"In Greece, your philosophers said that they eat to live," Chef Massimo Bottura said Monday night after winning the top slot of this year's World's 50 Best Restaurants ceremony. "In Rome, they lived to eat; very different."
That difference in philosophy has presumably paid off, as Bottura made history as the first Italian chef to top the list, beating out Spain and America (who occupied the second and third slots, respectively). The ranking doesn’t come as a surprise: the chef’s Osteria Francescana had finished in the number two position for the past two years.
The 50 Best has been called the Oscars of restaurants (rivaling both the Michelin Guide and James Beard for the culinary world’s highest honor). Your chances of booking a table at one of the list's winners is slim, regardless of who you know.
But if you narrow the selections — say, to the six U.S. eateries that made the cut — those chances improve. Book now, and you might actually get in. (Editor’s note: As someone who’s dined at three of these, I can vouch for their kinda-sorta accessibility.)
Eleven Madison Park
Scoring a hat trick of sorts, this Manhattan spot took home awards for the Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality as well as the number three position overall. That latter title also made Eleven officially the Best Restaurant in North America.
With three Michelin stars, this Chicago spot landed at number 15 on this year's list. This new position sees the decade-old eatery jump up 11 slots. Known for four-hour-long dinners for two that cost upward of $800, the spot was one of the first to use science to deconstruct how food tastes.
With Michelin Guide’s Three Stars as well as four from the New York Times, this fishy dine-in boasts dinners that start at $130 per person for a four-course menu. This year it came in as the 25th best restaurant in the world.
For a newcomer to the list, this Bay Area spot made quite a splash at 27. Originally opened as a pop-up, the West Coast venue now hosts course numbers that reach the dozens (along with a matching price tag around $1,000).
Closing out Manhattan’s trio of entries, Estela slid in at number 44. The NoLita Mediterranean-infused restaurant has hosted President Obama in the past.
Upstate New York
Pontico Hills, New York hosts the number 48 winner. Housed in an actual refurbished stone barn, the farm-to-table select is an 80-acre experience you’ll tell your kids about.