1) El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
Celebrated as one of Spain’s most exciting restaurants, El Celler de Can Roca is run by the three Roca brothers, Joan (pictured), Josep and Jordi. The menu features creative twists on traditional Catalonian food, with a strong emphasis on “emotional cuisine” – food chosen to trigger certain feelings or memories.
2) Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
The restaurant which brought Nordic cuisine to the world’s attention, Noma is found in a former warehouse on the dockside in Copenhagen. Run by chef René Redzepi, the name is a portmanteau of the two Danish words: “nordisk” (Nordic) and “mad” (food).
3) Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
Italian tradition and cutting-edge cooking meet at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, a low-key restaurant serving high-end food in a back street in the medieval city of Modena.
4) Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
Mugaritz was the victim of a terrible fire in 2010, after which it was rebuilt from scratch. But the experimental restaurant, run by Andoni Aduriz (pictured), has retained a loyal following – even if it has dropped one place this year.
5) Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA
New York dining doesn’t come much grander than Eleven Madison Park, which has leapt five places up the list. Executive chef Daniel Humm and general manager Will Guidara serve seasonal cuisine in elegant surroundings.
6) D.O.M, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Chef Alex Atala sources ingredients from all over Brazil, from the everyday to the truly bizarre, for his restaurant in the centre of Sao Paulo.
7) Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner opened to great fanfare in 2011, and entered the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List the following year. The menu is inspired by historic British dishes. Here is Heston with chef Ashley Palmer-Watts.
8) Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
Hallowed dining institution Arzak was one of the founders of New Basque cuisine, and has retained eighth place on the list this year. It is run by Juan Mari Arzak (pictured) and his daughter Elena.
9) Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
One of Vienna’s most famous restaurants, Steirereck enjoys a beautiful location in the city’s central Stadtpark. The menu concentrates on historic Austrian dishes, often using forgotten ingredients, and with an emphasis on sustainability.
10) Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
The name may be French, but this restaurant focuses on traditional German ingredients presented in showstopping and unusual ways.
11) Per Se, New York, USA
Thomas Keller’s Per Se is a New York institution, offering fine dining with inspiring views over Central Park.
12) Frantzén/Lindeberg, Stockholm, Sweden
East meets West at Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg’s restaurant, where the menu fuses Nordic and Asian cuisine.
13) The Ledbury, London, UK
Australian chef Brett Graham opened his Notting Hill restaurant The Ledbury in 2005. Despite being hit by violence during the 2011 London riots, it has continued to go from strength to strength, and has gained one place this year.
14) Astrid y Gastón, Lima, Peru
Up an impressive 21 places from last year, this restaurant began life serving largely Peruvian cuisine, but now takes inspiration from all over the globe.
15) Alinea, Chicago, USA
Chef-owner Grant Achatz loves pushing the boundaries at his dazzlingly inventive Chicago restaurant, which ‘combines food with science and art’.
16) L’Arpège, Paris, France
Alain Passard’s elegant restaurant has garnered many awards. It is particularly noted for its excellent vegetarian cooking.
17) Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
‘Mexican cuisine with personal style, using local ingredients and both ancient as well as modern culinary technique’, is how Pujol’s website describes this popular restaurant in Mexico City. It is up 19 places this year.
18) Le Chateaubriand, Paris, France
Self-taught chef Inaki Aizpitarte runs this stylish and inventive bistro in the City of Light.
19) Le Bernardin, New York, USA
French seafood restaurant Le Bernardin began life in Paris in the 1970s and moved to New York in 1986, where it’s been a firm favourite ever since.
20) Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
Imaginative, nature-inspired food using seasonal ingredients is one of the hallmarks of Narisawa, run by celebrated Japanese chef Yoshihiro Narisawa. It’s jumped six places up the list this year.