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The Girona-based restaurant, which is run by three brothers (pictured right), first appeared in the list in 2005 and last year came in at number two, just behind Noma.This year, however, the Spanish restaurant overtook the three-times champion to claim the top spot – perhaps a reflection of the popularity Spanish cuisine is currently enjoying around the world.
Accepting the award in front of hundreds of the world’s most acclaimed chefs – who gave the winner a standing ovation – El Celler de Can Roca’s head chef, Joan Roca, said: ‘We don’t know if we are the best restaurant in the world but we will continue to work hard at what we do. We would like to dedicate the award to our family and our team.’
Although the top 10 was dominated by European entries, including Italy’s Osteria Francescana (number three), and Spain’s Mugaritz (number four), this year’s list was notable for its lack of British restaurants, with only three establishments representing the UK. Brett Graham’s The Ledbury managed to move up one position to number 13. Meanwhile, Heston Blumenthal scored a double whammy with Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (number seven, pictured left) and The Fat Duck (number 33) – although his flagship, which held the number one spot in 2005, and was still in the top 15 last year, slipped 20 places.
Instead, the World’s 50 Best Awards were dominated by non-British restaurants, particularly those from South America and Asia (both areas that now have their own separate regional awards). Brazil’s D.O.M (number six) won Best Restaurant in South America, while Peru’s Astrid & Gastón (this year’s highest climber, moving up 21 places to number 14) and Central (number 50) were proof that Peruvian cuisine really is in the ascendant. Meanwhile, in Asia, Tokyo’s Narisawa (number 20) won the Sustainable Restaurant Award, while Amber (number 36) and 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (number 39), both waved the flag for Hong Kong.
This year saw lots of new entries, including Attica in Melbourne (the highest new entry at number 21), Singapore’s Restaurant Andre (number 38), Shanghai’s Mr & Mrs Bund (number 43), France’s Septime (number 49) and Peru’s Central.
European chefs were honoured with special awards: Monaco-based chef Alain Ducasse received the Lifetime Achievement Award; meanwhile Nadia Santini (pictured below), from Italian restaurant Dal Pescatore, was named Best Female Chef.
This story was published on Tuesday 30 April 2013.