Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2022: Den in Tokyo takes top spot, Singapore claims 7 places

Chef David Lai, whose Neighborhood in Hong Kong jumped from 17th spot to 9th on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 list. Lai also won the Chefs’ Choice Award.
PHOTO: Neighborhood

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants celebrated its 10th anniversary this year with an awards ceremony that was live-streamed on YouTube and at in-person events in Bangkok, Macau and Tokyo.

Hong Kong claimed six spots on the list (down from 11 in 2021 ), with 2021’s number-one restaurant – Hong Kong’s very own The Chairman, a “modern classic” Cantonese restaurant in Central – falling to fifth place.

Taking the top spot this year was Den in Tokyo, Japan, which has been moving up ever since its debut on the list at number 37 in 2016. Head chef Zaiyu Hasegawa offers a playful, innovative take on kaiseki, allowing Japan to take the top spot on the list for the second time in 10 years.

Japan as a whole won big this year, with 11 restaurants making the list, up from nine in 2021. Thailand followed close behind, with nine restaurants on the list and Sorn, in Bangkok, taking second place.

Chef Vicky Cheng’s Wing, in Hong Kong, made its debut on this year’s list at number 34.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

Singapore claimed seven spots on the list, with fine-dining French restaurant Odette, which dropped six spots from second to eighth, taking home the Art of Hospitality Award. In addition to Odette, which ranked top in 2020, chef Julien Royer also runs Louise at PMQ in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Neighborhood is another that has steadily climbed the ranks over the years, and this year cracked the top 10, jumping from 17th spot to 9th. Chef David Lai was also awarded the Chefs’ Choice Award – voted on by all the head chefs on the list – for his sustainable and creative dishes.

Neighborhood in Central, Hong Kong, took ninth place.
PHOTO: Bruce Yan

While Hong Kong’s VEA, a “Chinese x French” restaurant in Central, dropped from 16th spot in 2021 to out of the top 50, chef Vicky Cheng’s other restaurant, Wing, made its debut on this year’s list at number 34. Opened in 2021, Wing is situated directly below VEA but places the spotlight fully on Cheng’s interpretation of the “eight great Chinese cuisines”.

Three other Hong Kong restaurants made the list this year. Caprice, helmed by chef Guillaume Galliot at the Four Seasons, jumped four spots to number 24. Latin American restaurant Mono, which debuted on the list in 2021 at number 44, rose to 32. Meanwhile, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana dropped from number 33 in 2021 to 48.

Back in Singapore, Meta was a new entry at number 20, while Les Amis dropped from 13th spot in 2021 to 23rd. Zen, Labyrinth and Burnt Ends were awarded 37th, 40th and 41st place, respectively. Cloudstreet ranked at number 44, with pastry chef Maira Yeo named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef.

Land and Sea Tartare – Australian wagyu beef, Gillardeau oyster, Kristal caviar – at Caprice, in Hong Kong, which came in at number 24. 
PHOTO: Caprice

Wing Lei Palace in Macau jumped three spots from number 50 to 47. Fu He Hui, which was mainland China’s only restaurant on the list in 2021, jumped from number 22 to 12.

This year, it was joined by Ensue, in Shenzhen, Da Vittorio, in Shanghai, and Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, also in Shanghai, at 19th, 28th and 39th places, respectively. Ensue and Da Vittorio were new entries on the list, while Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet returned after falling out of the top 50 in 2021.

Several other chefs also received special awards, including Natsuko Shoji of Été, in Tokyo, who was named Asia’s Best Female Chef. The Icon Award went to Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist nun and chef who lives at the Baegyangsa temple in South Korea. While she does not own a restaurant, she’s known for intertwining food with her spiritual practice.

The Highest Climber Award went to Ode in Tokyo, which rose 14 places to number 13. The Highest New Entry Award was given to Villa Aida in Wakayama, Japan, which debuted at number 14.

The Sustainable Restaurant Award went to Mume in Taipei, Taiwan, while the One To Watch Award went to Eat and Cook in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is voted on by over 300 experts spread across the continent, with this year’s voting process adjusted in consideration of pandemic restrictions. The list is run by William Reed business media, and is an offshoot of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, which began its list in 2002.

The full list:

1. Den

Tokyo, Japan

2. Sorn

Bangkok, Thailand

3. Florilège

Tokyo, Japan

4. Le Du

Bangkok, Thailand

5. The Chairman

Hong Kong, China

6. La Cime

Osaka, Japan

7. Sühring

Bangkok, Thailand

8. Odette

Singapore

9. Neighborhood

Hong Kong, China

10. Nusara

Bangkok, Thailand

11. Sazenka

Tokyo, Japan

12. Fu He Hui

Shanghai, China

13. Ode

Tokyo, Japan

14. Villa Aida

Wakayama, Japan

15. Narisawa

Tokyo, Japan

16. Mingles

Seoul, South Korea

17. Sézanne

Tokyo, Japan

18. Joo Ok

Seoul, South Korea

19. Ensue

Shenzhen, China

20. Meta

Singapore

21. Masque

Mumbai, India

22. Indian Accent

New Delhi, India

23. Les Amis

Singapore

24. Caprice

Hong Kong, China

25. Blue by Alain Ducasse

Bangkok, Thailand

26. 7th Door

Seoul, South Korea

27. Mosu

Seoul, South Korea

28. Da Vittorio

Shanghai, China

29. Sushi Masato

Bangkok, Thailand

30. Onjium

Seoul, South Korea

31. Samrub Samrub Thai

Bangkok, Thailand

32. Mono

Hong Kong, China

33. Gaa

Bangkok, Thailand

34. Wing

Hong Kong, China

35. Ministry of Crab

Colombo, Sri Lanka

36. La Maison de la Nature Goh

Fukuoka, Japan

37. Zén

Singapore

38. Logy

Taipei, Taiwan

39. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet

Shanghai, China

40. Labyrinth

Singapore

41. Burnt Ends

Singapore

42. Été

Tokyo, Japan

43. Cenci

Kyoto, Japan

44. Cloudstreet

Singapore

45. JL Studio

Taichung, Taiwan

46. Raan Jay Fai

Bangkok, Thailand

47. Wing Lei Palace

Macau, China

48. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana

Hong Kong, China

49. Megu

New Delhi, India

50. Dewakan

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.