Denmark's Noma Named Best Restaurant in the World

The fresh, Nordic taste of Noma toppled four-time winner El Bulli today to win the title of best restaurant in the world.

Chef René Redzepi was crowned king of the culinary world, now ruled by his Danish restaurant, Noma.

More than 800 food critics, chefs and restaurateurs voted on the best restaurant in the world as part of the ninth annual S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards.

Denmark's Noma snatched the top seat from the Spanish restaurant El Bulli, recognized as the world's premier molecular gastronome. El Bulli took second place, with the United Kingdom's The Fat Duck claiming third.

"Generally people felt there was a change of the order with a new young chef and a new young restaurant," said the event's director Nathan Garnett. "There is a new recognition of the changing restaurantee [sic] and the changing influences."

Redzepi, head chef at Noma, impressed judges with his creative interpretations of Nordic food. Noma's menu includes dishes like buttered langoustine on a hot rock, milk skin and rape seed oil, and pike perch with unripe elderberries.

He forages for local ingredients in the forests outside his restaurant in Copenhagen, and refuses to use imported food like olive oil or foie gras.

In the restaurant's renovated warehouse, Noma staff celebrated the award and the kitchen served up sandwiches with chicken skin, rye bread, lump sucker roe and smoked cheese. Torsten Vildgaard, the deputy head chef, said they toasted the award with colleagues from El Bulli and The Fat Duck.

Noma of Denmark Named World's Best Restaurant

"This is a very special day for all of the staff," Vildgaard told reporters. "We are number one in the world and to prove it we have received this nice trophy. It's the biggest thing in my whole career."

American restaurants claimed three spots in the top ten. Chicago's Alinea won seventh place, while New York's Daniel and Per Se respectively earned ninth and tenth. Spain had four restaurants in the top ten, while Italy, the UK, and Denmark each had one winner in the crème de le crème category.

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