Melbourne's Attica named 20th in World's 50 Best Restaurants 2018

Attica restaurant in Ripponlea is among the top 20 restaurants in the world.
Attica restaurant in Ripponlea is among the top 20 restaurants in the world. Photo: Colin Page

Melbourne's Attica has once again been recognised as the top restaurant in Australia at The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards held overnight in Bilbao, Spain.

The small Ripponlea restaurant led by New Zealand expat chef Ben Shewry climbed 12 places from its 2017 placement of No. 32 to come in at No. 20. on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list for 2018 and be named the best restaurant in Australasia.

Grilled marron with desert lime at Attica.
Grilled marron with desert lime at Attica. Photo: Colin Page

It was the first time Attica has placed within the top 20 of the restaurant list - often referred to as "the Oscars of the food world" - after debuting at No. 21 in 2013. Attica was also named Restaurant of the Year at The Good Food Guide awards in October.

Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, was named world's best restaurant for the second time. Past winner El Celler de Can Roca in Spain came in at No.2 and progressive Mediterranean restaurant Mirazur rounded out the top three.  

Last year's winner, New York City's Eleven Madison Park, slipped to No.4. Bangkok's Gaggan, where the menu is written in emoji, placed fifth to be named the best restaurant in Asia.

Attica's Ben Shewry.
Attica's Ben Shewry. Photo: Colin Page

Chef Dan Hunter's three-hatted Brae in Birregurra, regional Victoria, slipped from No. 44 in 2017 to land in 58th position on the "long list" of restaurants placed between 51 and 100 announced last week.

Although Attica had a strong placing, overall it was Australia's poorest representation on the list since the awards began 16 years ago. This was in spite of Tourism Australia and Visit Victoria spending millions to host the The World's 50 Best Restaurants gala event at Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building last year.

The hugely influential list is determined by a voting academy of more than 1000 international restaurant industry experts. It is understood that a prime objective for hosting the awards in Melbourne was to bring academy members to Australia and provide them with opportunities to experience - and hopefully vote for -  the country's best restaurants.

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Tourism Australia managing director John O'Sullivan said that hosting The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards in 2017 had provided "a global platform to showcase Australia's culinary credentials to some of the most influential food and wine figures in the world".

"Of course, we'd all like to see more of our restaurants on the list but, importantly, World's 50 Best Restaurants has helped increase international food and wine spending and improved the perception of Australia's food and wine overseas."

O'Sullivan congratulated Ben Shewry and Attica for being named one of the world's best restaurants for another year.

"Ben Shewry's culinary credentials speak for themselves but it is his continued passion and advocacy in helping to tell Australia's food and wine story for which we're truly indebted," he said.

Judges must have dined at any restaurant they voted for within the last 18 months, which may have been a reason for Eleven Madison Park's slip from the top position. The $430-a-head restaurant spent four months closed for renovations last year which essentially meant there were fewer opportunities for judges to experience chef Daniel Humm's celery root cooked in a pig's bladder.

Four-time number one restaurant, Noma, was missing in action completely. Although it reopened to high praise in February after 12 months closure, the Copenhagen restaurant had not been operating long enough at its new site to qualify for this year's awards.  

Other Australians representing on the list included David Thompson and Newcastle's Brett Graham. Graham's London restaurant, The Ledbury, placed at No. 42, down from No. 27 in 2017 while Thompson's Nahm in Bangkok came in at No. 49, down from No. 28 last year. (Thompson concluded his involvement with the Thai restaurant in April.)

The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards began life in 2002 as a feature in British trade magazine Restaurant and is owned by William Reed Business Media.

1-50 World's 50 Best Restaurants 2018 

1. Osteria Francescana, Modena (Italy) BEST RESTAURANT IN EUROPE and BEST RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD

2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona (Spain)

3. Mirazur, Menton (France)

4. Eleven Madison Park, New York (USA) BEST RESTAURANT IN NORTH AMERICA

5. Gaggan, Bangkok (Thailand) BEST RESTAURANT IN ASIA

6. Central, Lima (Peru) BEST RESTAURANT IN SOUTH AMERICA

7. Maido, Lima (Peru)

8. Arpège, Paris (France)

9. Mugaritz, San Sebastian (Spain)

10. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo (Spain)

11. Quintonil, Mexico City (Mexico)

12. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Tarrytown (USA) 

13. Pujol, Mexico City (Mexico)

14. Steirereck, Vienna (Austria)

15. White Rabbit, Moscow (Russia)

16. Piazza Duomo, Alba (Italy)

17. Den, Tokyo (Japan) | Highest Climber

18. Disfrutar, Barcelona (Spain) | Highest New Entry

19. Geranium, Copenhagen (Denmark) | Art of Hospitality Award

20. Attica, Melbourne (Australia) BEST RESTAURANT IN AUSTRALASIA

21. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris (France)

22. Narisawa, Tokyo (Japan)

23. Le Calandre, Rubano (Italy)

24. Ultraviolet, Shanghai (China)

25. Cosme, New York (USA)

26. Le Bernardin, New York (USA)

27. Boragò, Santiago (Chile)

28. Odette, Singapore

29. Alléno Paris at Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris (France) 

30. D.O.M. , Sao Paulo (Brazil)

31. Arzak, San Sebastian (Spain)

32. Tickets, Barcelona (Spain)

33. The Clove Club, London (UK)

34. Alinea, Chicago (USA)

35. Maaemo, Oslo (Norway)

36. Reale, Castel di Sangro (Italy)

37. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin (Germany)

38. Lyle's, London (UK)

39. Astrid Y Gastón, Lima (Peru)

40. Septime, Paris (France) 

41. Nihonryori Ryugin, Tokyo (Japan)

42. The Ledbury, London (UK)

43. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu (Spain)

44. Mikla, Instanbul (Turkey)

45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (UK)

46. Saison, San Francisco (USA)

47. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau (Switzerland)

48. Hiša Franko, Kobarid (Slovenia)

49. Nahm, Bangkok (Thailand)

50. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town (South Africa) BEST RESTAURANT IN AFRICA