In February 2013, the region’s best chefs descended on Singapore, and in their wake followed restaurateurs, gourmands, foodies and food writers, intrigued to see who would be recognized by the first ever edition of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Now, on 28 March, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 has returned to the Lion City. And here is the list of the best restaurants in Asia.
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Back then, in 2013, Japan claimed top spot with Yoshihiro Narisawa’s eponymous Tokyo restaurant, Narisawa. And Japan claimed #1 again in 2022, when Den, also in Tokyo, took first place. So, this year there were lots of questions around whether a Tokyo restaurant would still be the best in Asia, or whether contenders from Singapore and Bangkok could reach the coveted top spot.
A Lot Has Changed But It’s Back To The Future For Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023
Lots has changed ten years on, but the location of the awards remained the same for 2023: Singapore. And, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants team were quick to point out, the objective of the events has always remained the same too during those ten years. “To celebrate outstanding restaurants, great chefs and reward culinary excellence across Asia by shining a light on the region’s rich and diverse gastronomic delights.”
Inevitably, this Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 announcement will stir up debate. But, as Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Chairman, Litti Kewkacha, recently reminded us, the value of the award is to provide a snapshot of sentiment at a moment in time, and not a definitive guide.
And, as the event’s co-host and 50 Best’s Director of Content William Drew reiterated to everyone at the beginning of the ceremony, the impact of the awards is bigger than the list. “We can all behave as a positive collective force for gastronomy,” he said.
After Bangkok 2022, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 Came To Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa On 28 March
This year Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 awards was a far more vibrant event than last year’s when the region was still reeling from the effects of the pandemic.
With travel restrictions still widely in place in March 2022, attendees had to endure hotel quarantines before the event held at Bangkok’s Aksra Theater King Power. The Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 event also had to host livestreams in Bangkok, Macau and Tokyo to ensure everyone could be involved. Fittingly, for an event hosted in Thailand, Sorn ascended to #2 and two Bangkok restaurants, both helmed by Chef Ton, were recognized in the top 10 – Le Du and Nusara. And, despite the low attendance, a palpable buzz filled the theater when street food royalty Jay Fai was recognized at #47 (and she climbed to #38 in this year’s awards).
And Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 Is The First Real Reunion For The Industry Since 2019
At Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 Awards, some chefs and restaurateurs were seeing each other for the first time since 2019. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants team justifiably called this Resorts World Sentosa-hosted event “a post-pandemic homecoming.”
To mark the occasion, the organization has expanded the number of special prizes to include Beronia Asia’s Best Sommelier Award, Flor de Caña’s Sustainable Restaurant Award and, of course, the tense countdown, from #50 to #1 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Pre-Announcements For Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 Best Female Chef, Icon Award And The American Express One To Watch
Already announced were Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 Best Female Chef, the Icon Award and the American Express One To Watch. In February, Johanne Siy, of Singapore’s Lolla Restaurant, was announced as Best Female Chef. The Dagupan-born chef also became the first female chef based in Singapore to take home the award. At Lolla, in a “smokey, cement-licked space” Johanne Siy serves set menus that change with the seasons. Fittingly, the 2022 winner, Natsuko Shoji of Tokyo’s Été, was on hand this year to pass on the baton.
Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023’s Icon Award went to Shinobu Namae from Tokyo’s L’Effervescence restaurant, where he’s been pioneering a very conscious kind of fine dining, that includes Namae foraging and free diving, and using sustainable firewood for cooking.
And the American Express One To Watch Award went to Hans Christian and Budi Cahyadi’s one-year-old restaurant, August, in Jakarta where they’ve quickly built a reputation for elegant and innovative Indonesian cuisine (and to whom Perriz Azwir handed the award at the ceremony in Singapore).
Plus The Earlier Announcement Of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 51-100 Rankings
And, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 previously announced the restaurants ranking 51-100 in February – the third time the expanded list has been announced. In total, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 51-100 list recognized 17 restaurants for the first time, including highlights like Chef Eiji Taniguchi’s off-the-beaten path restaurant, L’évo in Toyama at #60.
