LONDON – Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca seized the title of the world’s best restaurant from Denmark’s Noma on Monday, one month after dozens of people came down with a bout of food poisoning from the Copenhagen eatery.
The restaurant in Girona, run by three brothers and known for its dishes based on perfumes, had spent two years as runnerup on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list compiled for a 12th year by more than 900 international experts for Britain’s Restaurant magazine.
It swapped places with Noma, the two Michelin-starred Danish restaurant that spent three years at the top but which apologized in March after it left 63 customers suffering from vomiting and diarrhea over a five-day period.
The magazine said that El Celler de Can Roca “gained global acclaim for its combination of Catalan dishes and cutting edge techniques and the passion that they share for hospitality.”
Joan Roca heads the kitchen while his brother, Jordi, is pastry chef and Josep is head sommelier and in charge of front of house.
Spain continues to dominate the top 10 with Mugaritz in San Sebastian at No. 4, and Arzak, also in San Sebastian, at No. 8.
Italy’s Osteria Francescana was in third place, up from fifth, while New York’s Eleven Madison Park was up five places to fifth, in the awards presented Monday night at London’s Guildhall.
South America also had much to celebrate in the results with a record six restaurants from the continent on the list. They are led by Brazil’s D.O.M., run by former DJ Alex Atala in Sao Paulo, at No. 6 and Astrid Y Gaston in Lima, Peru, the highest climber in the list, rising 21 places to 14.
Asia, meanwhile, boasts seven restaurants in the top 50, up one from last year, led by Tokyo restaurant Narisawa at No. 20. Australia’s Attica was the highest new entry on the list at 21.
The U.S. has six restaurants on the list, as does France, with iconic chef Alain Ducasse winning a lifetime achievement award.
British chef Heston Blumenthal kept two restaurants in the top 50 with his London restaurant Dinner up two places at seven, although his older restaurant The Fat Duck fell 20 places to 33.
The One to Watch award went to the Test Kitchen in Cape Town, South Africa, where British-born chef Luke Dale-Roberts has an “eclectic style” that produces “unequivocally delicious food,” the magazine said.