Best restaurants results (finally)

Posted on November 15, 2006 by Aun

Six months ago, in response to the way that Restaurant Magazine fashioned its annual list of “The World’s Fifty Best Restaurants”, I launched a little survey of my own. Through its results, I hoped to celebrate the very best restaurants (as well as our favourites) in Asia-Pacific. I also hoped that the results would held publicize a lot of restaurants that deserve to be as well-known as their counterparts in the West.

I know that I’m incredibly late with the results, but a lot has happened in the last six months. And as they say, better late than never.

Some of the final results were predictable, but some of them were surprising (to me), especially the results for our favourite restaurants. I should say right from the start that, like all surveys, these results are hardly definitive. They are simply the sums and averages of the responses of a number of your peers. They are also biased towards certain countries due entirely to the number of respondents from specific places (like Singapore, for example). I’d like to do this survey again and again. I hope that with each annual edition the number of respondents grows larger and larger. And with a wider pool, the results should become more trustworthy and less biased.

I’ve divided the top-rated restaurants into 3 tiers. Instead of toques or stars (or chopsticks), I’m awarding woks. Only two restaurants this year have earned the highest rating of 3 woks. Nine restaurants earned 2 woks and sixteen restaurants earned 1 wok. A rating of 1 wok, I should say, is still pretty outstanding. There were many more restaurants that didn’t get enough votes to qualify even for this rating.


Best in the region!

Tetsuya’s, Sydney, Australia
Tetsuya Wakuda’s eponymous restaurant blew all the other restaurants in this survey away, garnering up to 10 to 20 times as many votes as many others. This self-trained Japanese chef’s innovative cuisine is, quite simply, genius.

Iggy’s, Singapore
The only other restaurant with close to as many votes as Tetsuya’s was Iggy’s. No surprise that owner Ignatius Chan is one of Tetsuya’s buddies. Iggy and his chef Dorin Schuster serve wonderfully brilliant contemporary cuisine in a charming and clubbish space in the Regent Hotel, Singapore.


Excellent!

Hua Ting, Singapore
Jean-Georges, Shanghai
La Petite Cuisine, Taipei
Lei Garden, Singapore
Les Amis, Singapore
Oso, Singapore
Saint Pierre, Singapore
Whampoa Club, Shanghai
Xi Yan, Hong Kong


Very good!

Au Jardin Les Amis, Singapore
Circa The Prince, Melbourne
Fook Lam Moon, Hong Kong
Il Lido, Singapore
Imperial Treasure, Singapore
Kee Club, Hong Kong
Marque, Sydney
Opia, Hong Kong
Palladio, Shanghai
Quay, Sydney
Robuchon a Galera, Macau
Shimpei, Tokyo
Third Floor, Kuala Lumpur
Vue du Monde, Melbourne
Yung Kee, Hong Kong
Zanotti, Bangkok

The restaurants that topped our list of favourites in Asia-Pacific were a little different from the ones that topped our list of “best restaurants”. There were a few restaurants, as you would expect, that made both lists. But while our voters named two chic high-end restaurants as the region’s best, when asked to name their favourite places to eat, casual cafes and eateries reigned supreme. I’ve divided the favourites into just two groups.

Our favourite three restaurants (with equal votes) are the Din Tai Fungs in Shanghai and Taipei; the Greyhound Cafes in Bangkok; and Icebergs Dining Room and Bar in Sydney.

The next group consists of 10 restaurants. They are Akashi in Singapore; Biscotti in Bangkok; Bistrot Moncur in Sydney; Da Paolo in Singapore; Ember in Singapore; Kee Club in Hong Kong; Kuriya in Singapore; Tetsuya’s in Sydney; The Cliff in Singapore; and Yung Kee in Hong Kong.

Many thanks to everyone who took part in this year’s survey. I hope that you agree with some, if not most, of the results. If you don’t, then please take part in next year’s survey.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. J November 16, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    finally indeed ;) what i would do for a luxe-style travel/pocket guide edition of this!

  2. SL November 16, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    Have tried Oso once and won’t go back. The food was fine, but the service was poor.

    We were told (not asked) to move to another table in the middle of dinner so the restaurant could seat a party of eight that arrived without reservations.

    Naturally, the waiter waited until the moment he delivered our main course to make his order.

  3. Rasa Malaysia November 16, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    Hi Chubby Hubby,

    I had been to the DTF in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, but after many trips to Shanghai, I found that other Chinese restaurants in Shanghai serve much better Xiao Long Bao, for example: Jade Garden (Su Zhe Hui), Shanghai Moon (Lao Ye Shanghai), even Shanghai Uncle. Check them out.

    To me, DTF is overly franchised now that it loses its originality.

  4. Julia November 16, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    WOW – what a great list!
    must have been really difficult!
    the food at Tetsuya’s looks absolutely amazing…another place in the world I would love to visit…(haha, with of course the other 26 on this list!) =)

  5. Esther November 16, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks for the results CH!

  6. bastard November 16, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    i was wondering,
    for those places that ranked in that have more than one branch, could you specify which?

    dao paolo’s for example, has marked differences between their various branches.

    but an excellent read nonetheless! thanks so much for all the research. heh.

