LONDON - Denmark's Noma restaurant on Monday reclaimed the title of world's best restaurant, becoming a four-time winner having lost the title last year to Spain's El Celler de Can Roca.
The two Michelin star restaurant in Copenhagen, which serves Nordic specialities in a quayside warehouse, topped the World's 50 Best Restaurants list compiled by 900 international experts for Britain's Restaurant magazine.
The restaurant's head chef Rene Redzepi paid tribute to his staff, calling them his "inspiration", as he collected the coveted prize.
"I know I'm not always the easiest person to be around," he told guests at London's Guildhall.
"I want to tell you in front of everyone, you guys are my dream team and inspiration. The patience and dedication that you give year in and year out is more than I could have ever hoped for.
"We were the geeks, they gave us funny names. But that didn't bother us, it fueled us and look where we are now several years later!" Despite winning the award for the fourth time, the chef insisted there was more to come.
"We're not at the finish line," he said. "There are still so many discoveries out there, so many recipes to be written." There were murmurs in the audience when El Celler de Can Roca was named only at number two, losing the crown it seized from Noma for the first time last year.
The restaurant in Girona, run by three brothers and known for its dishes based on perfumes, had previously spent two years as runner-up.
The brothers spoke before the ceremony, revealing that last year's victory had sparked a fresh wave of creativity.
"It's been a magical year, full of projects, emotion, sharing and dreams becoming reality," eldest brother Joan Roca told a press conference.
Consolation for the culinary siblings came when Jordi was named Best Pastry Chef in the World.
Spain dominates top 10
Foraging restaurant Noma suffered last year after it was forced to apologise for a bout of food poisoning that left 63 customers suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea over a five-day period.
The restaurant, which gets its name from two Danish words "nordisk" (Nordic) and "mad" (food), serves up local fare such as moss, sea urchins and oysters, and is celebrated for its Hen and Eggs dish - quail eggs which are pickled and smoked.
last month, Noma announced plans to relocate to Japan for two months in 2015.
Since the awards were established in 2002 only five restaurants have held the title: Spain's El Bulli, in 2002 and from 2006-2009; California's French Laundry in 2003 and 2004; Britain's Fat Duck in 2005; Noma from 2010 to 2012, and El Celler de Can Roca last year.
Redzepi has formerly worked at The French Laundry, El Bulli and The Fat Duck.
Spain again dominated this year's top 10 with Mugaritz in San Sebastian at number six, and Arzak, also in San Sebastian, at number eight.
Italy's Osteria Francescana was in third place, New York's Eleven Madison Park in fourth, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London fifth and D.O.M. in Sao Paulo seventh.
London's The Ledbury climbed three places to take 10th spot, while Chicago's Alinea surged six places to 9th.
Seven American restaurants made the top 50, one more than last year, while Gaggan, a modernist Indian restaurant in Bangkok was the highest new entry at number 17.
Lima's Central was the highest climber, moving from 50th place last year to 15th.
Although only 12 years old, the award is beginning to rival the Michelin Guide in influence, helped by its focus on previously unexplored corners of the culinary world.
Although 29 of the awards still went to restaurants in the traditional gastronomic powerhouse of Europe, there were no French restaurants in the top 10, although they did make up ten per cent of the top 50.
Seven of the top 50 restaurants were found in Asia, five in Latin America and one in Africa.
The world's top ten restaurants according to British magazine Restaurant...
1) Noma - Denmark
2) El Celler de Can Roca - Spain
3) Osteria Francescana - -Italy
4) Eleven Madison Park - United States
5) Dinner - United Kingdom
6) Mugaritz - Spain
7) D.O.M. - Brazil
8) Arzak - Spain
9) Alinea - United States
10) The Ledbury - United Kingdom