Taking out the top gong after its first win in 2016, Massimo Bottura’s Modenese restaurant is known for sourcing ingredients from the surrounding Emilia-Romagna region and celebrating classic Italian dishes from an artistic, philosophical and cultural perspective.
In its early days, the restaurant almost closed after conservative locals were resistant to Bottura’s innovative approach to Italian cuisine.
Thankfully, the locally born chef and his American wife Lara Gilmore persisted.
Bottura and Gilmore accepted the award on behalf of their staff.
“This is something we all built together,” Bottura said.
“I'm not going to disappoint you. I’m going to use these spotlights for all of us to show the world that chefs in 2018 are much more than the sum of their recipes. We can have a very loud voice of change if we stay together.”
Gilmore echoed Bottura’s sentiment.
“We have the possibility to change the future,” she said.
“And that's the greatest mission we can accomplish.”
In second place was El Celler de Can Roca while Mirazur on the French Riviera rounded out the top three.
Last year’s number one Eleven Madison Park fell to fourth place.
Three other Italian restaurants made the list: Piazza Duomo in Alba, Piedmont (no. 16), Le Calandre in Rubano, Veneto (no. 23) and Reale in Castel Di Sangro, Abruzzo (no. 36).
Melbourne restaurant Attica, which placed at number 32 last year, continued its rise up the ranks to 20th place – its highest ranking so far – and was awarded Best Restaurant in Australasia.
The Sustainable Restaurant Award went to Azurmendi, a Basque restaurant that recycles its own waste and uses solar panels and recycled rainwater to reduce its energy needs.
New York chef Dan Barber was nominated by his peers for the Chef's Choice Award while Geranium of Copenhagen took out the Art of Hospitality Award.
This year's award for Best Female Chef, announced in April, went to Clare Smyth, who opened her first restaurant, Core by Clare Smyth, in London last year after more than 15 years working in Michelin-starred kitchens including alongside Gordon Ramsay.
Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio won the Lifetime Achievement Award for raising the profile of Peru’s cuisine by opening a chain of restaurants around the world over the last 20 or so years.
The One to Watch Award was handed to SingleThread, a Northern Californian restaurant and inn that draws heavily on Japanese traditions and was opened by couple Katina and Kyle Connaughton in late 2016.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018:
1. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3. Mirazur, Menton, France
4. Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA
5. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
6. Central, Lima, Peru
7. Maido, Lima, Peru
8. Arpège, Paris, France
9. Mugaritz, San Sebastián, Spain
10. Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain
11. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
12. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocatino Hills, New York, USA
13. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
14. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
15. White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
16. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
17. Den, Tokyo, Japan
18. Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain
19. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
20. Attica, Melbourne, Australia
21. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
22. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
23. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
24. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai, China
25. Cosme, New York, USA
26. Le Bernardin, New York, USA
27. Boragó, Santiago, Chile
28. Odette, Singapore
29. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris, France
30. D.O.M., São Paulo, Brazil
31. Arzak, San Sebastián, Spain
32. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
33. The Clove Club, London, UK
34. Alinea, Chicago, USA
35. Maaemo, Oslo, Norway
36. Reale, Castel Di Sangro, Italy
37. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
38. Lyle's, London, UK
39. Astrid y Gastón, Lima, Peru
40. Septime, Paris, France
41. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
42. The Ledbury, London, UK
43. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
44. Mikla, Istanbul, Turkey
45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
46. Saison, San Francisco, USA
47. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
48. Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia
49. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
50. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa