The World’s 50 Best Restaurants — a problematic but nonetheless popular award system — is out with the back part of its 2019 list, giving nods to New York City restaurants Momofuku Ko, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Estela, Per Se, and Atomix.
The list this year expands from 100 to 120 entries, giving room for Thomas Keller’s fine-dining restaurant Per Se at no. 115 and Korean newcomer Atomix at no. 119 to make it on. Higher entries have David Chang’s Ko landing at no. 76, tasting counter Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare at no. 77, and small plates wonder Estela at no. 80.
It’s a mixed amount of changes from last year’s long list, which had Ko higher up at no. 62 and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare at no. 69. But Estela was bumped up three spots, and this is Atomix’s first year on the list. Soho French restaurant Le Coucou, though, is absent from this year’s long list; it had been at no. 85 in 2018.
But the biggest change comes for Per Se, which landed at no. 81 last year versus no. 115 this year — marking a 34-spot drop. Back in 2013, the haute Columbus Circle restaurant ranked in the top ten, and since then, it’s gone way down. Had the list not extended to 120 this year, Per Se would not be featured at all.
The highly influential restaurant hasn’t been reviewed since some brutal downgrades several years ago. In 2014, Eater critic Ryan Sutton downgraded it, saying the icon was “showing its age, and in 2016, the Times’s critic Pete Wells also had stern words, similarly demoting the restaurant.
The longer list can also be indicative of what’s to come on spots one through 50. Cosme, Le Bernardin, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns were all placed highly on the top 50 list last year, and their absence from this year’s long list suggests they’ll still be there.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list has received criticism over the years for its often Eurocentric, male-led picks, though it announced this year that it’s trying to diversify its picks. The top 50 restaurant list will be announced on Tuesday. For now, the back part of the list is below.
Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.