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Everything You Need To Know About The World Restaurant Award 2019 Winners

It’s the awards’ inaugural year – and there’s not a stuffy category in sight

Posted on

20 February 2019

The World Restaurant Award 2019 Winners

All Credits: PA

If you’re bored of the usual food-award accolades, like ‘Chef of the Year’, and the bestowing of stars, as designated by a tyre manufacturer, the new World Restaurant Awards are hoping to shake things up.

The aim of the founders – including Joe Warwick, who co-founded The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list – is to “celebrate restaurants as culture, considered in the same way as film, art and music”.

This means acknowledging restaurants for the likes of atmosphere and their house special, or for having the most captivating Instagram account.

So, here’s what you need to know about the big winners, announced in Paris on Monday…

Claiming both the Off-Map Destination and Restaurant of the Year awards, rustic Wolfgat is the work of chef Kobus van der Merwe – and is pretty spectacular for its view (it’s right on the edge of the ocean) and its history (the whitewashed restaurant dates back 130 years, and on the land, there’s a cave “of immense archaeological and geological significance”). The food is seasonal and in the form of a seven-course tasting menu – plus, you’ll find plants from nearby rock pools on your plate.

Paradiso X Gortnanain, Ireland


Vegetarian restaurant Paradiso is run by chef Denis Cotter in Cork City, and it’s been noted for its work and friendship with Gortnanain Farm, headed up by Ultan Walsh – together they won Collaboration of the Year. They really love their veg.

Creativity and artistic expression are championed by the Original Thinking award, nabbed by Le Clarence, a restaurant in a 19th century Parisian townhouse that hopes to transport you to the Age of Enlightenment as you walk through the doors. When it comes to the food, chef Christophe Pelé takes French classics and – so we’re told – makes them “audacious, modern and devilishly seductive”.

A cheesy, peppery pasta dish should be pretty straightforward, but cacio e pepe can easily make or break a restaurant. Fortunately for Lido 84, perched on Lake Garda, and chef Riccardo Camanini, they’ve nailed it. Theirs, which is cooked inside a pig’s bladder, won the House Special award.

Lara Gilmore and her husband, chef Massimo Bottura launched non-profit organisation Food For Soul in 2016 “to empower communities to fight food waste through social inclusion”. They were awarded the Ethical Thinking accolade for their ‘Refettorios’ – or community kitchens – set up in disused spaces for people to cook with surplus food supplies, and eat together.

Vespertine, USA



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F A C E T

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Californian restaurant Vespertine is more a live art experience than a quick dinner out, hence why it’s won the award for Atmosphere. Described as an “immersive, multi-sensory event”, dining here involves entering the culinary mind of chef Jordan Kahn, and a four-story warped tower – it’s all very sci-fi.

Meanwhile, in the smaller, more frivolous ‘Small Plate’ category, six awards were handed out, including…

Bo.lan, Thailand was hailed for having a tweezer-free kitchen; Alain Ducasse won the tattoo-free chef award; Noble Rot, London nabbed the Red-Wine Serving Restaurant, and Alain Passard nabbed best Instagram account (@alain_passard), perhaps for his jaunty poses.



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Bon week-end à tous ! Demain, l’automne commence !

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