What really matters
These are football days (soccer if it makes it easier for you), and the Spanish team is as exciting as ever (written after the 3:3 against Portugal on their first match), but the really interesting event in Spain will take place today in Bilbao which is in the Basque Country (20:45 local time): The media company William Reed Business Media will announce in the annual event the best restaurant in the world for 2018.
Last week the 51-100 ranking was published, from which one could withdraw some conclusions, trivia details and predictions, that like any predictions and surveys are good for fish wrap, at the most.
The reviewers list refreshed, as in any other year, yet it seems that at least in the lower part of the list the ranking went under extreme changes. Take, for example, the Danish Relæ which fell by 32 places to number 71, and on the other hand Japanese Florilège, that jumped 40 places(!) to reach number 59.
The Euro-American-centric influence which was there from the beginning is still dominating, so the critique regarding the geographic biased system of the ranking is still there (here is my analysis of last year's ranking including an explanation of the system). Most of the restaurants that appear on this year's regional lists - the Latin American and the Asian - are down by around 50 places when they get to the world's list. Florilège, for example, got to the 3rd place on the Asian list and is 56 places below on the general one.
Two Muscovite restaurants: Selfie on the 70th place and Twins Garden on the 72nd one, enjoyed the visitors of Vladimir Mukhin's White Rabbit, which will probably climb from the 23rd place. For sure the FIFA World Cup tournament will get them more votes for next year. Here's a trivia that will help you be the center of every party: Twins Garden is not the only restaurant on the list who is run by twins. Together with it, there's also the German-Bangkokian Sühring on number 54.
Two new entries from South America to the 100 list: A Casa do Porco from Brazil on 79, and Don Julio from Argentina on 55 show that if there's a vegetarian/vegan trend around the world, in South America things work differently.
The house sausages of Don Julio and Pork in six forms (makes sense) from A Casa do Porco. Vegetarian? Never heard about it.
The Swedish Fäviken, which is probably the best restaurant in the world in the most remote place in the world, fell by 10 places to number 67. This was quite a surprise for me since I've always thought that the constant hype around Magnus Nilsson will take him higher. Maybe it still to arrive.
Before the predictions another insight: increase your chances to be a world-class culinary personality by changing your name to one that ends with etrini, and better to one that starts with a P.
Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food Movement, Andrea Petrini, the mind behind Gelinaz! team - which will publish its own and unconventional list later this year, and Helene Pietrini, the director of World's 50 Best Restaurants.
And now, some predictions: The first one is rather simple - these would be the last appearances of Singaporean André which closed its doors on February, and Peruvian Central that will do it in the upcoming months - both their chefs will move forward new projects. In two years it would be also the time for the progressive-Indian Gaggan to say goodbye.
Noma 2.0 will not enter to the big 50, although it has already finished almost a full cycle according to its new concept. But probably unlike the Swedish Frantzén, which also went through a relocation and had to start again from this year number 65, Noma will go straight to the higher part of the list next year. Save your tears for Copenhagen, since Noma's sibling restaurant 108, which filled its mythological space, starts its climbing from the 98th position.
If my analysis regarding geographical and non-culinary impacts on the ranking is true, then Attica of Melbourne should have got a big push from the 32nd place, after last year the ceremony took place in the city. On the same level the Basque restaurants, that already start from a great position, would get lots of votes for next year: Nerua - if it plays well the card of the hosting city - will advance from its 57th spot and the Guggenheim Museum venue to the top 50, Asador Etxeberri, which is located in Axpe - a kind of a restaurant which has its own street and village, will climb a little more from its 6th place, and who knows, maybe even El Cellar de Can Roca, about which realiable sources informed me that booking a table one year ahaed is totally worth it, will get back to the top of the list (and maybe it has already happened this year?)
And what about the most important gamble?
Well, I bet that the top two places will host El Cellar de Can Roca and last year's winner the New Yorker Eleven Madison Park. The third one will see for the first time since Pierre Gagnaire in 2008 a French restaurant - Mirazur, and maybe-maybe also Central. Which means that the 2016 winner Italian Osteria Francescana will drop off the top three. And with a double bet - Eleven Madison Park won't lose the top so soon and will win again this year.
Don't forget to join the live broadcast!
As I wrote at the beginning, predictions, surveys, and bets have no better use than wrapping fish and other sea creatures, in that case of The Fish & Chips Shop in Barcelona.
And even if I'm wrong, I can always eat my hat.