A menu of lichen, pine needles and hay once again has trumped classic cuisines in a ranking of the world's top restaurants.
For a third consecutive year, chef Rene Redzepi's diminutive but innovative Danish restaurant Noma earned the top spot in Restaurant magazine's annual S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards, announced Monday in London.
Redzepi cooks with a meticulous focus on indigenous ingredients, from moss and snails to sloe berries and unripe plums. Since it opened in 2004, the Copenhagen restaurant has been credited with redefining Nordic cooking and gets thousands of reservation requests a day. The current menu includes items such as "Cauliflower and pine" and "Pear tree!"
The list's second- and third-place restaurants also remained unchanged from the 2011 list. Spain's El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, and Mugaritz, in San Sebastian, once again were ranked Nos. 2 and 3. Also placing from Spain was Arzak, in San Sebastian, at No. 8.
The United States had three restaurants in the top 10, with Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York leading at No. 6 (moving up from the No. 10 spot last year). Alinea, Grant Achatz' ode to molecular gastronomy in Chicago, fell one spot to No. 7 in this year's ranking. Daniel Humm's Eleven Madison Park in New York shot up from No. 24 last year to tenth place this year.
Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, London's nod to the molecular gastronomy movement, fell from fifth place to No. 13. But Blumenthal remained in the top 10 with his recently opened Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, also in London, going straight to No. 9.
Other U.S. restaurants to place in the top 50 include: Le Bernardin in New York (No. 19), Daniel Boulud's Daniel in New York (No. 25), David Chang's Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York (No. 37), Keller's The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif. (No. 43), and David Kinch's Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif. (No. 48).
The Top 10:
1 — Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
2 — El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3 — Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
4 — D.O.M., Sao Paolo, Brazil
5 — Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
6 — Per Se, New York, United States
7 — Alinea, Chicago, United States
8 — Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
9 — Dinner by Heston Blumentahl, London, Britain
10 — Eleven Madison Park, New York, United States