Elite 100: The rise of fine dining in the USA

With more entries than ever before, the real story from this year's Elite 100 list of the world's best restaurants is the rise of the USA's fine dining scene. Richard Cree, Elite Traveler's editor-in-chief, brings you the trends and surprises from this year's list

To judge by the highest new entry (Italy’s Villa Crespi) and the hottest young chef (Spain’s Eneko Atxa, Young Chef of the Year), it would appear that the old European order, remains imperious. But regardless of how well Atxa is cooking in Spain, or the wonders on offer at Antonino Cannavacciuolo’s sensational Villa Crespi, the real story in this year’s list is happening much further to the west.

The rise of the fine dining scene across the USA has been astronomical.There are food scenes buzzing in cities across the country. While traditional hot spots such as New York and San Francisco still dominate, the US entries are more widespread than ever, covering Chicago, St Helena, Los Gatos and Charleston.

Indeed, for the first time since Elite Traveler began compiling its list of the world’s favourite dining spots, the USA has more entries than any other country. And to put this in some kind of perspective, the USA has more entries in the Top 100 than the two countries (Spain and the UK) that came joint third combined.

And with a total of nine new entries, the USA overshadowed the rest of the world (there were only 17 new entries in total). Grant Achatz and his outstanding Alinea may (for the fourth year in a row) be once again top of the heap, but if anything epitomises the shifts and trends this year, it’s that his new outfit, Chicago’s Next, is also one of the highest new entries.

Elsewhere, the Asian food scene continues to improve, although there are fewer new entries this year from China and Japan (which dominated the new arrivals to last year’s list). And, an honourable mention, of course, to France, where fine food remains an obsession and a source of national pride.

To read more about the Elite 100 restaurants list click here

Richard Cree is editor-in-chief of Elite Traveler magazine

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