La Colombe in Constantia, Cape Town, has been selected as the 12th best restaurant in the world, in the 2010 ‘S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards’, announced in London by Restaurant magazine yesterday.   This is the best performance by a South African restaurant ever in the 8 year history of the Awards, in achieving the highest ranking.   La Colombe was also named the Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Africa and the Middle East.   La Colombe improved its performance relative to 2009 by an astounding 26 positions, having been a new entrant to the list last year.  La Colombe is also the top restaurant in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants list in South Africa.

Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek, which has previously performed best in South Africa on this restaurant list, was ranked in 31 st position, an improvement of 6 places.   Rust en Vrede outside Stellenbosch was ranked in 74th position.

The Top 50 awards caused some upsets, in that El Bulli, the number one restaurant for 3 years running, dropped to second place, behind Noma in Denmark, and The Fat Duck in the UK dropped by one position as well, to reach 3rd place, despite having to close for a while last year when many of its customers became ill after eating at the restaurant.   No Gordon Ramsay restaurant is on the Top 100 list for the second year running.   The French Laundry has been a highly rated restaurant in the USA, and it dropped 20 positions, into 32nd place.   Other big drops in ranking were experienced by Die Schwarzwaldstube in Germany and St John in the UK.  Fast climbs up the ladder were Daniel in the USA (up by 33 positions), Le Chateaubriand In France, Mathias Dahlgren in Sweden, Quay in Australia, and Iggy’s in Singapore.

The top ten restaurants of the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants are the following:

1.   Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark

2.   El Bulli, outside Roses, Spain

3.   The Fat Duck in Bray, UK (and voted as The Chef’s Choice)

4.   El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, Spain

5.   Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain

6.   Osteria Francescana, in Modena, Italy

7.   Alinea, in Chicago, USA

8.   Daniel, in New York, USA

9.   Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain

10.  Per Se in New York, USA.

The world’s best of the top restaurants are based in the USA (8), France (6), Spain and Italy (with 5 each), and the United Kingdom (4).

The top 50 restaurants in the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants can be viewed here.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: