Andrew Zimmern Isn't A Fan Of The World's 50 Best Restaurants List

Andrew Zimmern has traveled all over the world and eaten everything from burgers to bugs. It's no surprise then, that he's going to have his favorite restaurants — the ones he knows about because he's eaten there, knows the chef, or has gotten a recommendation from a trusted source. He doesn't get them off a "best of" list, especially a list like "The World's 50 Best." 

This list was created way back in 2002 when a little British magazine called Restaurant assembled 150 experts to come up with a list of the 50 best restaurants in the world. Since their list for 2023 was just released crowning Central in Lima number one, Tasting Table asked Zimmern his opinion of "The World's 50 Best," and it turns out he's not a fan. Not only does the chef have an issue with "The World's 50 Best," he has an issue with most lists of this nature. "I think lists are great when you're on them and they suck when you're not," he tells us while promoting the new Netflix pop-up restaurant, Netflix Bites. "They are designed for exactly what you and I are talking about. Because what are we talking about? Their list." 

Lists tend to be subjective

So how does Andrew Zimmern pick his favorite restaurant? How does anyone? Does it have an interesting cocktail menu? Is the staff top-notch? Are its entrées unique? Each person believes their favorite restaurant is the best one on earth because it's totally subjective. While one person might like something high-end and quiet, another might prefer the loud neighborhood hole-in-the-wall. "I do think that there is a little bit of a skewed metric for doing this of all times when it comes to something subjective like food," the chef explains. "What's the best painting hanging in an American museum? I know I'm exaggerating to make a point, right? But that's what lists are all about."

So, is there a list that Zimmern can get behind? He thinks the ones that are more focused are the better choice. "I think the smaller you get, in terms of geographical regions, the easier it is. When Jonathan Gold started the Gold List, with the 100 best restaurants [in Los Angeles], I thought that was brilliant," Zimmern says. "I think that's the secret to a good list: Go to a small region, list a lot. So, that's what I've always tried to do. But big region, United States, and try to pick 50? I mean, good luck," he exclaims.