San francisco restaurants

Two San Francisco restaurants in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list

Dominique Crenn’s dining destination, Atelier Crenn, finally made the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list this year, alongside Corey Lee’s Benu.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants have been ranking the world’s best dining destinations annually since 2002. Sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, the list is the best-known of its kind, with winners chosen by more than 1,000 chefs, restaurateurs and writers. At the same time, it is criticized for its lack of diversity, significantly favoring Euro-centric and male-run establishments.

The two San Francisco entries, announced at Tuesday’s gala in Singapore, showcased the organization’s attempt to move towards inclusiveness. While both restaurants have been widely considered two of the best and most unique in the area, neither has ever made the cut.

In the past three years, the only restaurant in San Francisco to make the top 50 was Saison. But this year it fell to 70th place, weeks after losing a Michelin star. Atelier Crenn ranked 83rd in 2017 and Crenn was named the World’s Best Female Chef in 2016, but her restaurant fell completely in 2018. Last year, Benu rose to 53rd place.

Chef Dominique Crenn at Atelier Crenn which she opened in 2011 in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The Chronicle

“This restaurant has been knocking on the door for a while,” host Annabel Crabb said of introducing Benu, noting the restaurant’s serene dining room and expert mix of cuisines.

Crabb described Atelier Crenn as “a poetic entrance” and asked everyone in the audience to clap really loud and long for Crenn as she couldn’t be in Singapore for the honor. The chef was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants have committed to a 50/50 gender balance among their voters this year, according to a statement from director Hélène Pietrini, in an effort to help make the list more inclusive. Other than finally bringing Atelier Crenn to the list, it didn’t seem to do much for the gender disparity. Only five restaurants at least partially run by women made the list of 50.

Harbison, Blueberry & Greens from Blue Belle Farm being prepared at Atelier Crenn, run by Dominique Crenn since 2011, in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.
Harbison, Blueberry & Greens from Blue Belle Farm being prepared at Atelier Crenn, run by Dominique Crenn since 2011, in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle 2018

The discrepancy was not lost on chef Jose Andres, who gave a speech for winning the first Icon Award.

“We cook for the few. We need to cook for as many people as possible,” he said. “Who really feeds the world? These are everyday women.

Earlier this year, the organization announced a major change, retiring all previous winners to a new roster: The Best of the Best Hall of Fame, which includes two-year-old winner The French Laundry in Yountville. A notable exception here is four-year winner Noma – because it moved, it was treated as a new restaurant this year and clinched second place.

Here’s the full list of winners, with US restaurants in bold:

50. Schauenstein, Switzerland

49. Leo, Colombia

48. Ultraviolet, China

47. Benu, San Francisco

46. ​​De Librije, Netherlands

45. Suhring, Thailand

44. The Test Kitchen, South Africa

43. Hof Van Cleve, Belgium

42. Belcanto, Portugal

41. The President, Hong Kong

40. Restaurant Tim Raue, Germany

39. A Casa do Porco, Brazil

38. Hisa Franko, Slovenia

37. Alinea, Chicago

36. Le Bernardin, New York

35. Atelier Crenn, San Francisco

34. Don Julio, Argentina

33. Lyle’s, UK

32. Nerua Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain

31. Le Calandre, Italy

30. Elkano, Spain

29. Piazza Duomo, Italy

28. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York

27. The Clove Club, UK

26. Borago, Chile

25. Ledoyen Pavilion, France

24. Quintonil, Mexico

23. Cosme, New York

22. Narisawa, Japan

21. Frantzen, Sweden

20. Banknotes, Spain

19. Garden of Twins, Russia

18. Odette, Singapore

17. Steirereck, Austria

16. Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée, France

15. Septimius, France

14. Azurmendi, Spain

13. White Rabbit, Russia

12. Pujol, Mexico

11. Lair, Japan

10. Maido, Peru

9. Disfrutar, Spain

8. L’Arpege, France

7. Mugaritz, San Sebastian

6. Central, Peru

5. Geranium, Denmark

4. Gaggan, Thailand

3. Asador Etxebarri, Spain

2. Noma, Denmark

1. Mirazur, France

Janelle Bitker is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: janelle.bitker@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @janellebitker