Which Country Has The Highest Number Of Restaurants Considered Best In The World?

When you hear the words "culinary destination," foodies might fantasize about eating capicola in Palermo or Neufchâtel in Normandy. This year, the country with more restaurants on the World's 50 Best list than any other is none other than Spain. On the latest installation of the list, which was released in June 2023, Spain boasted a whopping six establishments.

Spain has long been a gastronomic destination for innovative chefs and adventurous foodies. The country inspired Asturias-born chef José Andrés to start a cooking-slash-travel show in 2022, aptly called "José Andrés and Family in Spain." Spain's top-ranked restaurants all made the front half of the 2023 list, clocking in before Number 25 and highly concentrated toward the very top — spots 2, 3, and 4 all belong to Spain.

It would be impossible to talk about Spain's culinary scene without mentioning the name El Bulli. The restaurant earned the coveted Number One spot as the World's Best Restaurant five times during its 2002 to 2011 tenure, and it was the place where the chefs behind another world-class Spanish restaurant, Disfrutar, first met. This year, Disfrutar secured the Number Two spot on the list. Andrés visited Disfrutar in one episode of his series and was left stunned by the team's avant-garde dessert – a physical table with many different drawers and compartments all packed with hidden treats. "Disfrutar" is the Spanish word for "enjoy," and judging by the World's Best List, foodies around the world certainly seem to be doing so there.

Showcasing Spain's local ingredients and modernizing traditional cooking techniques

Coming in next at Number Three is DiverXO in Madrid. DiverXO has earned global acclaim for its chef-centric concept showcasing the creativity of Dabiz Muñoz, the mind at the helm, and the second-youngest person in history to earn three Michelin stars at age 33. As a tongue-in-cheek nod to naysayers during his culinary come-up, Muñoz decorated the interior of DiverXO with flying pigs. The tasting menu will set you back $425 before drinks, but it's 12 courses long and features imaginative dishes like Galician lobster "waking up on the beaches of Goa," a freshwater crab sourced from the mouth of the Guadalquivir River with XO kimchi, matured nigiri, and toasted butter risotto with tuber aestivum.

At Number Four, Asador Etxebarri puts traditional Spanish flame-grilled cooking at the center. Basque chef Victor Arguinzoniz was born only 1 kilometer away from where the restaurant sits nestled in the green foothills of Basque country between Bilbao and San Sebastian. All six of the grills can be raised or lowered via an elaborate pulley system, and it's no wonder why Asador Etxebarri also won Number Three on the list in 2021.

Keeping the party going strong in the twenties

Number 20, Quique Dacosta, is named after the eponymous chef behind the concept — and "concepts" are the star of the show at this restaurant. The April 2023 menu installation was titled "Por Amor al Arte" (for the love of art). The interplay of food, art, and beauty is explored with white asparagus lace, dried whole tomato slices, and visually intricate dishes like Senia Rice Cooked with a Broth of Smoked Eel, Cherry Pearls, and Rosemary flowers. Quique Dacosta only uses ingredients sourced within 75 kilometers of the restaurant, which might be part of why it's held triple Michelin star status since 2013. Chef Dacosta was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts in 2020.

At Number 22, Elkano is all about bringing techniques of the past into the present — and indeed, as Elkano is doing it, the future as well. It all started when Pedro Arregi turned his mother's grocery store into a bar and built a small wood-fire grill beside it. Now, his son Chef Aitor Arregi is leading the team, and it's one of the most prestigious restaurants in the world. The marine showcase is an understated orchestra, giving the fishing industry and the incomparable texture and flavor of fresh seasonal seafood speak for themselves. Situated on top of a picturesque mountain, Elkano lets the natural Spanish landscape speak for itself, too.