Well, now we know who won't be on San Pellegrino's World's 50 Best list. For the first time ever, the highly-anticipated (though debatably arbitrary) list has been partially published ahead of time, listing the runners-up from 51-100.
Several Bay Area restaurants snagged spots on the list, including Saison (#56), The Restaurant at Meadowood (#72), Coi (#75) and Manresa (#100). Overall, Saison wins Most Improved, after jumping 13 spots from last year's ranking at #69, while The Restaurant at Meadowood moved up a respectable eight spots from #80. Coi went the opposite direction, moving down to #75 after last year's star performance at #49. The French Laundry, which is likely to be included in the Top 50, was the Bay Area's highest ranked restaurant last year, at spot #44. (Here's the full list of 2014's winners.)
The rankings can change drastically year to year, based on votes cast by a cadre of 972 experts chosen by the guide, categorized by region and composed of "an equal mix of top chefs, leading food journalists, restaurateurs and gourmands." Each voter casts seven votes for their favorite restaurants, which they must have dined in within the previous 18 months. And as the World's Best FAQ states, the term "best" is a relative to the voter, though quality of food and service, atmosphere and price are certainly taken into consideration. A restaurant's ranking can shift based on changing tastes, trends or geographical importance, not necessarily indicating a "decline in standards."
That still leaves several notable San Francisco restaurants out in the cold, including three-Michelin star Benu and two-starred Quince, Acquarello and Atelier Crenn. However, the World's 50 Best will surface next week, perhaps revealing a few high-profile hometown heroes along the way.