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After a year-long pandemic-induced delay, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants returned to the live stage on Oct. 5 to announce this year’s top establishments.

Noma took first place, making this its fifth time winning The World’s Best Restaurant award. After closing in 2016, Noma 2.0 reopened in February 2018 in a different location and with a new concept, though still helmed by chef Rene Redzepi.

Three Tokyo-based restaurants made the list: Den retained its place at No. 11, Narisawa gained three places to reach No. 19 and Florilege made its debut in the list at No. 39 (previously it was No. 63 on the extended “100” list).

Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa of Den and chef Hiroyasu Kawate of Florilege both watched the livestream from Antwerp at their collaborative kushi (skewer) restaurant, Denkushiflori, in Shibuya Ward.

“Our two bosses accomplished a feat!!!!” Denkushiflori staff wrote in a celebratory post on Instagram. “We watched this award (ceremony) with the chefs. It was a very precious experience for us and we got new energy.”

Several other Japan-based restaurants also got nods, with Tokyo’s Nihonryori RyuGin at No. 51, Il Ristorante Luca Fantin at No. 73, Sazenka at No. 75 and L’Effervescence at No. 99. The only Japanese restaurant outside of Tokyo to place was Osaka’s La Cime, coming in at No. 76.

To compensate for a lack of international travel and other restrictions during the pandemic, the results were based on a combination of votes cast in January 2020 and “refresh votes” from March 2021, in which voters could update their selection based on restaurant experiences in their regions, in order to curate “from a combination of wider pre-pandemic experiences and, where possible, contemporary local updates.”

Read the full list at theworlds50best.com/list/1-50.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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