Singapore restaurants put on a strong performance on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 list. Nine restaurants from the island made the cut this year — two more than last year, and almost all of them improved their showing on the list.
Odette remained Singapore’s highest-ranked restaurant at No. 6, up two places from No. 8 last year. Chef Julien Royer’s Claudine also made it to this year’s long list and its chef Louisa Lim received the Asia’s Best Pastry Chef accolade.
The highest climber on the list was modern Singapore restaurant Labyrinth by chef Han Liguang, which took the No. 11 spot, jumping 29 places from last year.
Other Singapore entrants were Meta (No. 17), Restaurant Zen (No. 21), Burnt Ends (No. 24), Euphoria (No. 25), Cloudstreet (No. 26) and Les Amis (No. 27). Making its debut on the list at No. 36 was Restaurant Born by chef Zor Tan, which opened last June. Most of them improved their ranking by jumping 16 to 18 places from their positions last year.
Contemporary Thai restaurant Le Du in Bangkok came up tops on the list for the first time. It was ranked No. 3 last year. Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn was also a double winner with his other Bangkok restaurant, Nusara coming in at No. 3.
He says: “This award means so much to my team, as well as to the farmers and fishermen whom I work with. My restaurant, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, uses local ingredients. When I started using local produce, some thought I was crazy as it was considered cheap and of low quality. I want this achievement to represent not only Thai cuisine, but also recognize the people that grow the beautiful produce.”
French restaurant Sezanne in Tokyo came in at No. 2, climbing 15 spots from last year. Tokyo’s Den, last year’s highest-ranked restaurant, was No. 4.
On Restaurant Born’s debut on the list, chef Tan, who is a long-time protégé of chef Andre Chiang, says: “Having Born on this stage feels especially meaningful and personal. I’m finally standing here with my own name.”
The results were announced at an in-person award ceremony at Resorts World Sentosa. More than 200 people attended the event, which included chefs, restaurateurs and food and beverage industry professionals.
A strong sense of camaraderie and excitement was in the air as the event marked the first time that many chefs were seeing each other in person for the first time after 2.5 years of travel restrictions due to COVID-19, which battered the F&B industry across the region.
This year also marked the 10th anniversary of the awards, which started in Singapore in 2013.
Recognising top culinary talents in Asia
Over the past two months, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants has doled out honours to some chefs for achieving excellence in their respective fields. Johanne Siy, head chef of Mediterranean restaurant Lolla at Ann Siang Hill was crowned Asia’s Best Female chef. Lolla was also ranked at No. 63 in this year’s long list, which ranks restaurants from the 51st to 100th position, along with 5 other restaurants from the Republic.
Some of the loudest cheers of the night were reserved for Siy as she proclaimed in a recorded video that she would like the ‘Best Female Chef’ award category to become obsolete in the future, in a nod towards gender equality.
Japanese chef and sustainability icon Shinobu Namae of L’Effervescence in Tokyo received the Icon award for his long-running efforts of championing food sustainability and using local and organic ingredients.
The Asia’s Best Sommelier Award was also introduced with Della Tang of Ensue restaurant in Shenzhen clinching the inaugural title. Modern European restaurant Zen in Singapore also snagged the Art of Hospitality Award.
Contemporary Indonesia-influenced restaurant August received the One to Watch Award, which spotlights up-and-coming restaurants. It has created a splash in the Jakarta dining scene by weaving in Indonesian elements into its tasting menu.
William Drew, Director of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, says: “It is an extremely heartening experience to see so many familiar faces at our first full-scale live awards event in Asia since the pandemic. We salute all the restaurants who have made it onto the list, reflecting the brilliance and diversity of the dining scene across Asia.”
The Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled by over 300 food and beverage industry professionals, including food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and worldly diners. Each voter in the gender-balanced panel, which casted their votes based on their personal experiences in the restaurant, must have visited the restaurant that they have voted for at least once in the last 18 months. This year, voters can nominate eight restaurants, including up to six from their home country.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony will take place in Valencia on 20 June.
Full List: Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023
1. Le Du (Bangkok)
2. Sézanne (Tokyo)
3. Nusara (Bangkok)
4. Den (Tokyo)
5. Gaggan Anand (Bangkok)
6. Odette (Singapore)
7. Florilège (Tokyo)
8. La Cime (Osaka)
9. Sorn (Bangkok, Thailand)
10. Narisawa (Tokyo)
11. Labyrinth (Singapore)
12. Sazenka (Tokyo)
13. The Chairman (Hong Kong)
14. Villa Aida (Wakayama)
15. Mosu (Seoul)
16. Masque (Mumbai)
17. Meta (Singapore)
18. Fu He Hui (Shanghai)
19. Indian Accent (New Delhi)
20. Ode (Tokyo)
21. Zén (Singapore)
22. Sühring (Thailand)
23. Onjium (Seoul)
24. Burnt Ends (Singapore)
25. Euphoria (Singapore)
26. Cloudstreet (Singapore)
27. Les Amis (Singapore)
28. Mingles (Seoul)
29. Neighbourhood (Hong Kong)
30. Avartana (Chennai)*
31. Ensue (Shenzhen)
32. Cenci (Kyoto, Japan)
33. Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh (Bangkok)*
34. Da Vittorio (Shanghai)
35. Potong (Bangkok)*
36. Born (Singapore)*
37. WING (Hong Kong)
38. Raan Jay Fai (Bangkok)
39. Wing Lei Palace (Macau)
40. Anan Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
41. Mono (Hong Kong)
42. Toyo Eatery (Manila)
43. Sichuan Moon (Macau)
44. L’Effervescence (Tokyo, Japan)
45. MUME (Taipei, Taiwan)
46. Baan Tepa (Bangkok)
47. Born & Bred (Seoul)
48. Metiz (Makati)*
49. Caprice (Hong Kong)
50. Refer (Beijing, China)*
(* denotes new entries for 2023)
Text: Kenneth SZ Goh/ The Peak