The World’s 50 Best Restaurants is BACK

new list announcement, awards ceremony and hybrid event programme will be hosted in Antwerp, Flanders later this year, following the Covid-induced pause of 2020. The events – in physical format and shared digitally across the globe – will mark a key milestone in ongoing efforts to support the recovery of the restaurant sector. Here’s the definitive what, where, why and how...

What is the plan?

On 5th October, the 2021 list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, will be revealed in a live countdown on stage and broadcast simultaneously across 50 Best’s digital channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

A full programme of gastronomic activity on the ground in the host region, including significant regular events such as thought-leadership forum #50BestTalks and the Chefs’ Feast, will complement the gala awards. Key moments will also be accessible via digital media to ensure all those unable to join in person do not miss out.

Where are the awards taking place?

The gala awards ceremony will be hosted at the impressive and acronym-friendly Flanders Meeting & Convention Center Antwerp (FMCCA). For those less familiar with the geography of lowland Europe, Antwerp is a historic port city in Flanders, which is the Flemish-speaking northern region of Belgium. Antwerp is most famous for art, fashion, design and diamonds, but it also boasts a highly discerning culinary culture. Visitors to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants events will have the opportunity to explore the wider region of Flanders, which is home to premium food and drink producers as well as some the finest restaurants in Europe, making it something of a hidden foodie hotspot. All events will be prepared with the health security of attendees as the foremost priority and will be subject to international travel protocols and government guidelines. 50 Best is optimistic that the ongoing vaccine rollout will enable as many people as possible to meet together safely in Antwerp.

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Why produce a list and awards ceremony when the pandemic is not over?

We believe 50 Best’s role in promoting restaurants and showcasing culinary talent is more important than ever – and that we can best support the recovery of the restaurant sector by inspiring diners to seek out exciting gastronomic experiences once again, whether near or far. Ultimately, the list serves as an economic stimulus for those restaurants featured by helping drive business into their establishments and helping restore confidence in the hospitality sector as a whole.

The presentation of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021, along with the accompanying list of those restaurants ranked from 51st to 100th, will also provide a diverse range of global destinations for diners hungry for a return to travelling, once it is safe to do so. The event programme will also allow the global gastronomic community to reconnect in person, share experiences, celebrate resilience and reward brilliance. We are under no illusions about the restrictions that restaurants and diners still face in many parts of the world, but we aim to move forward in as positive a manner as possible.

How is the voting arranged, given dining restrictions and the lack of international travel opportunities?

The new ranking will take into account recent travel limitations and dining restrictions by combining the votes cast in January 2020 (which have never been published) and a ‘voting refresh’ which took place in March 2021. In March this year, each voter had the chance to update their 2020 selections based only on restaurant experiences in their own region in the 14 months since the previous voting round, reflecting the increased importance of local dining. Any establishments that have closed permanently or changed their fundamental concept since the voting will be removed from the ranking, though still acknowledged and celebrated as part of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards event.

In summary, the 2021 list will therefore be created from a combination of wider pre-pandemic experiences and, where possible, contemporary local updates, spanning the period from July 2019 through to March 2021