  7. shaz November 16, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    hey aun, thanks for the effort! It’ll come in handy, especially when I travel around the region.

  8. Stephanie November 16, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    As a former HK gweilo resident who paced the streets from Wan Chai to Mongkok looking for good Chinese food, I’d love to hear more about Xi Yan … where is it, what’s its regional specialty, who runs it??????? Enlightenment please!

  9. Gustad November 16, 2006 at 11:05 pm

    wok rated, nice!

  10. tom sawyer November 17, 2006 at 1:37 am

    How could you have missed Garibaldi?

  11. Chubby Hubby November 17, 2006 at 9:17 am

    J: I’d love to do one, with proper reviews of the restaurants. All we need is a sponsor!

    sl: That’s awful. My own meals at Oso have been hit and miss. I had an amazing meal there once, but the subsequent visits were only so-so. Going back next week at the invitation of a friend, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    Rasa: I like the xiao long bao at the Crystal Jade restaurants myself ;-)

    Julia: Tetsuya’s is definitely a must-visit experience in every foodie’s life. I have to admit that I haven’t been to all the restaurants that made it to the top three tiers.

    Esther: Most welcome.

    Bastard: Well, unfortunately, when people nominated/voted for restaurants, for groups like Da Paolo or Greyhound Cafe, they did not indicate which one. Same goes for Imperial Treasure.

    Shaz: My pleasure.

    Stephanie: If you search my site and other food bloggers sites (like charxiaupau’s), you’ll find extensive descriptions of the food at Xi Yan, which started life as a secret, private dining experience in HK.

    Gustad: I thought it would be appropriately amusing.

    Tom Sawyer: Sadly, while I personally love Garibaldi, it didn’t get enough votes. Hopefully, Garibaldi fans will vote en masse next year.

  12. nonchann November 18, 2006 at 2:13 am

    Hi Chubby,

    I would have to say that the results are really disturbing. The bias…is just too much. I understand this is a teething problem. But should this result warrant publication? Where are the Japanese restaurants? Where are the restaurants from China?Where are the restaurants from India? Is this truly representative of the best in Asia Pacific?

    I remember one of the objectives of this list was to do justice for Asian restaurants that were deserving but not ranked on the world’s list. I feel that there is just such an overwhelming bias on this list as well.Some of the restaurants listed, are really, in my personal opinion, not deserving of the woks they have been given. Maybe i am expecting too much, but i am pretty dissapointed.

    Hopefully, there will be a better and a more defintive list next year. I am looking forward to next year.

  13. Chubby Hubby November 18, 2006 at 10:05 am

    Nonchann: I partially agree with you. Sadly, a lot of great-sounding restaurants in Japan only got 1 nomination. The bias is definitely because of whom voted and where they are from. As I said in the post, hopefully, if I can make this bigger and better next year, we can get a lot more voters from all over Asia — which will give us more balanced results.

    But you always have to start somewhere. And I think this list was a pretty good start.

  14. Ed Charles November 20, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    Can’t argue with the ones I know. Tetsuya’s is so so good. BTW your French is very much better than Shannon Bennett’s. In the real world it should be Vue du Monde but in the SB universe it is the incorrect Vue de Monde.

  15. Anonymous November 21, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    I think the Garibaldi group of eateries produce much better food than the Da Paulos’!

    I would definitely vote for it the next time…..

    Chloe

  16. rubytarbles January 31, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I don’t want to complain about bias, because I love that you’ve done what nobody else is doing. But my intuition is that the results reflected here are primarily based on a Singapore / HK readership with a little KL thrown in and maybe a dash of Australia. There’s little hope of getting anything more than tourist or expat thoughts on Tokyo or Seoul, which is only marginally useful anyway, so it’s probably better just to exclude thse from this survey.

    I love what you’ve done, but maybe it’s best to recognize its limitations to improve the results. Why not try the Zagat approach — a survey of user thoughts on the restaurants of one city’s restaurants. I think they have one for Tokyo, for example. That way, there can be enlightened discussion as to what the top 10 resturants in Hong Kong are? And it would be even more useful.

  17. Kevin March 13, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    I do agree with rubtarbles that the survey was singapore and HK-centric. but it is a good start. with regard to the suggestion of a Zagat approach that would really be helpful if something like that can be done in Asia or at least SE asia. the zagat was very useful to me when I was in NYC.
    CH, can I request for other restaurant suggestions in KL? I’m going there next week with my brothers and we plan to eat out. Only 1 KL restaurant was on your list. Thanks.

  18. Gavin April 6, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks for the list. Kinda like Zagat, there are crowd pleasers that I find only so-so. I recommended Oso to my Italian friend and he thought they were great, but when he went back a second time the food was good but not great. Apparently the original chef had a traffic accident so was not in action. This was quite a few months back.

  19. Bhanu Inkawat December 24, 2007 at 2:42 am

    Hi
    I have been a frequent visitor on your website. I foundall info interesting and enjoyable to read. I also intereste to know what is the result of this year Asia Pacific Best Restaurant List. Our restaurant Greyhound Cafe was amongst the Most Favorite last year.
    I am intereste to find out.

    Cheers,
    Bhanu

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