All week long, Las Vegas has been teeming with some of the world’s most esteemed makers — and consumers — of food. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants selected Las Vegas as its first-ever American host city for its 2024 awards ceremony. Leading up to and following the event, chefs from Las Vegas restaurants and as far-flung as Hong Kong, Peru, and South Africa have been touring the city, hosting collaborative dinners, and waiting to learn where they would fall on the list of this year’s 50 Best.

The awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 5 at the Wynn Las Vegas revealed that Disfrutar in Barcelona, Spain earned the top spot. Two restaurants from the U.S. made the list this year — with New York City’s Atomix taking number 6 and California’s Single Thread eking out an entry at number 46.

The ceremony was marked by raucous applause among the international assemblage of chefs; polyglot host, Olivia Freijo, who spectators could not stop raving about; and a fair number of technical difficulties that thwarted the efforts to celebrate both the final reveal of spots one and two as well as the so-called “back half” of the 2024 list — numbers 51 to 100. After the ceremony, the audience took to the Encore Beach Club for an after-party — where the swimming pool functioned as a literal watering hole around which chefs, sponsors, and VIPs swarmed to share their excitement, opinions, and criticisms about the rankings and event overall. Here’s what Eater overheard.

  • (At a Signature Sessions dinner with José Andrés and Quique Dacosta)
    Anonymous: “The asparagus is very soft.”
    Server: “It’s a frozen custard with pickled asparagus laid on top.”
    Anonymous: “It’s…asparagus ice cream?”
    Server: “I prefer to think of it as asparagus frozen custard.”

Ice cream in the shape of an asparagus spear on top of caviar.

White “asparagus” and Ossetra caviar.
Janna Karel

  • “It’s a very different ranking from James Beard. I think in the U.S., we put more emphasis on Beard. And 50 Best is judged just by people wealthy enough to go to all these fine dining restaurants internationally. It’s hard for others to get honors or recognition.”
  • “We’re a little disappointed and upset. They had a video showing the restaurants that were ranked 100 to 50 and we had two restaurants that were included in that list. But it didn’t work so we didn’t get that moment of recognition and to celebrate. We’ve been to four of these so we know how these work. I wish they would have announced them.”
  • “Vegas is an assault on the senses in every way.”
  • “I know it takes more than just being a great restaurant to be number one, But I talked to someone who had an eight-and-a-half-hour dinner at Disfrutar. She said it was cool. But like, eight hours? For food? I don’t know, man.”

The winning chefs pose for a group shot on stage at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony.

The winning chefs at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony.
Camila Almeida

  • “I’m sad for Maido. I thought they deserved better than number five. I’ve also been to Table by Bruno Verjus and I’m so happy for them, it’s fucking insane.”
  • “Are these awards for the best restaurants — or the best PR firms?”
  • “I thought Ikoyi should be ranked higher than the 40s. It’s every chef in London’s favorite restaurant. It dropped even below last year.”
  • “I really wanted chef Elena Reygadas to sign my menu. I came all the way from Canada.”
  • “Listen. I thought I knew what to expect from Vegas but it’s crazy. I mean, Elvis is here and tomorrow I go to the Grand Canyon.”
  • “I ordered the foie gras, [obviously]. Back home, foie gras is banned.”
  • “I really want to make a push to be on the list. I’m glad LA is being recognized because I think a rising tide raises all ships.”

Chefs prepare cheesy risotto.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants after party.
Matthew Kang

  • “The Alchemist guys…didn’t seem happy. They were four before and now they’re down to eight.”
  • “Pujol…dropped…”
  • “There’s rumors that they’re going to introduce a North America’s 50 Best next year.”
  • “This ceremony was nice. It was comfortable because you could actually sit. At the World’s 50 Best Bars, people are standing around, they’re talking, taking shots, but you’re standing.”
  • “It was too bad that the videos didn’t play for the number one and number two restaurants.”

Atomix wins number 6 at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Atomix at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Matthew Kang

  • “There are so many places [that ranked] in Europe. It’s like the Scandinavian countries on Eurovision, they’re always up there. They always seem to vote for each other.”
  • “I’ve been to Atomix and to see it represented in the top 10 is so well-deserved. I know it’s a contest or a competition or whatever but being in that room and knowing that these are the best chefs in the world — I mean, we’re all in tears.”

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