2 Korean American Restaurants Included on List of World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 awards were announced earlier this month with two Korean owned restaurants included on the list: San Francisco’s Benu and Manhattan’s Atomix. This is the second time Benu has been named to the list and the first time for Atomix. They are the only two Korean owned restaurants to ever be on the list in the 19 years that the list has been published.

After a Covid hiatus in 2020, the in person award ceremony was held this year in Antwerp, Belgium. Only six American restaurants were on this highly competitive list with all six being either in NYC or California. It is notable that two of the six restaurants are Korean owned and inspired, a telling commentary on the rising popularity of Korean cuisine.

American Restaurants Included in 2021

  • Cosme, NYC
  • Benu, San Francisco
  • SingleThread, Healdsburg, CA
  • Atomix, NYC
  • Le Bernardin, NYC
  • Atelier Crenn, San Francisco

Corey Lee, the owner and head chef of Benu, was born in Korea and grew up in New York. He was head chef at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry before opening Benu in 2010. Benu has been called “the best restaurant in America” by restaurateur David Chang and is also the favorite restaurant of author Chang-rae Lee. Benu is the only Korean owned restaurant in the US to hold three Michelin stars.

Benu 50 Best Restaurants

Atomix is owned by Jung Hyun and Ellia Park, the husband and wife team behind the modern Korean cuisine served in the 16 person NYC restaurant. Jung Hyun Park grew up in Korea and moved to the US in 2012 to become the head chef at Jungsik NYC. He and Ellia opened Atomix in 2017 and have received two Michelin stars every year since 2018.

Atomix 50 Best Restaurants

Here is the full list of restaurants named to this prestigious list:

The 2021 World’s 50 Best Restaurants List

1. Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)

2. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)

3. Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain)

4. Central (Lima, Peru)

5. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain)

6. Frantzén (Stockholm, Sweden)

7. Maido (Lima, Peru)

8. Odette (Singapore)

9. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)

10. The Chairman (Hong Kong, China)

11. Den (Tokyo, Japan)

12. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)

13. Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

14. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)

15. Lido 84 (Gardone Riviera, Italy)

16. Elkano (Getaria, Spain)

17. A Casa do Porco (São Paulo, Brazil)

18. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)

19. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

20. Diverxo (Madrid, Spain)

21. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)

22. Cosme (New York City, USA)

23. Arpège (Paris, France)

24. Septime (Paris, France)

25. White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)

26. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)

27. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)

28. Benu (San Francisco, USA)

29. Reale (Castel di Sangre, Italy)

30. Twins Garden (Moscow, Russia)

31. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)

32. The Clove Club (London, UK)

33. Lyle’s (London, UK)

34. Burnt Ends (Singapore)

35. Ultraviolet (Shanghai, China)

36. Hof Van Cleve (Belgium)

37. SingleThread (Healdsburg, USA)

38. Borago (Santiago, Chile)

39. Florilège (Tokyo, Japan)

40. Suhring (Bangkok, Thailand)

41. Alléno (Paris, France)

42. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)

43. Atomix (New York City, USA)

44. Le Bernardin (New York City, USA)

45. Nobelhart & Schmutzig (Berlin, Germany)

46. Leo (Bogotá, Colombia)

47. Maaemo (Oslo, Norway)

48. Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, USA)

49. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)

50. Wolfgat (Paternoster, South Africa)

About ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Since 2002, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has reflected the diversity of the world’s culinary landscape. Thanks to its panel of more than 1,000 culinary experts, as well as its structured and audited voting procedure, the annual list of the world’s finest restaurants provides a snapshot of some of the best destinations for unique culinary experiences, in addition to being a barometer for global gastronomic trends.

With the annual awards ceremony held in London from 2003 to 2015 before starting a global tour with stops in New York in 2016, Melbourne in 2017, the Basque Country in 2018 and Singapore in 2019, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants creates a fantastic opportunity to bring an incredible community of chefs together from around the world.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 awards, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, were hosted in the city of Antwerp in Flanders (the Flemish-speaking northern region of Belgium) on Tuesday, 5th October. Returning after a year’s hiatus in 2020 due to the global pandemic, an extensive event programme was hosted in Flanders and culminated in the awards ceremony in Antwerp, representing a key milestone in the ongoing revival of the restaurant sector. 

Watch the 2021 Award Ceremony in the video below.

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