After the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony in Singapore last month, chef Yoshihiro Narisawa was in high spirits, despite the late hour and the tropical February heat. His Tokyo restaurant, the eponymous Narisawa in the Aoyama district, had been named Best Restaurant in Japan for the second year in a row, and the Aichi native was hosting an after-party to celebrate.

Between inspecting trays of finger foods, Narisawa clinked glasses with some of his compatriots — chefs Seiji Yamamoto of Nihonryori RyuGin (No. 5 in Asia), Shuzo Kishida of Quintessence (No. 22), Shinobu Namae of L'Effervescence (No. 25) and Hideaki Sato, chef de cuisine at Tenku RyuGin (No. 50) in Hong Kong, the sister branch of Yamamoto's Tokyo restaurant.

Although some of the restaurants from Japan — including Narisawa, which dropped from the No. 1 slot last year to No. 2 — fell in the overall rankings for Asia, the country leads Asia's 50 Best Restaurants with 10 entries on the list. This year, the Bangkok restaurant Nahm, helmed by David Thompson, moved into the top slot.