The World’s 50 Best Restaurants honorees for 2022 were announced at a ceremony in London today, crowning Denmark’s Geranium as this year’s top dining establishment in the world. The restaurant replaces Noma, another icon in the Danish capital, in the coveted top spot and upholds Copenhagen’s reputation in the world of fine dining.
The award ceremony—charmingly hosted by Stanley Tucci—comes after a one-year hiatus in 2020 and a contentious 2019 rule change preventing former winners of the coveted number one spot from placing first again. That change ruled out high-profile candidates like Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy; Mirazur in Menton, France; and “new” Noma, which won for a fifth time in 2021 after relocating to a different location with a reimagined menu. Geranium was last year’s runner-up on the Best 50 list, making it a favorite to win with last year’s top restaurant out of the race.
Attempting to encapsulate the best of the world’s dining scene in a list of just 50 restaurants is an ambitious project, to say the least. The organization has faced criticism since its inception for an inability to accurately portray the breadth and diversity of a global dining scene. The list has a history of underemphasizing historically colonized regions such as Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Notably, this year 50 Best shared its first ever list of restaurants in the Middle East and North Africa, which was dominated by restaurants in Dubai.
As for global rankings, the group has already announced the restaurants that placed 51–100 in advance of the main ceremony, and these preliminary rankings included one restaurant from India (a nation of about 1.4 billion people) and two in Africa, both of which are located in South Africa. Since the list’s inception in 2002, 17 out of 20 number one rankings have gone to restaurants located in Europe, and the honor went to a restaurant in the United States the remaining three times. This year’s runner up was Central in Lima, Peru, the first South American establishment to break into the list’s top three.
An ongoing lack of gender parity and recognition for non-male chefs has also attracted controversy; despite a 2018 pledge by 50 Best to ensure half of the voting body was made up of women, 2019’s list included just five restaurants helmed by female chefs.
The 1,000-plus voters involved with shaping the 50 Best list include journalists and chefs, and they are not required by the award-granting body to pay for their own meals. The organization has been criticized for this practice, with detractors claiming that the policy creates opportunities for government tourism boards to sway voters with free press trips in hopes of local restaurants being included. This is in contrast with most restaurant world awards, which forbid voters and judges from accepting free meals or travel.
Nonetheless, the ranking is considered one of the restaurant world’s most impactful, carrying similar credence to other high-profile restaurant nods like America’s James Beard awards or the global Michelin guide. Find all of the 2022 winners below: