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world's best 50 restaurants

Getting on the list encourages food tourism, Elena Arzak says

Elena Arzak, named the best chef in the world two years ago, said coming in at the first 10 places on the world's top ranking gastronomic list could help lift Spain's depressed economy.

  • Elena Arzak. Photo: EITB

    Elena Arzak. Photo: EITB

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The announcement of the official list of the world's best 50 restaurants by prestigious UK magazine Restaurant was excellent news for the Basque Country and its province of Gipuzkoa as the inclusion of two Basque restaurants in the top 10 will boost food tourism in the recession-bound region.

Mugaritz and Arzak, came in at No. 4 and No. 8 on the list, and Bizkaia's restaurant Asador Etxebarri was also featured in the latest top 50 in position 44, making the Basque Country a top ranking gastronomic destination.

Elena Arzak, named the best chef in the world two years ago, told Reuters she also thought the rankings could help lift the depressed economy.

Tourism is one of the only bright spots in Spain's economy, which has shrunk for seven consecutive quarters with record unemployment of 27 percent.

"Getting on the list has a major international impact because it encourages food tourism and generates excitement among people who like fine dining," Arzak said.

"People come from all over the world ... recently we've been seeing lots of visitors from Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Canada. It's like you get to travel all over the world without leaving the restaurant, just talking to the people who come in."