11 Israeli Restaurants Make French Ranking of World’s 1,000 Best Restaurants

Israel had only four restaurants on the French Foreign Ministry list, which uses an algorithm to determine placings, three years ago

Yossi Shitrit’s Mashya. One of the best restaurants in Israel.
Tomer Appelbaum

Good news for connoisseurs of food and restaurants in Israel and abroad: In a ceremony held over the weekend in Paris, La Liste, the full list of the 1,000 best restaurants, was unveiled.

The news is particularly good for Israeli restaurateurs, who may be surprised to find their restaurants on the list. If three years ago only four Israeli restaurants were included, and last year 10, there are now 11 with good ratings, which were determined with algorithms this time too.

Blue Sky. The best restaurant in Israel according to the French Foreign Ministry list.
David Bachar

This is the third year in which the leading Israeli restaurant is Meir Adoni’s Blue Sky, with a weighted score of 96.75 (ranked in 108th place with an additional 11 restaurants, including Maido, ranked the best in South America). That ranking placed it higher than highly regarded restaurants such as Thomas Keller’s Per Se, with three Michelin stars, and Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck.

The next Israeli restaurant on the list is also Meir Adoni’s: his second kosher restaurant, Lumina (which improved its score to 96.25). These are followed by Yossi Shitrit’s Mashya (91); Herbert Samuel in Herzliya (88.75); Manta Ray in Tel Aviv, which has been on the list from the start; David Biton’s La Regence in Jerusalem (86.25), followed by Pastel, Claro, Popina, Chakra and Dinings. If the list sounds familiar, it’s no wonder. It’s almost the same as last year’s.

Chef Meir Adoni. His restaurants were ranked as the best in the country.
Aviv Eylon

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Early in December 2015, the French Foreign Ministry announced that it was working on the preparation of a new global ranking of restaurants, which would provide a more reliable and comprehensive answer than the Michelin guides and the San Pellegrino listing of the 50 best restaurants. They claimed that these lists alone are not only tainted by business interests and corruption, but also ignore other guides, trends and food critiques, and therefore fail to reflect the global culinary situation.

Accordingly, the ministry preferred that the choice of the leading restaurants be conducted with an algorithm that would factor in about 300 guides (including Michelin and Zagat) and restaurant reviews in newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as important online food magazines such as Eater, according to criteria determined by a panel of experts. These criteria include service, ambience, value for money and flavor.

The weighted grades were sent to thousands of chefs all over the world so they could express their opinion and rate the sources for La Liste’s “trustworthiness index.” In the end, the French Foreign Ministry hoped to provide a less archaic solution as well as an opportunity for 135 countries, the majority of which are rarely visited by Michelin critics. In effect, a somewhat fossilized list with very slight changes.

Popina in Tel Aviv. Among the best in Israel.
David Bachar

A few days ago the committee behind La Liste revealed the 10 top restaurants. It turned out that the French Guy Savoy restaurant headed the list again, for the third consecutive years. It was followed by the American restaurant Le Bernadin and Ginza Kyubey in Japan.

Alain Ducasse took fourth place again, followed by the Swiss Hotel de Ville that was in first place four years ago, while in sixth place was the restaurant ranked the best in the world in 2017 by San Pellegrino: New York’s Eleven Madison Park. Next was the French restaurant La Vague d’Or, whose chef was chosen as the best in the world last week.

File photo: A dish at Yossi Shitrit’s restaurant Mashya in Tel Aviv.
Tomer Appelbaum

The list indicates that Japan has the greatest number of good restaurants, but China is the rising star. Japan leads with 135 restaurants (a decline of three since last year) and China closed the gap with 117 restaurants (a decline of six). It is followed by France with 115 restaurants (an increase of six), with the United States in fourth place with 89 restaurants (a jump of 19).

The best restaurant in America is Le Bernadin in New York (second place). In fifth place is Spain with 66 restaurants, followed by Italy with 54. Germany improved nicely with 52 restaurants, and England was next with 40. Russia, which was at the bottom of the list last year, jumped from one restaurant to 20. Turkey also improved its ranking with six restaurants this year.

With all due respect to Japan, China, France and the United States, which may have the largest number of restaurants, it was Switzerland, with 39 top restaurants in a population of 8 million, that has the highest ranking per person.

Also in the ranking: Belgium (24 restaurants); the Netherlands and Mexico (22 each); Austria (19); Sweden (14); Denmark (13); Morocco and South Africa (12 each); Israel (11); Thailand and South Korea (10 each); followed by Portugal, Peru, Brazil, Turkey and Qatar, which closes the list with four restaurants.