usually get all that jazzed about roundups like Restaurant Magazine’s annual list of the world’s top 50 restaurants, which was released this week. We all know that El Bulli is unspeakably incredible, that a meal at Fat Duck is worth hawking your firstborn child for, and that we’ll probably never get in to either place. There aren’t really too many surprises on this list, at least in the top 10 to 20 slots.
But what’s interesting is how loosely the concept world is applied here: Only a handful of the winners—picked by 22 panels of writers, critics, and chefs from 75-odd countries—are located outside of Europe and North America. And there are exactly zero in China or Japan; as Bloomberg.com reports, the panelists anointed the London spots Nobu and Hakkasan the world’s pinnacle of East Asian cuisine. (Perhaps the fact that the chosen Nobu outpost is not the original in New York speaks to a certain bias in the UK-based magazine’s panel selection?)
I’ve never eaten at Bukhara in New Delhi, the lone Asian restaurant on the list (which the Bloomberg writer deems “underwhelming”), but I imagine there have to be some better or at least equally good options somewhere on that continent. Even in the world’s less wealthy countries, there are plenty of higher-end dining experiences to be had, right?