Noma no longer the best

Copenhagen restaurant drops to second place on the list of the world’s best eateries

Ask Scorsese, Spielberg or Soderbergh, and it’s likely they’d each be able to name a film they’d like to erase from their repertoire. Tiger Woods could surely think up a few shots that he'd like another swing at. And if Noma’s head chef Rene Redzepi had the chance, he’d probably like to erase the entire month of March, during which over 60 people became ill after dining at the gourmet eatery.

But despite a few inevitable flaws, each of them has proven that even the world’s ‘best’ can bounce back after a few less-than-shining moments.

Except Noma, that is. After Restaurant magazine’s rankings of the top 50 restaurants in the world were released this evening in London, the New Nordic restaurant failed to secure its fourth consecutive year as the world’s greatest restaurant. Redzepi and company were knocked down to number two on the list, bested by El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. Copenhagen's Geranium placed 45th on this year's list. 

Earlier this year, the academy in charge of the 'World's 50 Best Restaurants' rankings praised Noma’s “innovative, inventive and – of course – ground-breaking approach to cooking” on its website, calling the eatery a “restaurant of extraordinary pedigree, where passion and honesty is reflected in every mouthful". The accolades came only a month after dozens of Noma diners became ill due to a staff member’s norovirus spreading to customers.

“It’s hard; nothing can prepare you for it,” Redzepi told Toronto-based website the Star of the outbreak. “You realise you’ve become this thing where every little item is hugely interesting [for people]. This attack of a virus is the same as when a dishwasher breaks. You fix it. So we fixed it.”

The Restaurant magazine rankings have come under criticism for their credibility in recent years. The rankings are the result of a poll of over 900 journalists, chefs and restaurateurs, who each select seven restaurants around the world.

Restaurants are ranked based on the sheer number of votes received, however, not overall rankings – which, as Restaurant magazine’s editor William Drew told the Wall Street Journal, “inevitably” favours restaurants that are visited more frequently, which often tend to be in larger cities.

But luckily for Noma, judges may only vote on restaurants where they have dined in the 18 months prior to voting, meaning that the period for 2013’s rankings were between May 2011 and October 2012. And if a restaurant drops off the list, the website explained, it’s not necessarily due to an incident like Noma’s norovirus.

“It does not necessarily represent a decline in the standards of that restaurant,” their website explained. “It could be an indication of shifting culinary tastes, or it could also represent that a geographical area is becoming more important.”




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