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Shin Harakawa’s intimate Tokyo establishment Beard takes first place in Monocle's inaugural Restaurant Awards.

Most people know that the annual World’s Best Restaurants list was just announced last month in London. Curated by Restaurant magazine and sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, the list has served as an authority in the restaurant world for years — but not without some controversy. Just this year, a movement called Occupy 50 Best circulated a petition calling for increased transparency in the awards, labeling them “opaque, sexist and complacent” and arguing that the selection process is unexplained, biased, male-dominated and leaves many regions underrepresented. Similar sentiments have been expressed for some time by other skeptics.

Enter Monocle. Launched in 2007, the magazine aims to provide a global perspective on international affairs, business, culture, design and fashion. The publication sought to recognize venues that have been consistently good for decades, as well as those that have the makings of becoming such stalwarts. Why the need for such a list? “We felt that the current restaurant awards and lists are missing something: the real feeling of honesty, not just big chefs but authenticity and provenance,” says editor in chief Tyler Brûlé. “We want to cut out the hype and PR about so many restaurant awards. So no foams here and probably no square plates or slates, either.” Judged by Monocle’s editorial teams in London, New York, Toronto, Hong Kong, Zürich, Istanbul, Tokyo and Singapore, plus more than 30 correspondents in cities from Bogotá to Beirut, the first annual Monocle Restaurant Awards reflect the magazine’s uniquely global viewpoint.

So, on to the list itself. According to the magazine, Japan is the world’s leading gastronomic nation, with six restaurants in the top 50. London and Italy follow, each placing four establishments. The U.S. features just two selections — New York City’s Russ & Daughters and San Francisco’s Bar Tartine. Check out the full list below and be sure to listen to the podcast discussing the selections at the bottom of the page. The segment kicks in at around the tenth minute.

  1. Beard, Tokyo, Japan
  2. The River Café, London, UK
  3. Pa&Co, Stockholm, Sweden
  4. Le Pavillon, Pontresina, Switzerland
  5. Cho Cho San, Sydney, Australia
  6. Din Tai Fung, Taipei, Taiwan
  7. Zum Schwarzen Kameel, Vienna, Austria
  8. Tawlet, Beirut, Lebanon
  9. Maru Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan
  10. Kronenhalle, Zürich, Switzerland
  11. Ett Hem, Stockholm, Sweden
  12. Sea Horse, Helsinki, Finland
  13. Appia, Bangkok, Thailand
  14. Ortolana, Auckland, New Zealand
  15. Chasellas, St Moritz, Switzerland
  16. San Angel Inn, Mexico City, Mexico
  17. Orlando, Forte dei Marmi, Italy
  18. Marinehof, Hamburg, Germany
  19. Fook Lam Moon, Hong Kong
  20. Wirtshaus zum Rehkitz‎, Kitzbühel, Austria
  21. Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy
  22. The Federal, Toronto, Canada
  23. Golden Brown, Tokyo, Japan
  24. Dinings, London, UK
  25. Bagno Bruno, Forte dei Marmi, Italy
  26. Appia Alta, Tokyo, Japan
  27. Fokos Taverna, Mykonos, Greece
  28. Restaurant Roberto, Geneva, Switzerland
  29. Royal China Club, London, UK
  30. Kallmünz, Merano, Italy
  31. Gauge, Brisbane, Australia
  32. Bagni Sillo, Sori, Italy
  33. Dizengoff, Auckland, New Zealand
  34. Nora Gray, Montréal, Canada
  35. Koya Bar, London, UK
  36. Celso y Manolo, Madrid, Spain
  37. Yakumo Saryo, Tokyo, Japan
  38. Russ & Daughters, New York, US
  39. Santa Lucia, Milan, Italy
  40. Els Pescadors, Barcelona, Spain
  41. Sternen Grill, Zürich, Switzerland
  42. Gambrinus, Lisbon, Portugal
  43. Hafuu (Honten), Tokyo, Japan
  44. Au Vieux Saint Martin, Brussels, Belgium
  45. Karakoy Lokantasi, Istanbul, Turkey
  46. DOC Carlton, Melbourne, Australia
  47. Bar Tartine, San Francisco, US
  48. Aprazível, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  49. Mercearia Gadanha, Estremoz, Portugal
  50. Dry Bar, Milan, Italy