The 50 Best Restaurants in Asia Revealed (and There’s a New No. 1)

Japan and Thailand are big winners in the region

by BLOOMBERG / pic source: Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

THE best restaurant in Asia is Den, in Tokyo.

Den’s chef Zaiyu Hasegawa is known for his irreverent kaiseki menus—one of his most famous dishes is his version of fried chicken served in a box that mimics KFC, that he calls ‘Dentucky Fried Chicken.’ The restaurant was named Number 1 by Asia’s 50 Best, on March 29. Last year, Den was Number 3.

It was the second time a Japanese venue claimed the top spot.

Sorn in Bangkok was ranked number two, and Tokyo’s Florilege was third. Three restaurants from Japan were names to the Top 10 and four from Bangkok.

The list was affected by varying pandemic-related travel restrictions across Asia, according to William Drew, the director of content for 50 Best.

“We can’t get away from that,” Drew said in an interview. “It means this is more of a local vote, perhaps, than ever,” as people dined out in their own areas during Covid times. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants is owned by William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Last year, Hong Kong’s The Chairman was the region’s No. 1 restaurant. This year it fell to Number 5.

The awards were presented in an in-person events in Bangkok, Tokyo and Macau as well as by video. In March 2020, the ceremony took place despite the pandemic, which closed many of the winning dining rooms, at least temporarily. The decision to go forward with the event drew criticism on social media—and a few days after, the organizers cancelled its international 2020 rankings. Last year’s event was virtual.

The list of restaurants ranked 51 to 100 was released several days earlier, featuring 10 names from Hong Kong, six from mainland China, seven from India and three each from Malaysia and the Philippines. It also showed some drops: L’Effervescence in Tokyo fell to 71 from 19 last year and Mume in Taipei slid to 54 from 15, while Hong Kong’s Amber declined to 83 from 37. Singapore’s Jaan by Kirk Westaway and Euphoria, 42 and 41 respectively last year, are now ranked 55 and 56.

The Chef’s Choice Award was given to David Lai from Neighborhood in Hong Kong. Maira Yeo from Rishi Naleendra’s Cloudstreet in Singapore won the Asia’s Best Pastry Chef award. The Sustainable Restaurant Award went to Mume in Taipei.

The Asia’s Best Female Chef award, from Ete in Tokyo, is Natsuko Shoji, and the Icon Award went to Jeong Kwan, who is a Buddhist nun. The Art of Hospitality award went to Odette in Singapore.

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is selected and voted on by a panel of more than 350 food writers, critics, chefs, restaurateurs and food aficionados. The awards are held and published each year since 2013 by William Reed Business Media.

  • 1. Den — Tokyo
  • 2. Sorn — Bangkok
  • 3. Florilege — Tokyo
  • 4. Le Du — Bangkok
  • 5. The Chairman — Hong Kong
  • 6. La Cime — Osaka, Japan
  • 7. Suhring — Bangkok
  • 8. Odette — Singapore
  • 9. Neighborhood — Hong Kong
  • 10. Nusara — Bangkok
  • 11. Sazenka — Tokyo
  • 12. Fu He Hui — Shanghai
  • 13. Ode — Tokyo (Highest Climber Award)
  • 14. Villa Aida — Wakayama, Japan (Highest New Entry Award)
  • 15. Narisawa — Tokyo
  • 16. Mingles — Seoul
  • 17. Sezanne — Tokyo
  • 18. Joo Ok — Seoul
  • 19. Ensue — Shenzhen
  • 20. Meta — Singapore
  • 21. Masque — Mumbai
  • 22. Indian Accent — New Delhi
  • 23. Les Amis — Singapore
  • 24. Caprice — Hong Kong
  • 25. Blue by Alain Ducasse — Bangkok
  • 26. Seventh Door — Seoul
  • 27. Mosu — Seoul
  • 28. Da Vittorio — Shanghai
  • 29. Sushi Masato — Bangkok
  • 30. Onjium — Seoul
  • 31. Samrub Samrub Thai — Bangkok
  • 32. Mono — Hong Kong
  • 33. Gaa — Bangkok
  • 34. Wing — Hong Kong
  • 35. Ministry of Crab — Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • 36. La Maison de la Nature Goh — Fukuoka, Japan
  • 37. Zen — Singapore
  • 38. Logy — Taipei
  • 39. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet — Shanghai
  • 40. Labyrinth — Singapore
  • 41. Burnt Ends — Singapore
  • 42. Ete — Tokyo
  • 43. Cenci — Kyoto, Japan
  • 44. Cloudstreet — Singapore
  • 45. JL Studio — Taichung, Taiwan
  • 46. Raan Jay Fai — Bangkok
  • 47. Wing Lei Palace — Macau
  • 48. Otto e Mezzo Bombana — Hong Kong
  • 49. Megu — New Delhi
  • 50. Dewakan — Kuala Lumpur