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Tue 1 May 2007 10:34 AM

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Mideast fails to cook up a storm

Europe dominates World's 50 Best Restaurants as region fails to make the grade.

The Middle East yet again failed to make an impression in this year’s San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants.

Listed at 87, Verre by Gordon Ramsay, at the Hilton Creek, Dubai, was the highest ranked restaurant in the region, although it did receive more votes than Nobu New York and Tantris in Munich, Germany. Not since 2004 – when the Emirates’ Al Mahara was ranked 31st - has the region had any impact among the world’s best eateries.

Le Quartier Francais in South Africa was the only restaurant in the Middle East and Africa to be listed in the top 50 – but only just – squeaking in at 47.

As for those at the other end of the list, it was business as usual as El Bulli claimed the title as the World's Best Restaurant for the second year running, with The Fat Duck, UK, and Pierre Gagnaire, France, maintaining their 2006 places at second and third respectively.

"It is a great honour to win this award, but it is not just down to me. I could not have done this without my team. It is also important to recognise other chefs in Spain who are working hard to raise the restaurant scene in the country, like Andoni Aduriz from Mugaritz," commented Ferran Adrià from el Bulli.

With 22 regions each headed by a regional chair, more than 670 people voted for their top five restaurants across the globe. First started in 2002, the annual award ceremony was held at The Science Museum, London with more than 400 people attending the event, including chefs and restaurateurs.

France topped the list for the number of restaurants in the top 50 with 12 entries, followed by the US with eight and the UK with seven. The European restaurant scene dominated this year’s list.

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