Michelin star restaurants Canada list
And whether you've eaten at one of the top 50 restaurants or not, you've felt their influence. Noma's obsession with local, wild foraged foods from the Scandinavian woods and tundra has trickled throughout fine dining joints in cities around the world.
Before Noma, elBulli's tech-obsessed kitchen churned out unrecognizable foods, transformed into orbs of gelatin and dabs of foam. It, too, was a cuisine that was poorly imitated by chefs around the world.
Canada rarely in the top 50
Here in Canada, only two restaurants have made it onto the top 50 list — Toronto's Eigensinn Farm in 2002 and again in 2003, and Toronto's Susur, now closed, in 2002.
In 2015, though, one was on the list of runners-up — the list of the 51st to 100th best restaurants in the world.
Co-owner David McMillan said he takes it in stride.
Montreal chef David McMillan (left) is co-owner of Montreal's Joe Beef with Frederic Morin (right). It made the World's Top 50 Restaurants runners-up list in 2015. (The Canadian Press)
"Some chefs aspire and work hard to be on that list. It's not in the Joe Beef wheelhouse at all, " he said.
"I find that list is very high end, right? Not to denigrate any of my peers that want to go after tasting menus, white tablecloths, crystal glasses, the elite and expensive meal. That's never been our thing."
Joe Beef is known for a loud bistro vibe, and a menu that focuses more on flavour and fun than breaking new ground. The restaurant serves stuff like lobster spaghetti, steak, and oysters — accessible food.
The top 50 is a different game. For example, Noma's world-leading dessert list includes "tree moss cooked in chocolate, served with egg liqueur."
To pursue a spot on the list, Joe Beef would have to change. And no one, particularly McMillan, wants that.
"This was a restaurant for me to work in. It was about what I wanted to eat... my idea of the wine list, my idea of appetizers, my idea of main courses, the music I want to play because I listen to it. I'm gonna work there, the music that I like will be playing inside that restaurant."
'Competition is very ferocious'
Entering the top 50 usually involves a technically ambitious menu. It also usually means introducing what the industry calls a tasting menu — a fixed price list of tiny elaborate dishes, often more than a dozen.