The World’s 50 Best Restaurants? Says Who?

If you had called for a reservation at the restaurant Noma in Copenhagen on Saturday, April 24, 2010, you could have dined there that night. By the time it next opened, the following Monday, you would have faced competition from 100,000 people to get a table. In the intervening 48 hours, Noma had won the top spot on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

In the nine years since the list was started by the British trade magazine Restaurant, a place on the 50 Best list has become one of the most sought-after honors for restaurateurs. As many will learn Monday, when the 2011 rankings are announced in London, a spot can catapult a place from insider favorite to impossible-to-get-into destination.

Even coming in 49th has benefits. In 2010, six years after it earned its second Michelin star, Claude Bosi’s restaurant, Hibiscus, in London made the list for the first time, in that position. “Business after the awards was, like, stupid,” Mr. Bosi said. “Until then, we would be pretty dead during the summer because all the locals go out of town. But we were full of tourists, lots of people from Asia.”

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