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Spain comes out on top of new World's 50 Best Restaurants list

The dining room at Disfrutar
The dining room at Disfrutar Copyright Disfrutar
Copyright Disfrutar
By Jonny Walfisz
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European restaurants have triumphed with four of the top five spots on the annual World's 50 Best Restaurants list.

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Spain tops the latest list of the world’s best restaurants. The 50 Best brand released its annual list of the world’s best restaurants, recognising the top gastronomy around the globe, and it’s been a good year for Europe.

Out of the top five, four entries are European restaurants with three coming from different regions of Spain.

In the top position, where Danish restaurant Noma and the now-closed Spanish restaurant El Bulli hold the record for winning five times, there’s a brand new entry. Disfrutar in Barcelona is the new champion of the list.

Found in the heart of Barcelona’s historic university area L'Antiga Esquerra de l'Eixample, Disfrutar provides the hip neighbourhood with tasting menus from its esteemed triple-header of head chefs, Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas.

The three chefs met at the famed El Bulli which closed in 2011 after nearly 50 years of service in the Catalan region near Roses.

Disfrutar was founded just 10 years ago in 2014 and quickly established itself for its two elaborate 30 dish tasting menus, the “classic” and the “festival”. They also offer a special chef’s table menu called “living table” for up to six guests.

The restaurant has climbed the ranks in recent years, placing third in 2022 and second in 2023, to finally take the top spot this year.

Dining at Disfrutar isn’t a cheap affair, with the two original tasting menus currently setting diners back €290. That’s before you include the €160 wine pairing and doesn’t even touch on the “living table” option that runs to €1,050 if you want to sample it all on your own.

But with great prices come great foods. In the listing, they note the Thai-style cuttlefish with coconut multi-spherical, and squab with kombu spaghetti, almond and grape, that feature on the classic menu, before acclaiming the “famously indulgent caviar-filled Panchino doughnut and brilliant frozen gazpacho sandwich”.

The caviar-filled doughnut at Disfrutar
The caviar-filled doughnut at DisfrutarFrancesc Guillamet Ferran/info@francescguillamet.com

Spain’s successes in the list don’t stop there. In second place on the list is Asador Etxebarri, a fine dining restaurant in the country's Basque region near Atxondo, about 40km from Bilbao.

Away from the bustle of city life, Asador Etxebarri gives diners the opportunity to relax in the luscious mountain greenery typical of the Basque country’s landscape. Here Victor Arguinzoniz is head chef and his team provides both an a la carte and 14-course tasting menu that leans heavily on the grill as the region’s speciality style.

Since its first entry into the list in 2009, it’s only ever not been featured once and was featured as the third best restaurant in the world twice in a row, in 2019 and 2021.

Arguinzoniz, who was born in the village, is a master at the barbeque and his grill produces some of the finest meats, fish and vegetables diners are likely to find anywhere. It’s no wonder the place has also consistently ranked in the top three best steak restaurants as well.

In third place, it's the Parisian restaurant Table by Bruno Verjus. As per the restaurant’s inventive name, the dining area is made up of a long table that diners sit at on barstools to enjoy the two Michelin-star cooking from… you guessed it, Bruno Verjus.

It first entered the list last year, making the top 10 on first appearance. Not a small feat. What makes Table such a provoking affair is the way everything is made to order, notable the Colours of the Day, a daily dish that changes to follow the most seasonal herbs and vegetables on offer.

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Squid at Table
Squid at TableTable by Bruno Verjus

Ingredients are at the forefront of Verjus’s work, whether it is Île d'Yeu lobster, Alsace white asparagus or Ardour wild salmon, his €400 daily menu lets these beautiful foods shine.

Rounding out the European hammering of the best 50 restaurants list is DiverXO in fourth place.

Located in the north of Madrid, near the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, DiverXO is led by head chef Dabiz Muñoz. A three Michelin-star establishment, Muñoz’s menu is characterised by his light-hearted takes on fish dishes.

The €450 tasting menu presents fun theatrical combinations like “ Pyrenean-matured nigiri, Japanese paella or roasted caviar with vindaloo curry and Greek yoghurt.” If you go, don’t skip out on the wine pairing from the World’s Best Sommelier 2023, Miguel Ángel Millán.

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Rounding out the top five is Maido, a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant in the South American country’s capital city of Lima.

Here is the full top 50 restaurants:

  1. Disfrutar, Barcelona
  2. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Spain
  3. Table by Bruno Verjus, Paris
  4. DiverXO, Madrid
  5. Maido, Lima
  6. Atomix, New York
  7. Quintonil, Mexico City
  8. Alchemist, Copenhagen
  9. Gaggan, Bangkok
  10. Don Julio, Buenos Aires
  11. Septime, Paris
  12. Lido , Gardone Riviera
  13. Trèsind Studio, Dubai
  14. Quique Dacosta, Dénia
  15. Sézanne, Tokyo
  16. Kjolle, Lima
  17. Kol, London
  18. Plénitude, Paris
  19. Reale, Castel di Sangro
  20. Wing, Hong Kong
  21. Florilège, Tokyo
  22. Steirereck, Vienna
  23. Sühring, Bangkok
  24. Odette, Singapore
  25. El Chato, Bogotá
  26. The Chairman, Hong Kong
  27. A Casa do Porco, São Paulo
  28. Elkano, Getaria
  29. Boragó, Santiago
  30. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin
  31. Belcanto, Lisbon
  32. Den, Tokyo
  33. Pujol, Mexico City
  34. Rosetta, Mexico City
  35. Frantzen, Stockholm
  36. The Jane, Antwerp
  37. Oteque, Rio
  38. Sorn, Bangkok
  39. Piazza Duomo, Alba
  40. Le Du, Bangkok
  41. Mayta, Lima
  42. Ikoyi, London
  43. Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Berlin
  44. Mingles, Seoul
  45. Arpege, Paris
  46. Single Thread, Healdsburg
  47. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau
  48. Hisa Franko, Kobarid
  49. La Colombe, Cape Town
  50. Uliassi, Senigallia
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