Three Bay Area restaurants make the world’s top 50 list this year

Three gourmet restaurants in the Bay Area – Atelier Crenn and Benu in San Francisco and SingleThread in Healdsburg – were named to this year’s list of the world’s 50 best restaurants.

Atelier Crenn and Benu were both ranked in the top 50 in 2019, but this is the first time SingleThread has been on the influential but long controversial list.

The 2021 list, the first since the pandemic, was announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, with Benu at # 28, SingleThread at # 37 and Atelier Crenn at # 48. Dominique Crenn, owner of Atelier Crenn, also received this year’s Icon award as a chef who “has not only made significant contributions within the hotel space, but has also used his platform to raise awareness and foster positive change,” an announcement reads.

Golden Osetra caviar with potato and onion served at Atelier Crenn, photographed June 13, 2018.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

The famous Noma from Copenhagen again landed the top spot on the list.

The 50 Best Restaurants in the World has ranked the best dining destinations in the world since 2002. The organization behind the award has been criticized in recent years for its lack of diversity, both in its restaurant selections and its panel of internal voting, as well as not to require voters to pay for meals. The group is committed to a 50/50 gender balance among its voters in 2019, but the list itself remains insufficient in terms of gender and geographic representation. Only four restaurants on the Top 50 list are run by female chefs. There is only one restaurant in Mainland China and no restaurant in the Middle East or India.

Chef Corey Lee in the kitchen at Benu in San Francisco in 2018.

Chef Corey Lee in the kitchen at Benu in San Francisco in 2018.

John Storey / Special for the Chronicle

Atelier Crenn, Benu and SingleThread have both become dining destinations since their opening, known as much for their food as for the dining experiences there. At Atelier Crenn, the menu is presented like a poem. SingleThread owner chefs Kyle and Katina Connaughton pull produce from their own farm, and some diners also stay at the SingleThread Inn as part of the experience. Corey Lee from Benu is known for reinventing classic Asian dishes, like a millennial quail egg. The three restaurants have also just received three Michelin stars this year.

Prior to 2019, the only San Francisco restaurant to make the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list was Chef Joshua Skenes’ Season. Benu has climbed over the years, rising from 47th place in 2019 to his current ranking. Atelier Crenn lost its 25th place in 2019.

Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Yountville has secured a permanent spot in the organization’s “Best of the Best” Hall of Fame, made up of former No.1 restaurants that are no longer eligible for the list. (The goal of this change, made in 2019, was to diversify the top spots.) The French laundry won the top spot in 2003 and 2004.

Due to pandemic restrictions on travel and dining in 2020, this year’s Top 50 list reflects a combination of votes cast in January 2020 and a “vote refresh” in March 2021, according to the organization. Voters were able to update their 2020 selections based solely on dining at restaurants in their own region in the 14 months since the last ballot. All restaurants that have closed permanently or significantly changed their concept since the vote have been removed from the list.

Here’s the full list of 2021 winners, with American restaurants in bold:

1. Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)

2. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)

3. Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain)

4. Central (Lima, Peru)

5. Disfrutar (Barcelona, ​​Spain)

6. Frantzén (Stockholm, Sweden)

7. Maido (Lima, Peru)

8. Odette (Singapore)

9. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)

10. The President (Hong Kong, China)

11. Den (Tokyo, Japan)

12. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)

13. Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

14. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)

15. Lido 84 (Gardone Riviera, Italy)

16. Elkano (Getaria, Spain)

17. A Casa do Porco (São Paulo, Brazil)

18. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)

19. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

20. Diverxo (Madrid, Spain)

21. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)

22. Cosme (New York, United States)

23. Arpège (Paris)

24. Septime (Paris)

25. White Rabbit (Moscow)

26. The Calandre (Rubano, Italy)

27. Quintonil (Mexico)

28. Benu (San Francisco, United States)

29. Reale (Castel di Sangre, Italy)

30. Garden of the Twins (Moscow)

31. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin)

32. The Clove Club (London)

33. Lyle’s (London)

34. Burnt Ends (Singapore)

35. Ultraviolet (Shanghai, China)

36. Hof Van Cleve (Belgium)

37. SingleThread (Healdsburg, United States)

38. Borago (Santiago, Chile)

39. Anthology (Tokyo)

40. Suhring (Bangkok, Thailand)

41. Alléno (Paris)

42. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)

43. Atomix (New York, United States)

44. Le Bernardin (New York, United States)

45. Nobelhart & Schmutzig (Berlin)

46. ​​Leo (Bogotá, Colombia)

47. Maaemo (Oslo, Norway)

48. Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, United States)

49. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)

50. Wolfgat (Paternoster, South Africa)

Elena Kadvany is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ekadvany

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