Eleven Madison Park, located in New York City, has just claimed the top spot in the annual list compiled by British magazine Restaurant’s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants academy.
Last year, Eleven Madison Park took the third spot on the list. There had been some speculation that the NYC restaurant might dethrone Italy’s Osteria Francescana this year, and now we know that buzz was right on target. Osteria Francescana now lands second on the list, followed by Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca.
Eleven Madison Park’s co-owners Will Guidara and chef Daniel Humm said in a phone interview with The N.Y. Times that the announcement came as a “complete surprise.” But really, it couldn’t’ve been that much of a surprise, seeing as they came in third last year, have a three-star Michelin chef and received four stars from NYT reviewer Pete Wells, among other accomplishments.
In his acceptance speech, Guidara said they appreciated the validation. “I don’t think any of us here do what we do for the accolades. But affirmation is a beautiful thing that fills your gas tank. It fuels you, and gives you the ability to keep pushing,” he said. “And this, because it comes from everyone in here, this is the greatest affirmation of all.”
Eleven Madison Park currently has an eight-to-ten-course tasting meal that costs $295, including drinks and service. Starting next week, they’ll offer an exclusive 11-course meal highlighting all their best dishes from the past decade. The meal, which will last about three hours, will be available until June 9. After that, the restaurant will be closed for renovations until August.
Earning the top spot on the 50 Best list is certainly an achievement, but the selection organization’s prestige has been somewhat marred in recent years as accusations of sexism and favoritism have repeatedly surfaced. The organization, which uses more than 1,000 judges from around the world, tends to mainly showcase white, male chefs. Often, the world’s best women chefs will mysteriously be left off the list. The judges are also supposed to be anonymous, but reports of bribes and free meals throw that claim into question. The many controversies even inspired a brief protest movement, Occupy 50 Best. All together, the problems with the 50 Best list pile high enough to cast a shadow over it all.
Still, it’s cool that the “World’s Best” restaurant can now be found in New York City. Just for fun, we tried to see if we could land a reservation and surprisingly found several spots open over the next few weeks. Something tells us that when the news of their newly acquired ranking circulates a bit more, those spots will be gone pretty quick. In any case, if you’re living in NYC and find yourself with $300+ to burn, go for it.
Check out 2017’s 50 best restaurants in pictures via the video below.