The world's 18 best restaurants, dishes, and chefs to know about in 2019

Le ClarenceLe Clarence’s Pontac dining room.
  • The winners of the inaugural World Restaurant Awards have been revealed.
  • A winner was chosen by a gender-balanced, 100-strong panel of culinary experts from around the globe across 18 categories, as well as an overall “Restaurant of the Year” champion.
  • See all the winners below.

The winners of the inaugural World Restaurant Awards have been announced.

On Monday, top chefs from across the globe – including Alex Atala, Alain Ducasse, Dan Barber, Hélène Darroze, Ana Roš, and Clare Smyth – descended on Paris’ Palais Brongniart for the glamorous awards ceremony.

Winners across 18 categories, covering restaurants, chefs, dishes, and events were announced over the course of the night, from “Best Off-Map Destination” to “Best Atmosphere.”

The awards were divided into “Big Plates” for the more formal categories, and the more tongue-in-cheek “Small Plates,” recognising more lighthearted categories such as “Tattoo-Free Chef of the Year” and “Instagram Account of the Year.”

The decisions were made by a gender-balanced panel of 100 judges including Yannick Alléno, Elena Arzak, Alex Atala, Massimo Bottura, David Chang, Dominique Crenn, Hélène Darroze, Daniel Humm, René Redzepi, Ana Roš, and Clare Smyth, as well as the world’s top restaurant critics.

The overall winner, Restaurant of the Year, Wolfgat in Paternoster, South Africa, was also the winner of the “Off-Map Destination” category.


Read more: The 28 best, most remote, under-the-radar restaurants around the world

Scroll down to see the winners, alongside the category they came out on top in.


Wolfgat, Paternoster, South Africa — Big Plates: Restaurant of the Year (Overall Winner) and Off-Map Destination

A coastal spot, Wolfgat is a 20-seat fine-dining restaurant tucked away in a 130-year-old ocean-side cottage on the historic Wolfgat cave, which has huge archaeological and geological significance. The menu specialises in local seafood and indigenous plants foraged from the Western Cape such as dune spinach and soutslaai.


Le Clarence, Paris, France — Big Plates: Original Thinking

Le ClarenceLe Clarence’s Pontac dining room.

The classic French restaurant won the award for having the best Original Thinking.


Mocotó, São Paolo, Brazil — Big Plates: No Reservations Required

MocotoPork rinds

Mocotó is a family-run restaurant serving sertaneja cuisine, from traditional dishes such as baião de dois (a mix of rice and beans) to more innovative creations like dadinhos de tapioca (consecrated tapioca cheese cubes).


Lido 84, Gardone Riviera, Italy — Big Plates: House Special

Ristorante Lido 84Lido 84’s cacio e pepe cooked inside a pig’s bladder.

Lido 84 overlooking Lake Garda in northern Italy won “House Special” for its cacio e pepe cooked inside a pig’s bladder.


Mugaritz, Errenteria, Gipuzkoa, Spain — Big Plates: Forward Drinking

José Luis López de Zubiría/MugaritzMugaritz

Mugaritz won the award for the best “Forward Drinking.”


Refugee Food Festival, various locations — Big Plates: Event of the Year

Priscilla DavignyThe Refugee Food Festival

The Refugee Food Festival was named as the best event of the year.


Refettorio (Food for Soul), various locations — Big Plates: Ethical Thinking

Simon Owen/Red PhotographicRefettorio Felix

Lara Gilmore picked up the award for “Ethical Thinking” for Food for Soul, the charity she runs with her husband Massimo Bottura. Food for Soul has opened “reffetorios” – high-end soup kitchen – around world to raise awareness of food waste and hunger.


Paradiso x Gort Na Nain farm, Cork, Ireland — Big Plates: Collaboration of the Year

Yelp/Cafe ParadisoCafe Paradiso

The vegetarian restaurant was lauded for its partnership with local Gort Na Nain farm.


Vespertine, Los Angeles, USA — Big Plates: Atmosphere

Anne Fishbein/VespertineVespertine

An architecturally ambitious four-storey tower with a warped steel exoskeleton, Vespertine seats only 22 and has its own specially composed soundtrack by the Texan band This Will Destroy You.


La Mère Brazier, Lyon, France — Big Plates: Enduring Classic

Anne BouillotLa Mère Brazier

The two-Michelin-starred Lyon restaurant scooped the award for Enduring Classic.


Inua, Tokyo, Japan — Big Plates: Arrival of the Year

Jason LoucasInua

Inua in Japan was celebrated as the best new restaurant.


Bo.Lan, Bangkok, Thailand — Small Plates: Tweezer-Free Kitchen

Bo Songvisava is the Thai-born co-chef and co-owner of Bangkok’s Bo.Lan, which honours homegrown recipes.


Ballymaloe House, Cork, Ireland — Small Plates: Trolley of the Year

Ballymaloe HouseBallymaloe’s dessert trolley.

The Irish hotel’s dessert trolley took the award for Trolley of the Year.


Noble Rot, London, UK — Small Plates: Red Wine-Serving Restaurant

Noble RotNoble Rot

The London restaurant and bar was praised for its red wines.


Alain Ducasse, France — Small Plates: Tattoo-Free Chef

Ducasse is a rare find in the restaurant world: a chef without tattoos.


Lisa Abend (Fool Magazine), US and Sweden — Small Plates: Long-Form Journalism

Lisa AbendLisa Abend.

Journalist Lisa Abend was named best writer of long-form food journalism.


Alain Passard, France — Small Plates: Instagram Account

Geraldo PradoAlain Passard

Passard has over 261,000 followers on the social network.

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