Famed Spanish restaurant elBulli lost its crown as the world's best in an international poll yesterday after four years at the top. It was beaten to the number one spot by rising star Noma in Copenhagen.
ElBulli's defeat in the S.Pellegrino World's Best 50 Restaurants list is another blow for the eatery and its trailblazing chef, Ferran Adria, after he announced in January the venue would close for two years from 2012.
The 47-year-old chef put the decision to shut the restaurant on Spain's northeastern Catalan coast down to fatigue and a need to plan for the future.
But Adria, known for his avant-garde approach to cooking which uses hi-tech methods to "deconstruct" and rebuild ingredients in surprising ways, was still recognised at the British awards when he was named chef of the decade.
Danish restaurant Noma - voted best in the world by the panel of more than 800 international critics, journalists and food experts - serves up Nordic specialities in a converted 18th century shipping warehouse.
Headed by 32-year-old chef Rene Redzepi, it has become a favourite of gourmets worldwide for using seasonal and local ingredients to create dishes such as radishes in edible soil. It was number two in last year's list.
"Copenhagen is no longer the last stop on the gastronomic subway," said Britain's Restaurant Magazine, which organises the awards.
The 2010 awards, which were announced at the Guildhall in London, were notable for the abundance of new talent, according to the magazine.
"This year's list is an exciting one that highlights in particular the wealth of young, dynamic chefs bringing new ideas to the world of gastronomy," said magazine editor Paul Wootton.
"Rene Redzepi's rise to the top shows that the (judging panel is) keen to recognise this new wave of talent rubbing alongside those with more established international fame."
It remained to be seen whether Adria's "considerable achievements" in the awards - elBulli came out on top a total of five times in the past decade - could ever be matched in future, added Wootton.
British restaurant The Fat Duck outside London, run by chef Heston Blumenthal, took third place in this year's list.
Blumenthal and Adria have since the 1990s been at the forefront of efforts to use science to "deconstruct" and rebuild food, both astonishing diners and delighting reviewers.
Europe performed well in this year's list, with Spanish and Italian restaurants taking five of the top 10 spots.
The United States also had a strong showing, with three restaurants in the top 10.
Les Creations de Narisawa in Japan was named as the best restaurant in Asia, coming in at number 24 on the list.
Two Sydney restaurants, Quay and Tetsuya's, also made the list, coming in at 27 and 38 respectively.