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Danish restaurant ranked world's best for 3rd year

Associated Press Published: April 30, 2012
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A menu of lichen, pine needles and hay once again has trumped classic cuisines in a ranking of the world's top restaurants.

For a third consecutive year, chef Rene Redzepi's diminutive but innovative Danish restaurant Noma earned the top spot in Restaurant magazine's annual S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards, announced Monday in London.

Redzepi cooks with a meticulous focus on indigenous ingredients, from moss and snails to sloe berries and unripe plums. Since it opened in 2004, the Copenhagen restaurant has been credited with redefining Nordic cooking and gets thousands of reservation requests a day. The current menu includes items such as "Cauliflower and pine" and "Pear tree!"

The list's second- and third-place restaurants also remained unchanged from the 2011 list. Spain's El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, and Mugaritz, in San Sebastian, once again were ranked Nos. 2 and 3. Also placing from Spain was Arzak, in San Sebastian, at No. 8.

The United States had three restaurants in the top 10, with Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York leading at No. 6 (moving up from the No. 10 spot last year). Alinea, Grant Achatz' ode to molecular gastronomy in Chicago, fell one spot to No. 7 in this year's ranking. Daniel Humm's Eleven Madison Park in New York shot up from No. 24 last year to tenth place this year.

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