The Voting System

The Voting System

The World's 50 Best Restaurants list provides an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of 1,080 international restaurant industry experts. It is a globally recognised gastronomic reference point which showcases leading trends and highlights great restaurants from all corners of the Earth.

What constitutes ‘best’ is left to the judgement of these trusted and well-travelled gourmets. There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria, but there are strict voting rules. From 2019, members of the Best of the Best group, which is made up of former No.1 restaurants on the list, are not eligible in the annual ranking.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ voting process and results are subject to independent adjudication by world-renowned professional services consultancy Deloitte.

The list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants has been published every year since 2002, with the exception of 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global restaurant industry. Instead, the brand devoted itself to fundraising and supporting the sector with the initiative 50 Best for Recovery

How The Voting Works

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and awards are organised and compiled by William Reed. None of the employees of the organiser, or of any of the sponsors associated with the awards, is part of the voting Academy.

The list is created from the votes of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, comprising 1,080 international restaurant industry experts, with a 50/50 gender balance. It is split into 27 separate regions around the world; each region has its own voting panel of 40 members including a chairperson to head it up. At least 25% of the panellists from each region change each year.

The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and well-travelled gourmets, each of whom has 10 votes. Some regions span more than one country. The decision as to how the world is divided up is left to the organiser and regional chairs and is debated and reassessed annually. The divisions are designed to represent the global restaurant scene at the current time as fairly as possible. 

The Voting Rules

  • Voting is strictly confidential before the awards’ announcement
  • In 2023, each Academy member votes for between 6 and 10 restaurants depending on their ability to travel internationally; a maximum of 6 restaurants can be located in the voter's home region
  • Academy members submit their choices in order of preference
  • Academy members must have eaten in the restaurants they nominate in the last 18 months – and are asked to confirm this fact for each of their nominations
  • Academy members must confirm the date of their last visit to each of the restaurants they nominate
  • Academy members are not permitted to vote for restaurants they own or have a financial interest in – and are asked to confirm this fact for each of their nominations
  • Academy members cannot vote for a restaurant based on a dining experience that does not take place at the restaurant itself; for example, when a restaurant or chef stages dinners in different locations
  • Academy members cannot vote for a restaurant that is closed or will close within 3 months of the lists being published. They therefore cannot vote for a temporary restaurant or ‘pop-up’
  • Nominations must be made for the restaurant, not for the restaurateur or the chef (except in the case of special individual awards)
  • Academy members should remain anonymous with regard to being on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy

There are no criteria that a restaurant has to meet. They do not have to sell a certain product. They do not need to have been open a certain number of years and they do not need to have won any other culinary accolades.

This method means that restaurants cannot apply to be on the list, and cannot be nominated. It also means that every restaurant in the world is eligible, unless it is part of the Best of the Best group, it has (permanently) closed at the time that the lists are announced, or we receive notice that it will be closing in the period shortly after the results are published.

Best of the Best

The Best of the Best group was introduced in 2019 and is formed of those restaurants that have been named No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants since the list’s inception. These venues have more than proved their worth and are now honoured as iconic dining destinations in the Best of the Best 'hall of fame', making them ineligible to be voted in the annual World's 50 Best Restaurants ranking.

The chefs and restaurateurs who have led these restaurants to the pinnacle of the list have expressed the desire to invest in the future of the sector and give back to the food world through new projects and initiatives. After a new restaurant reaches the No.1 position, it is then elevated into Best of the Best and automatically becomes ineligible for voting in future years. These restaurants form the elite Best of the Best group: 

  • El Bulli (voted No.1 in 2002, 2006-2009)
  • The French Laundry (2003-2004)
  • The Fat Duck (2005)
  • Noma (2010-2012, 2014, 2021)
  • El Celler de Can Roca (2013, 2015)
  • Osteria Francescana (2016, 2018)
  • Eleven Madison Park (2017)
  • Mirazur (2019)
  • Geranium (2022)

The second iteration of restaurant Noma (sometimes referred to as Noma 2.0) was eligible for voting in 2019 and 2021 due to three key changes from the original restaurant: its location, concept and ownership. As such, it was considered a new restaurant.

Independent Adjudication

Professional services consultancy Deloitte is the official independent adjudicator of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Deloitte has been granted full and independent access to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants voting process and data and has performed certain procedures to confirm the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list.

In order to guarantee a fair relationship between the percentage of votes a region receives and their proportionate representation in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, in the event of a significant variance, Deloitte will apply a normalisation process to the voting data.

About Deloitte

Founded in 1845, Deloitte has grown to become one of the world’s pre-eminent and most trusted professional services consultancies. As part of its wide-ranging portfolio, Deloitte works with companies in all areas of the licensed retail industry and has considerable experience in proving bespoke adjudication services for a number of internationally recognised awards.

It has a dedicated team devoted to the restaurant sector that specialises in a comprehensive range of audit and advisory services, complemented by industry-specific knowledge and the leverage of a network of specialist expertise across the UK, Europe, the US and Asia. In the sector, Deloitte works with businesses spanning one-site start-ups through to FTSE-listed groups – and it is proud to be acting as independent adjudicator for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.