This year’s list for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants includes nominations from more countries than ever, showcasing a rich variety of dining experiences across Asia.
Taking place at the awards ceremony at the W Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, it was fitting that the host city’s Gaggan, was announced as winner of the top spot of the list for the second year running. Other notable honourees included Chef Margarita Forés from the Philippines who is named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016, as well as Chef David Thompson of Nahm in Bangkok and Long Chim in Singapore as this year’s recipient of The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award.
Now in its fourth year, the 2016 list welcomes 10 new entries, including three from Japan. China counts 13 restaurants on the list while Singapore and Japan each have 10.
William Drew, Group Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “These awards reflect the growth and diversity of Asia’s dining scene. The 2016 list includes 10 new restaurants and showcases the best dining experiences in 13 countries, more than ever before. Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants strives to reward creativity as well as culinary excellence and all 50 restaurants on the list, as well as the individual award-winners, exemplify these qualities.”
Gaggan retains the dual titles of The Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna and The Best Restaurant in Thailand, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. He is also No.10 in the global list, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. At his eponymous Bangkok restaurant located in an 85-year-old whitewashed colonial-style wooden house in the heart of downtown Bangkok, restaurant Gaggan is an intimate space with marble-topped tables, cane furniture and black & white photos, where guests are treated to Chef Gaggan’s modernist re-interpretation of classic Indian cuisine.Host country Thailand is also represented by Nahm (No.8), Issaya Siamese Club, rising 20 places to No.19, and Eat Me at No.23.
Individual Country Awards
Japan | Narisawa (No.2) is named The Best Restaurant in Japan, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna for a fourth successive year. Four of Japan’s remaining nine entries place within the top 20. Japan also welcomes three newcomers, namely La Maison De La Nature Goh (No.31) in Fukuoka, as well as Tokyo-based Den (No.37) and Kyoto’s Kikunoi (No.42).
Singapore | Rising two places, Chef André Chiang’s Restaurant André (No.3) holds the title of The Best Restaurant in Singapore, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, for the fourth consecutive time. Extending his influence in the region, Chiang also impressed diners with his Raw restaurant in Taipei, which enters the list at No.46. Alongside familiar favourites Waku Ghin (No.6), Les Amis (No.12) and Burnt Ends (No.14), Singapore boasts two new entries: Corner House (No.17) and Wild Rocket (No.38).
China | Amber (No.4) in Hong Kong reclaims the title of The Best Restaurant in China sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, from last year’s winner Ultraviolet (No.7). The list boasts nine Hong Kong restaurants, including first-time entry Ta Vie (No.48).
Highest New Entry Award/ Korea | Entering the list at No.15, Mingles in Seoul has double reason to celebrate. As well as claiming the Highest New Entry Award, sponsored by John Paul, the restaurant earns the title of The Best Restaurant in Korea.
India | Indian Accent rises 13 places to No.9 to be awarded The Best Restaurant in India for a second year.
Two other new entries collected individual country awards. Gallery Vask (No.39) in Manila is awarded The Best Restaurant in the Philippines while Locavore (No.49) in Bali is named the The Best Restaurant in Indonesia.
The winners’ circle also includes Le Moût (No.30), retaining The Best Restaurant in Taiwan title, Ministry of Crab in Colombo (No.31) securing honours as The Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka, and Cuisine Wat Damnak (No.43) in Siem Reap, returning as The Best Restaurant in Cambodia.
Other award winners announced include…
Highest New Entry Award | Mingles, Seoul
At Mingles in Seoul, Chef Mingoo Kang reinvents Korean cuisine by fusing local ingredients and traditions with Western influences and cooking methods. Inventive and adventurous, this intimate 45-seat restaurant is making its mark on Korea’s dining scene.
One To Watch | Florilège, Tokyo
The One To Watch Award honours a restaurant that is outside the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list but is identified as the rising star in the region. Florilège in Tokyo is dedicated to modern French cuisine presented with impeccable style. Chef-owner Hiroyasu Kawate reveals his creativity and mastery of French cooking through a multi-course tasting menu.
Chefs’ Choice Award | Paul Pairet
French-born chef Paul Pairet is the recipient of the 2016 Chefs’ Choice Award. Voted for by fellow chefs on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Pairet earned the respect of his peers with his two hugely successful and influential Shanghai restaurants, Mr & Mrs Bund and the avant-garde Ultraviolet. Provocative and innovative, his creative flair, daring experimentation and inspired dishes continue to influence chefs around the world.
Highest Climber Award | Quintessence
A Tokyo favourite since 2006, Quintessence (No.20) earns the Highest Climber Award, rising 29 places from last year. Chef Shuzo Kishida perfected his skills at three-Michelin-starred L’Astrance in Paris and his modern French cuisine continues to impress discerning diners with its exquisite presentation, innovative use of fresh ingredients and attention to detail.