California Restaurant Named One To Watch by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Single Thread Farms in Northern California has been named the One To Watch by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018, while Saison in San Francisco ranks in top 50.

The two-Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms in Healdsburg made its debut on the extended list of top 100 restaurants this year, placing 91st. However, judges named it a restaurant to watch, indicating its ranking on the prestigious list celebrating global culinary excellence is likely to improve in the future.

The list was topped this year by Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, who won the title for a second time, having previously won in 2016. Former winner El Celler den Can Roca in Spain, placed second, with Mirazur in France coming third. Last year’s winner Eleven Madison Park in New York ranked in fourth place this year, winning the awards for the best restaurant in North America.

Single Thread Farms is run by husband and wife Kyle and Katina Connaughton, who together opened Single Thread as a restaurant, farm and inn at the end of 2016.

Katina, who studied culinary and agricultural techniques in Japan and Europe, farms all of the ingredients for the kitchen, which is overseen by Kyle, who trained at Michel Bras’s three-star restaurant in Hokkaido, Japan, as well as Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in England.

The cuisine and philosophy at Single Thread are driven by the couple’s experiences in Japan and the ethos of omotenashi – the spirit of selfless hospitality. This translates to three different 11-course menus (vegetarian, pescatarian and omnivore) including the best available seafood and farm produce from that day as well as selections of small snacks.

The couple said they were absolutely thrilled to have been named the One to Watch. “It’s a real honor,” said Kyle after the awards.

Meanwhile San Francisco’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant Saison ranked 46th this year, down nine places from 37 last year. Saison, overseen by Joshua Skenes, was named One to Watch in 2014. It serves a nightly-changing tasting menu of up to 18 courses includes the chef’s infamous “Liquid Toast” – glazed sea urchin served on crusty bread soaked in a rich sauce of grilled bread and dusted with a powder of river vegetables; or barbequed celeriac, which is slow-cooked in the fireplace for three days.

Elsewhere on the extended list, California restaurant Corey Lee’s Benu in San Francisco placed 53rd, with Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Yountville, once named the best restaurant in the world, was in 86th position.

No restaurants from Los Angeles have been included in the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony was held in Bilbao, Spain this year. The three-day event included talks by some of the world’s most celebrated chefs, including Bottura, Alain Passard, Dan Barber and Christina Tosi. You can see the full list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants here