Shock ranking on 51-100 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, South Africa drops out of Top 50 list!


It was a shock to see today that none of our country’s top restaurants have made the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, with both The Test Kitchen and La Colombe named today in the 51 – 100 ranking list, announced a week ahead of the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurant ceremony in Melbourne next Wednesday!

The Test Kitchen was at 22nd place last year, and had climbed up the rankings speedily, from 28th position in 2015, 48th position in 2014, and 61st position in 2013. The Test Kitchen was named ‘The One to Watch’ when it first entered the 51 – 100 List in 2013.  Now it has dropped 41 places, to 63rd position. 

In October last year the restaurant reopened after a six week closure, having made a number of changes, including being open for dinner only, reducing the number of covers to 45, increasing the size of the Tasting Menu to 21 dishes, rearranging the restaurant interior into two sections, and introducing a new booking service, to reduce the waiting time to book from the previous six months. These and other changes were designed to get The Test Kitchen into the Top Three World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, I was told by a former The Test Kitchen chef! We have seen and heard many complaints about the restaurant, and the main complaints are that it is still impossible to get a restaurant table, even if one tries to book one minute after midnight on the first day of a new month, for a table for that month. What has not gone down well is the lack of integrity, it having been announced initially that Lunch would no longer be served. However, soon after reopening, one heard that a table of up to twelve persons could be booked, with a venue hire fee, and an additional appearance fee if Chef Luke Dale-Roberts should be wished to be present!  Added to the restaurant changes made, Chef Luke Dale-Roberts may have extended himself with the opening of his fourth restaurant this year, at The Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg. He also owns The Pot Luck Club and The Shortmarket Club. 

The Test Kitchen to up its fare, aims to do even better on World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards!

Tamsin Snyman, World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy Chairman: Africa & Indian Ocean Islands, commented as follows on Facebook about the disappointing performance by The Test Kitchen:

The World’s 50 Best have embarked on a global roadshow with the awards taking place in different countries around the world. The international dining audience is following this global movement and navigating themselves hot on the heels of the awards wherever it might be hosted next.  I am of the opinion that The Test Kitchen did not obtain a listing within the top 50 benchmark due mainly to the fact that the restaurant was closed for almost two months last year for major interior design and menu changes. In addition, once the restaurant re-opened, it was only taking bookings one month in advance at the time, which would have played a role in limiting international diner’s exposure to experience and vote for The Test Kitchen. Furthermore, the recent changes to the restaurant sees only 40 guests being served a bespoke tasting menu, available for dinner only. With The Test Kitchen now amending its advance booking policy to a three month lead period added with the current focus of the World’s 50 Best roadshow being celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere, I am excited to see the developments for next year’. 

La Colombe, under the management of Executive Chef Scot Kirton, entered the 51 -100 Restaurant List at 76th place last year, and has moved up three places this year, to 73rd rank. When Chef Luke Dale-Roberts ran the kitchen at La Colombe, when it was still based at Constantia Uitsig, it climbed to its best ranking ever, of 12th position in 2010.

Restaurants which were in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016, and have dropped down to the 51-100 list, are Estela in New York, The Test Kitchen in Cape Town, Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo, Fäviken in Sweden, Biko in Mexico City, Combal Zero in Italy, and Schloss Schauenstein in Switzerland. 

The only restaurant at which I have eaten on the list below is Estela in New York, at number 44 last year, and now down to 66th rank. It was very disappointing relative to its World’s 50 Best Restaurant peers in New York, as our review reflects from last year. 

Restaurant Review: Estela small plate menu, small venue! 44th Best in world!


The 51-100 list originates from the votes of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy as part of same process that creates the 1-50 ranking. For 2017, the Academy was expanded to include 1,040 voters worldwide, with each member casting 10 votes for their best restaurants (up from 7 in 2016). Of these 10 choices, at least 4 must be for restaurants outside of the voter’s home region‘, the media statement informs.

The 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, ranked from 51 to 100, follows:

51   Mikla, Istanbul

52   Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo

53   Burnt Ends, Singapore

54   Lyle’s, London

55   Disfrutar, Barcelona (Winner: Miele One To Watch Award)

56   Neruda, Bilbao

57   Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden

58   Momofuku Ko, New York

59   Combal Zero , Rivoli, Italy 

60  81⁄2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong

61   Hertog Jan, Bruges 

62   Quique Dacosta, Denia, Spain

63   The Test Kitchen, Cape Town,

64   La Grenouillère, La Madelaine-sous-Mountreuil

65   Biko, Mexico City

66   Estela, New York

67   Benu, San Francisco

68   The French Laundry, Yountville, USA

69   Hiša Franki, Kobarid, Slovenia (Ana Roš, Winner: The World’s Best Female Chef 2017)

70   Aqua, Wolfsburg, Germany

71   Lung King Heen, Hong Kong 

72   Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland

73   La Colombe, Cape Town

74   The Jane, Antwerp 

75   Sud 777, Mexico City

76   Lasai, Rio de Janeiro

77   Martin Berasategui, Lasarte-Oria, Spain

78   Indian Accent, New Delhi

79   Maaemo, Oslo

80   Le Cinq, Paris

81   Maní, São Paulo

82   Chef’s Table At Brooklyn Fare, New York

83   Atelier Crenn, San Francisco 

84   The Restaurant at Meadowood, St Helena, USA

85   Belcanto, Lisbon 

86   Odette, Singapore

87   Per Se, New York 

88   Selfie, Moscow 

89   Mingles, Seoul

90   Manresa, Los Gatos, USA

91   St John, London 

92   Twins, Moscow 

93   Le Chateaubriand, Paris 

94   Kadeau, Copenhagen

95   Quay, Sydney 

96   Epicure, Paris 

97   Sushi Saito, Tokyo

98   Hedone, London 

99   Florilège, Tokyo

100   Olympe, Rio de Janeiro

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Twitter: @TheWorlds50Best

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein


Please follow and like us:
Tweet 27k

WhaleTales Blog


We don’t spam!

Read our privacy policy for more info.