…at least not according to the 2010 selections for San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The annual rankings were released at 9pm on Monday night, and the panel of 800+ chefs and critics have named Copenhagen’s Noma as the top restaurant in 2010. Chef René Redzepi takes the crown from Ferran Adrià (El Bulli), who moves down a spot after after four consecutive years at #1.
So how does France fare in the ninth edition of this controversial list? Not well. There’s not a single French restaurant among the top ten, whose ranks include 4 Spanish and 3 American restaurants. Only 6 French restaurants made the top 50 in 2010, down from 8 in 2009. Pierre Gagnaire has tumbled from #3 in 2008 to #9 in 2009 to #13. He is eclipsed in 2010 by what is now the highest ranking French restaurant: Inaki Aizpitarte’s Le Chateaubriand (#11).
Once considered as the world’s undisputed leader of cuisine, France now has an almost equal number of restaurants in the top 50 as Italy and Spain (both of whom have more restaurants in the top 10). The United States, which continues to be derided by many French as a land of super-sized junk cuisine, has the highest number of restaurants (8!) on the 2010 list.
So what’s the deal? Is the quality of French cuisine slipping? Are people growing weary of traditional French cuisine? Is it a question of atmosphere? What does it say that the French restaurants who performed best are the least traditional in terms of technique and atmosphere?
After the jump, the full list of the World’s Best Restaurants for 2010.