In total, Hong Kong was best represented with eight restaurants in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 51-100 list including this year’s highest new entry, Yong Fu at #54. Bangkok and Singapore both had six recognized restaurants. Taiwan had three, and Jakarta, just one, but with August, at #95, there was the consolation of taking the American Express One To Watch award back to Indonesia.
And the high number of restaurants dropping from Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 list – places like Samrub Samrub Thai, Gaa, Ministry of Crab, and Dewakan – paved the way for lots of exciting changes in the top 50 this year.
Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 Award’s Winners Are…
Among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 winners, perhaps most reassuringly of all, Restaurant Narisawa, the number one when Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants launched in the same country ten years ago, still featured at #10 on the list.
Singapore fared especially well with nine restaurants in the top 50, the highest of which was Odette, the former two-time number one, at #6, and whose Louisa Lim also won the Pastry Chef Of The Year Award.
Bangkok also had nine restaurants in the top 50. But the Philippines also did well, with two restaurants in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 list, Metiz and Toyo Eatery, which also won the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award and the best restaurant in the Philippines title.
Other restaurants winning country awards were Mume in Taipei, the best restaurant in Taiwan, Peter Cuong Franklin’s Anan Restaurant, at #40, named best restaurant in Vietnam, Shanghai’s Fu He Hui, at #18 and named the best restaurant in China. Then there was Masque, Mumbai, at #16, chosen as best restaurant in India, Mosu, Seoul, the best restaurant in South Korea. And The Chairman, Hong Kong, is another former number one that’s still the best restaurant in Hong Kong according to the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 Awards. And Sézanne Tokyo displaced Den, which was last year’s number one as best restaurant in Tokyo. Sézanne was narrowly beaten to the top spot this year, as Le Du forced it into second place and Chef Ton claimed the ultimate prize and the award for best restaurant in Thailand.
Besides all that, Singapore’s Labyrinth was the highest climber, up 29 places as #11. Avartana, in Chennai, was the highest new entry, at #30. Chef Hiroyasu Kawate, at Florilège, took #7 place and the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award. And Gagaan Anand made a glorious comeback at #5 and had a hand in the restaurant placed at #33, Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh. Plus, the Best Sommelier 2023 award, given for the first time, went to Della Tang of Ensue, in Shenzhen.
But the evening really belonged to Chef Ton who bettered his own remarkable feat of two restaurants in the top ten last year, with first place for Le Du, and Nusara climbing to #3.
Here’s the full list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 Awards:
50. Refer (Beijing)
49. Caprice (Hong Kong)
48. Metiz (Manila)
47. Born & Bred (Seoul)
46. Baan Tepa (Bangkok)
45. Mume (Taipei)
44. L’Effervesence (Tokyo)
43. Sichuan Moon (Macau)
42. Toyo Eatery (Manila)
41. Mono (Hong Kong)
40. Anan (Ho Chi Minh City)
39. Wing Lei Palace (Macau)
38. Raan Jay Fai (Bangkok)
37. Wing (Hong Kong)
36. Born (Singapore)
35. Potong (Bangkok)
34. Da Vittorio (Shanghai)
33. Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh (Bangkok)
32. Cenci (Kyoto)
31. Ensue (Shenzhen)
30. Avartana (Chennai)
29. Neighborhood (Hong Kong)
28. Mingles (Seoul)
27. Les Amis (Singapore)
26. Cloud Street (Singapore)
25. Euphoria (Singapore)
24. Burnt Ends (Singapore)
23. Onjium (Seoul)
22. Sühring (Bangkok)
21. Zén (Singapore)
20. Ode (Tokyo)
19. Indian Accent (New Delhi)
18. Fu He Hui (Shanghai)
17. Meta (Singapore)
16. Masque (Mumbai)
15. Mosu (Seoul)
14. Villa Aida (Wakayama)
13. The Chairman (Hong Kong)
12. Sazenka (Tokyo)
11. Labyrinth (Singapore)
10. Narisawa (Tokyo)
9. Sorn (Bangkok)
8. La Cime (Osaka)
7. Florilège (Tokyo)
6. Odette (Singapore)
5. Gaggan Anand (Bangkok)
4. Den (Tokyo)
3. Nusara (Bangkok)
2. Sézanne (Tokyo)
1. Le Du (Bangkok)