As COVID-19 rages on and lockdowns cripple the world, things are looking bleak for our beloved F&B businesses. The show went on today for the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 awards, though, and what a heartening reminder of fine dining heights it was. Thanks to coronavirus concerns, the eighth edition went entirely virtual this year – but the community’s shared love for food shone through nevertheless.

Odette

After its surprise unseating of Gaggan from the top spot last year, Singapore’s very own Odette held on to its crown as Asia’s best restaurant. It’s joined by five of last year’s winners – Burnt Ends (No. 5), Les Amis (No. 11), JAAN (No. 21), Corner House (No. 42), and Nouri (No. 50) – along with one new entrant, famed Swedish chef Bjorn Frantzen’s Zén (No. 28). Les Amis in particular pulled off a stunning leap of 22 places up the ranks, and also became the first-ever Singapore restaurant to take home the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award.

Zén

To no foodie’s surprise, Japan dominated the show with a good 12 restaurants making the ranks. Den (No. 3) maintains its stronghold as Best Restaurant in Japan for the third year running, while French fusion spot Ode (No. 35) and ex-Noma chef Thomas Frebel’s Inua (No. 49) are the new kids on the Tokyo block.

Other Tokyo counterparts including Florilège (No. 5), Narisawa (No. 9), and Il Ristorante Luca Fantin (No. 17) made a remarkably consistent showing. Gourmets outside the capital will be glad to see the return of Fukuoka’s La Maison de la Nature Goh (No. 40) and Osaka’s La Cime (No. 10), with La Cime chef Yusuke Takada also clinching the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award.

Inua

The Land of Smiles sees seven restaurants in the spotlight this year (with now-defunct star Gaggan sorely missed). Sühring (No. 6) fills in Gaggan’s place as Bangkok’s best restaurant, backed by stalwarts such as Le Du (No. 8) and Gaa (No. 15). With its mix of bold flavours and traditional techniques, Southern Thai sensation Sorn (No. 16, previously No. 48) makes a meteoric rise to bag the Highest Climber Award. For something new, on the other hand, head to 80/20 (No. 47) for zany reinterpretations of Thai cuisine.

80/20

Hong Kong’s finest are blazing a trail, with The Chairman (No. 2) rising nine ranks to second place and progressive French restaurant Amber (No. 21) winning the Sustainable Restaurant Award. Over in Macau, feted chef André Chiang is also making waves with his exquisite Sichuan fare at Sichuan Moon (No. 23), the Highest New Entry for this year.

Meanwhile, Seoul is making a splash with Hansikgonggan (No. 34), a Korean restaurant carving out a name for its elegant take on modern palace dining. Fondly dubbed the ‘godmother of Korean cuisine’, Chef Cho Hee-Sook also clinches Asia’s Best Female Chef 2020.

Chef Cho Hee-Sook of Hansikgonggan

With luck, the day that we can travel to visit these marvellous restaurants is near. In the meantime, here’s the full list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020:

  1. Odette, Singapore
  2. The Chairman, Hong Kong
  3. Den, Tokyo
  4. Belon, Hong Kong
  5. Burnt Ends, Singapore
  6. Sühring, Bangkok
  7. Florilège, Tokyo
  8. Le Du, Bangkok
  9. Narisawa, Tokyo
  10. La Cime, Osaka
  11. Les Amis, Singapore
  12. Vea, Hong Kong
  13. Indian Accent, New Delhi
  14. Mingles, Seoul
  15. Gaa, Bangkok
  16. Sorn, Bangkok
  17. Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, Tokyo
  18. Mume, Taiwan
  19. Neighborhood, Hong Kong
  20. Fu He Hui, Shanghai
  21. JAAN by Kirk Westaway, Singapore
  22. Wing Lei Palace, Macau
  23. Sichuan Moon, Macau
  24. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
  25. Seventh Son, Hong Kong
  26. JL Studio, Taiwan
  27. TocToc, Seoul
  28. Zén, Singapore
  29. Sazenka, Tokyo
  30. Ministry of Crab, Sri Lanka
  31. Amber, Hong Kong
  32. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
  33. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong
  34. Hansikgonggan, Seoul
  35. Ode, Tokyo
  36. Raw, Taiwan
  37. Locavore, Bali
  38. Paste, Bangkok
  39. Bo.Lan, Bangkok
  40. La Maison de la Nature Goh, Fukuoka
  41. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
  42. Corner House, Singapore
  43. Shoun RyuGin, Taiwan
  44. Toyo Eatery, Manila
  45. Bukhara, New Delhi
  46. Sushi Saito, Tokyo
  47. 80/20, Bangkok
  48. L’Effervescence, Tokyo
  49. Inua, Tokyo
  50. Nouri, Singapore

For more information, visit the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants website. 

Top Image: Hospitality team at Les Amis, Singapore