The first ingredient is patience. It takes time and preparation to eat at the world’s best restaurants, whether to save money to go (they’re not exactly cheap) or to make reservations and travel arrangements. On Monday, in London, the World’s 50 Best unveiled its 2022 list of the world’s best restaurants. The list includes new entries and old standards. Another Nordic restaurant, Geranium, is the new number one on the list, which was revealed this Monday in London. The establishment is led by chef Rasmus Kofoed and serves an entirely plant-based menu. It replaces the five-time winner Noma, also from Denmark,
Second place went to a Latino establishment: Central, a project by Virgilio Martínez and Pía de Leon that celebrates Peru’s biodiversity. The top five also includes two Spanish restaurants: Barcelona’s Enjoy, led by Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas in third place, and DiverXo fourth. Fifth place went to Mexico’s Pujol.
Some of these restaurants are exorbitantly priced and others are more affordable. Some have endless waitlists while others have seating available in a few weeks. The following is a guide of what to expect, and how much to anticipate spending, when booking a table at the top five restaurants in the world.
1. Geranium Restaurant (Copenhagen, Denmark)
What you’ll eat: Mystery is part of the Geranium experience. “My kitchen at Geranium has long been focused on vegetables, fish & shellfish as the star on the plate, with small quantities of meat,” said Danish chef Rasmus Kofoed on his Instagram account in late 2021, talking about his restaurant’s change in direction: more vegetables and no more meat. “The menu is a reflection of me, of who I am and how I am evolving as a chef and as a human being. I haven’t been eating meat for the last five years at home, so to no longer use meat on the new menu was a logical decision and a natural progression for Geranium,” he explained. A tasting menu of about 30 dishes, which change depending on the season, features sustainable, hyper-local ingredients and showcases the food’s artistic presentation. One of the most comprehensive reviews, from the blog Accounting For Taste, which specializes in Michelin-starred restaurants, highlighted dishes such as the grilled lobster and milk with juice from fermented carrots and sea buckthorn and the crispy Fjord prawns with oyster and truffle seaweed.
How much it will cost: The basic tasting menu, which is eaten over the course of three hours, costs 3,200 Danish kroner (around $438).
The wait time for a reservation: The restaurant’s website recommends patience: “The earliest one can reserve a table is three months in advance.” However, the team is currently on vacation and will not be answering calls or emails until August 11.
2. Central (Lima, Peru)
What you’ll eat: A succulent and beautiful showcase of Peru’s biodiversity awaits at Lima’s Central, where chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León preside. “We emphasize the experience, not just a delicious dish,” Martínez told EL PAÍS in 2021. This experience can be enjoyed through four different options: two menus of 12 bites and another two with 14 different dishes, in which one travels the Amazon, the desert, the Andes or the Peruvian coast. Each of these offerings can be accompanied by a special beverage pairing.
How much it will cost: The two 12-course menus cost 782 soles per person ($197), while the 14-course menus costs 846 soles ($215). The beverage pairings, customized for each experience, range from 215 soles ($54) for non-alcoholic beverages, to 446 soles ($113) for drink pairings that include South American fermented and distilled alcohol and wines.
The wait time for a reservation: Currently, Central is only accepting reservations through December. In order to have lunch or dinner, Monday through Saturday from 12.45 pm to 1.45 pm or 7 pm to 8.30 pm.
3. Enjoy (Barcelona, Spain)
What you’ll eat: Disfrutar restaurant’s Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch offer their diners two menu options: Disfrutar Classic and Disfrutar Festival. The first consists of 29 bites that are already house specialties, such as a version of the tapa Gilda, an update of the typical pickled banderilla (a skewered appetizer), which combines a preserved fish, usually an anchovy; an olive; and a piparra (a long green narrow pepper). The Disfrutar Festival option allows one to enjoy seasonal dishes. El Bulli restaurant’s last three chefs also offer a unique gastronomic adventure through their special menu table, which they call the “living” table. Reserved for a small party (a minimum of one person and a maximum of six people), the offering can only be enjoyed in the restaurant’s laboratory, which is located in the R&D kitchen in the building’s basement.
How much it will cost: The Disfrutar Classic and Disfrutar Festival tasting menus are both priced at €235 ($240). Both can be accompanied by an optional wine pairing, which costs €110 ($112). The “special menu table M#01 (the “living table”) costs more, up to €1,000 ($1,020) for one person, or €350 ($357) per person for a group of five or six people.
The wait time for a reservation: The restaurant serves lunch (from 1pm to 2.15 pm) and dinner (from 8pm to 9.15 pm); Disfrutar is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant’s website says that online reservations are available 365 days in advance of the current date. On July 19, the first available reservation was for December 12, 2022.
4. DiverXO (Madrid, Spain)
What you will eat: The “flying pigs cuisine” is not made up of plates but rather of canvases. That’s what Madrid-born chef Dabiz Muñoz calls the nearly 20 dishes that make up his menu. It starts with an assortment of appetizers, then moves on to the chef’s most famous bites. There is the so-called “Mundo al revés (the world upside down),” a house specialty in which salad is the main course and three different fishes serve as the garnish. Another highlight is the “Galician lobster awakening on the beaches of Goa,” a dish that combines ingredients from distant cuisines to create a journey of flavors. Spiciness, citrus, and a fusion of Asian and Mediterranean cuisines heavily influence the entire menu, which includes dumplings, salmorejo (a classic Spanish cold soup typically made with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and bread), lamb, curries, jalapeños, and rabbit brains.
How much it will cost: The tasting menu at Dabiz Muñoz’s restaurant is now priced at €360 ($367), making it one of Spain’s most expensive menus. A selection of wines will set you back an additional €150 ($153); the “high-flying” wine pairing increases the price by another €300 ($306).
The wait time for a reservation: On the 1st of each month, the restaurant’s reservation system opens the calendar for the next two months. When booking a table, one must pay the tasting menu price.
5. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
What you will eat: Enrique Olvera’s restaurant offers two types of gastronomic experiences to enjoy his interpretation of contemporary Mexican cuisine: the tasting menu, which is served in seven parts and is offered at tables in Pujol’s lounge; and the omakase or taco menu, which is inspired by the Japanese bar ritual in which the chef’s whims determine what the diners eat. The omakase menu is served in nine parts, primarily emphasizing tacos and corn-derived ingredients. Corn figures prominently in both experiences. The restaurant’s most iconic dish is mole madre: a Oaxacan black mole that is prepared with over 100 ingredients, including tomatoes, nuts, herbs, nutmeg and seasonal fruits; the mole is tasted on its own.
How much it will cost: The tasting menu costs 2565 pesos ($124) per person, not including drinks. The omakase taco option costs 2900 pesos, about $140.
The wait time for a reservation: The restaurant recommends making reservations five to seven weeks in advance.