Published May 01, 2012
For the third year in a row, Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, has been named the best restaurant in the world in 2012 by Restaurant magazine's The World's 50 Best Restaurants. The top North American restaurant went to Per Se, which rated number six. Other U.S. restaurants included Chicago's Alinea, which was number 7, New York's Eleven Madison Par, which was 10, and Le Bernardin at 19, which is also in New York.
The list, released every year in April, is a selection of 50 of the world's best restaurants chosen by over 800 international restaurant industry experts throughout the course of the year.
The deciding "the best" can be a risky game, knowing that "best" relates to an individual's personal preference. And the magazine is fully aware of how personal taste plays into the selections, in fact, they encourage the judges' personal preference to influence their picks.
There is absolutely no criteria that a restaurant has to meet to make the list. They do not need to have been open a certain number of years and they do not need to have won any other culinary accolades. Restaurants cannot apply to be on the list, and they cannot be nominated. There can be no sponsorship or outside influences on the list.
The free-for-all style of balloting means that every restaurant in the world is eligible to win. As long as the restaurant has an operating kitchen, it's anyone's game.
Here is this year's list of the 50 best restaurants in the world: