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50 Best Restaurants: The U.S. did better than you think, and where Thomas Keller ate after

April 30, 2013|By S. Irene Virbila

An American restaurant may not have walked off with the top spot on this year's World's 50 Best Restaurants list awards, which was sponsored by San Pellegrino and held in London on Sunday night, but the United States tied with France for most restaurants on the list, with six.

And an infographic published by the founder of the annual awards, Restaurant Magazine, shows countries' influence based on how many restaurants placed in this year's list and their rankings, and the U.S. comes out on top. (Sorry, France.) Spain and France are tied at No. 2.

How so? We've got Eleven Madison in New York at No. 5, Per Se in New York at No. 11, Alinea in Chicago at No. 15, Le Bernadin in New York at No. 19, Daniel in New York at No. 29 and French Laundry in Napa Valley at No. 47.

Complete list of the Top 50 restaurants

Of course, the awards wouldn't have much excitement if the same names held the same positions year after year. And if restaurants didn't sometimes drop off the list and then fight their way back the next year. Or leap ahead 21 places, as Astrid y Gaston from Peru did this year.

Eight new restaurants made the 2013 list, which is voted on by 936 restaurant professionals and journalists from 26 regions across the world. (I am chairman for the U.S. and Canada West.) These include Septime in Paris, Central in Peru, Mani in Brazil, Mr & Mrs Bund in Shanghai, Piazza Duomo in Italy, Restaurant Andre in Singapore. And 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Hong Kong from Umberto Bombana, who was chef for the late Mauro Vicenti's Rex il Ristorante in downtown L.A. in the '80s and later at Pazzia in West Hollywood.

After the ceremony, which ended about 9:30 p.m., chefs fanned out across London for more eating and drinking. I don't know where everybody went, but when I arrived at  Mark Hix's newish Tramshed for roast chicken and chips, I saw Thomas Keller heading up a big table in the back corner, and a little later, Daniel Boulud -- coif, as always, elegantly in place -- making his way toward the group.

The chicken, when it arrived, was served vertically, legs (and scrawny feet) comically stuck in the air. Washed down with a Spanish rosé from Ribera del Duero, it was just right for the late night moment.


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