Is This Really The Best Restaurant In The World?

If the organization behind The World's 50 Best Restaurants list, William Reed, is to be believed, the best restaurants in the world are in Denmark. For the past three eligible years, a Danish restaurant has been named one of the top two restaurants in the world. In 2021, Copenhagen restaurant Noma took the top spot while another Copenhagen restaurant, Geranium, came in second (via CNN). Due to COVID, no list was released in 2020. However, in 2019, Noma has named the second-best in the world (via Business Insider). But is Geranium, which snagged the win this year, really the best restaurant in the world? That depends on how much faith you have in the list and its judging process.

Per Grub Street, The World's 50 Best List was originally created as an alternative to the Michelin Guide and its star system, which some feared had grown unreliable (some famous chefs don't even want Michelin stars these days). But The World's 50 Best Restaurants list has come under fire, too. Some critics have alleged that judges were more likely to vote for people they know or for male-run restaurants rather than basing their rankings on quality alone. The company made some changes in response to that critique, but as Eater observed, not much changed. Two Danish tasting-menu spots run by men have taken the top two spots for two years in a row. But does that necessarily mean that Geranium doesn't deserve the honor?

Diners have given Geranium top marks

Perhaps one of the biggest arguments against Geranium's 2022 ranking is the fact that Noma was barred from being No. 1. An update to eligibility requirements prevents repeated victories on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list (via Eater). Before that change, Noma won five times. But Geranium has received much critical acclaim outside this list, and it even holds three Michelin stars. The Michelin Guide praised the restaurant's meat-free dishes for creativity, originality, and flavor (Geranium stopped serving land meat in 2021 and began emphasizing veggies and seafood, per Eater).

On Tripadvisor, Geranium has a 4.5-out-of-5 star rating from 1,124 reviews. Some notable examples include "I keep using the word perfect as it's the only one I think sums the experience up" and "Difficult to compare with other great three stars in the world because the food is so unique and different," which are fairly glowing assessments. The restaurant has the same star rating on Yelp, so clearly it's doing something that people like. That brings us back to the question: Is Geranium really the best restaurant in the world? It feels impossible to claim that in a world with so many restaurants (Statista says there are more than 600,000 in the U.S. alone) one can truly be better than all of the rest. But based on the reviews we've read, it certainly seems like very few people have been disappointed with a meal served at Geranium.