It’s that time of year: On Tuesday, June 20th, the folks behind the World’s 50 Best will once again try to sum up the best of the entire globe’s culinary output in a ranked listicle. Here’s what you need to know.
What to expect from the World’s 50 Best 2023:
There will be a new No. 1 restaurant. In 2019, the organization announced a rule change that after a restaurant ascends to the No. 1 spot, it becomes ineligible and is removed from the list in future years (except for 2021, in which Noma clinched the top honors because it was operating in a new location).
While that means each year there’s the guaranteed excitement of a new number one, in some ways it creates less drama. In 2019, Mirazur took top honors; it was the highest-ranked non-previous winner of the 2018 list, at No. 3 then. In 2022, Geranium took the top honors, after ranking No. 2 on the 2021 list. That means the likely winner for the 2023 list seems to be Central, last year’s number two. While that would be exciting for the firsts it would represent in the list — first restaurant in Peru to hold top slot, actually first restaurant outside of Europe or the United States, first restaurant co-run by a female chef, first restaurant with a focus on the ingredients of Peru (or, really, any non-European-oriented culinary tradition) — taking the top slot has felt a little bit conveyor-belty. But that’s the thing of ranked list as narrative and taking out heavyweights. It sort of is a conveyor belt to the top and then to retirement.
There are a few other restaurants to watch for when it comes to the top spot, though. Along with Central, keep an eye on Disfrutar in Barcelona (No 3. in 2022), Diverxo, in Spain (No 4. in 2022), Pujol in Mexico City (No 5. in 2022), and Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo, Spain (No. 6 in 2022, but has been ranked in previous lists as high as No. 3). For more wildcard energy, look to Den in Tokyo (No. 20 in 2022), A Casa do Porco in Sao Paulo (No. 7 in 2022), The Chairman in Hong Kong (No. 24 in 2022), Atomix in New York City, which at No. 33, was the highest ranked U.S. restaurant, and Uliassi in Senigallia, Italy, which at No. 12 was the highest ranked new entry to the list year.
Anything else to watch for? Last year, the organization disqualified restaurants from Russia from being on the list in light of the country’s attacks on Ukraine; we’ll see if the ban remains in effect. Likewise, despite efforts to reach gender parity in the voting body, the list still struggles to include restaurants with kitchens helmed by women. And, as it too often happens, the list still has significant geographical biases for a list that calls itself “World’s.” Last year there were no restaurants from India, a country of over 1.4 billion people, or from the Middle East, at all; the only restaurant in the Top 50 from the entire African continent was a South African fine dining restaurant that is inspired by local ingredients and Japanese technique. As ever, it’s worth seeing how and if the list adapts to criticism calling for wider representation of truly global cuisine.
When is the World’s 50 Best 2023?
This year, the red-carpet event will be happening in Valencia, Spain on Tuesday, June 20th starting at 8:40 PM CEST. For those following along from the U.S., that’s 2:40 p.m. ET and 11:40 a.m. PT. — with the No. 1 slot expected to be revealed two hours from start time.
How to watch the World’s 50 Best 2023:
The event will be live-streamed on the World’s 50 Best website and YouTube channel, the YouTube stream is embedded below.