Mauro Colegreco’s “Mirazur” in Menton, France, has been named as the best restaurant in the world at the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2019. The restaurant, which specialises in cutting-edge haute French cuisine, has been ranked in the top 50 restaurants on the planet since 2012, including a third place finish in 2018. This, however, is the first time that the restaurant has claimed the top spot.
Referencing their decision, the awarding body said that “Unrivalled views of the French Riviera, three levels of cascading vegetable gardens churning out the sweetest produce and a team of outrageously talented cooks and front-of-house staff combine to make Mirazur the ultimate restaurant experience.” Menu highlights include “salt-crusted beetroot from the garden with caviar cream,” and “eggs with smoked eel and hazelnuts and a brioche of potatoes.”
Despite the glowing praise for Mirazur, the accolade comes as something of an upset, after the re-opening of favourite Noma last year. Having won the award in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, it was widely expected that Rene Redzepi’s restaurant would leapfrog the rest of the competition and reenter the list straight at number one. However, the judges ultimately felt that Mirazur had the edge over its competitors.
The 50 Best competition has come in for criticism in recent years, particularly over issues of diversity and Eurocentrism. Critics have been particularly concerned over the award’s decision to specify a prize for “Best Female Chef”, while only including a very limited number of female chefs in their shortlist. This has prompted many to dismiss the awards as an opportunity for self-serving back-patting, and ultimately being far from representative of the industry as a whole.
The criticism has forced the organisation to make some changes. For instance, the judging panel this year has been restructured to include a 50/50 split between men and women, and voters have been encouraged to “explore a diverse mix of restaurants.” However, despite the new and somewhat unexpected champion, it seems likely that criticism of the competition will remain stern from some quarters.