Another day, another list
. Yesterday the good folks at San Pellegrino released their annual World's 50 Best Restaurants
, a sort of Rough Guide for gastronomes with fat wallets and abundant frequent flyer miles. Sponsored by the sparkling water company, the list was decided by a panel of 800-plus judges comprised of food writers, critics and chefs from around the world. The judges were big fans of Spain, whose six restaurants
on the list included Ferran Adria's El Bulli (coming in at No. 1 for the fourth year in a row). France also got some love with eight restaurants
, and the U.S. did pretty well for itself with seven eateries including new-to-the-list Momofuku Ssam Bar at 31 and Alinea, whose Grant Achatz rose 26 places from 2007 to a No. 10 ranking this year.
The big loser was undoubtedly Gordon Ramsay, whose London flagship completely disappeared after ranking at No. 13 last year, and whose ex-friend Marcus Wareing won the Breakthrough Restaurant Award for Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley -- not without taking a swipe
at Ramsay himself.
Oh, the drama! Oh, the lists!
We're not even four months into the new year and already it feels like Oscars season. This month alone has also given us Food & Wine
's Best New Chef Awards and Time Out New York's annual awards
. In less than two weeks, the James Beard Awards
(which we tweeted
about madly and will do so again) will be here.
The whole thing makes us quite hungry and curious about why lists like these hold such compulsive appeal. Most of us won't be boarding a plane for, say, Sweden to dine at Oaxen Skaergaardskrog anytime soon, yet many of us crave this info like we do a bag of M&Ms during our 3 p.m. sugar crash.
Personally, our favorite list may be this one
from the Village Voice. Who cares about El Bulli when you can hit the Transportation and Soul Food Café?
Lists: Love 'em or leave 'em?