The hottest dining ticket on the planet right now?
Italy’s Osteria Francescana, which knocked out Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca to earn the top spot at the 2016 World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards.
Osteria Francescana, which came in second at last year’s awards, is located in the small city of Modena in northern Italy’s Emilia Romagna region.
It’s helmed by chef Massimo Bottura, a man credited with reinventing classic Italian cuisine by offering dishes that combine tradition and irreverence and touch all the senses.
Coming in at number two on the list was last year’s champion, El Celler de Can Roca, while New York’s Eleven Madison Park moved up two places to grab the number three spot.
While accepting his award at the ceremony, held June 13 in New York, a thrilled Bottura held up an Italian flag, saying he felt he might cry he was so emotional.
“I want to thank everyone,” he said.
“Our job is all about hard work. People think we are rock stars, we are going here or there. It’s all about our work – in the kitchen, every day, to work and succeed.”
Top 10 comings and goings
Many of the usual culinary suspects rounded out this year’s top 10.
Lima’s Central, led by Virgilio Martinez, held onto its number four position. Last September, it topped Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the second year running.
Copenhagen’s Noma – the 2014 champion credited with the rise of “new Nordic cuisine” – fell from third to fifth.
Mirazur, located in Menton, France, jumped from 11th place to sixth, while San Sebastian’s Mugaritz dropped a spot to number seven.
Tokyo’s Narisawa – number two on Asia’s 2016 Best Restaurants list – held onto eighth.
At ninth, Steirereck of Vienna celebrated its first appearance in the top 10, along with Biscay, Asador Etxebarri’s restaurant in Spain. Last year’s highest climber, in 2016 the Spanish barbeque eatery moved from 13th up to number 10.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the dramatic drop of London’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
Last year’s number seven, it plummeted to 45th place.
Another noticeable absence from the top 10 was Asia’s best restaurant, Gaggan.
The Bangkok-based Indian restaurant slipped from 10th to 23rd this year.
MORE: Gaggan: ‘I can’t cook this for 20 years’
Maybe less surprising – with the list often criticized for its male dominance – was the absence of female-run restaurants.
Dominique Crenn of Atellier Cren was named “World’s Best Female Chef” while Tokyo restaurant Den was awarded the “One to Watch” prize.
France’s Pierre Herme was named best pastry chef.
The “Chef’s Choice Award,” voted on by other chefs on the 50 best list, was awarded to Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca.
This year’s lifetime achievement award went to chef Alain Passard of Michelin three-star restaurant L’Arpege in Paris.
According to organizers, the results were compiled from an “independent” voting panel of 1,000 judges that were subject to adjudication.
This year’s awards ceremony, widely viewed as the Oscars of fine dining, took place in New York – moving away from London for the first time as part of efforts to make the event “truly global.”
During the awards, it was announced that the 2017 World’s 50 Best ceremony will take place in Melbourne, Australia.
The 50 best
1. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
2. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)
3. Eleven Madison Park (New York City)
4. Central (Lima)
5. Noma (Copenhagen)
6. Mirazur (Menton, France)
7. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)
8. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)
9. Steirereck (Vienna)
10. Asador Etxebarri (Biscay, Spain)
11. D.O.M. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
12. Quintonil (Mexico City)
13. Maido (Lima) – Highest riser
14. Ledbury (London)
15. Alinea (Chicago)
16. Azurmendi (Near Bilbao, Spain)
17. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
18. White Rabbit (Moscow)
19. Arpege (Paris)
20. Amber (Hong Kong)
21. Arzak (San Sebastian, Spain)
22. The Test Kitchen (Cape Town, South Africa)
23. Gaggan (Bangkok)
24. Le Bernardin (New York City)
25. Pujol (Mexico City)
26. Clove Club (London) – Highest new entry
27. Saison (San Francisco)
28. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)
29. Tickets (Barcelona)
30. Astrid y Gaston (Lima)
31. Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo)
32. Restaurant Andre (Singapore)
33. Attica (Melbourne, Australia)
34. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
35. Vendome (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany)
36. Borago (Santiago)
37. Nahm (Bangkok)
38. De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands)
39. Le Calandre (Padua, Italy)
40. Relae (Copenhagen)
41. Faviken (Jarpen, Sweden)
42. Ultraviolet (Shanghai, China)
43. Biko (Mexico City)
44. Estela (New York)
45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London)
46. Combal.Zero (Rivoli, Italy)
47. Schloss Schauenstein (Furstenau, Switzerland)
48. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (New York)
49. Quique Dacosta (Denia, Spain)
50. Septime (Paris)