Healdsburg’s Single Thread is the only California restaurant to make this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, as announced Monday at a live ceremony in London.
Though the Michelin-starred restaurant slipped from last year’s No. 37 position to No. 50, it bested San Francisco’s Benu and Atelier Crenn, which made the top 50 list in 2021. (Benu came in at No. 97 and Atelier Crenn at No. 72 on a 51 to 100 ranking released before the awards ceremony.)
Single Thread’s top ranking comes on the heels of pandemic challenges for the industry and just five months after the fine-dining destination was forced to close for two months due to a duct fire.
“I’m incredibly proud. It was such a tough year for everyone last year. We’re really honored to have made (the list). It’s such an incredible community of people and friends,” said Single Thread owner and chef Kyle Connaughton from London.
Single Thread is one of only three U.S. restaurants included in the highly competitive awards this year. New York’s Atomix (No. 33, up from No. 43) and Le Bernardin (holding at No. 44) also were on the list.
A luxurious dining experience
Opened in 2016, the 55-seat Single Thread restaurant is known for its luxurious dining experience presented over nearly a dozen courses. Chef Connaughton’s painstakingly plated dishes are as much pieces of art as they are food. His menu is inspired by Japanese cuisine and the micro-seasons of the local farm he owns with his wife, Katina, who manages the farm and creates dynamic floral centerpieces for each table in the restaurant.
Each guest receives a bespoke experience, with a custom menu that in past years has included homemade tofu with Osetra caviar, black cod with squash blossoms or kanpachi with wild seaweed and oyster emulsion. The price tag per person can range from $325 to more than $500 with wine pairings. Reservations typically book out months in advance.
“It was just an amazing experience,” said Timo Rivetti, a real estate broker in Petaluma who visited the restaurant recently. “The first impression with the 17 small bites in a floral arrangement was incredible. The combinations of food just melt in your mouth.”
“The service was impeccable, the waiters are impeccably dressed and just everything had an exquisite taste,” he said.
International spotlight on Healdsburg
This is the fourth time Single Thread has made the top restaurants lists released annually by the organization The World’s 50 Best.
The restaurant debuted on the 51-100 list in 2018, taking the No. 91 spot. That year, it was noted as “One to Watch,” which recognizes “rising star” restaurants. It leapfrogged to No. 71 the following year and then to No. 37 in 2021 (the event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic).
As Single Thread has continued to garner international acclaim — from the Michelin Guide’s three-star rating to a recent Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine — it has brought more attention to Healdsburg and other restaurants in the city.
“They have really changed the town. For us to have such a big spotlight just opens the lens for all of us,” said Melissa Yanc, a former Single Thread employee and the co-owner of Healdsburg’s Quail and Condor Bakery and Troubadour Bread and Sandwiches.
“Kyle and Katina’s level of hospitality isn’t just being nice, but being genuine and sincere. They just breathe that,” she said.
Before receiving this year’s World’s 50 Best recognition, the Connaughtons were the driving force behind the highly anticipated, plant-based restaurant Little Saint, which opened in April in the 10,000-square-foot building in downtown Healdsburg that once housed SHED Modern Grange.
Copenhagen restaurant tops the list
Copenhagen’s Geranium was named the best restaurant in the world at Monday’s awards ceremony in London. The Danish capital continued its run as one of the top dining destinations in the world, with three restaurants among the top 50, following last year’s No. 1 ranking from Chef Rene Redzepi’s Noma restaurant.
European restaurants in Italy and Spain were among the most celebrated, though showings from South America (notably Peru), Tokyo and Mexico were strong, too. Pujol in Mexico City was this year’s “Best Restaurant in North America” at No. 5 on the list.
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Actor Stanley Tucci hosted this year’s awards ceremony and described Single Thread as “a destination for transportive, seasonal tasting menus as well as for its adjoining, upscale, five-room inn.” The Connaughtons were in the audience in London and shared a hug when their No. 50 position was announced.
The restaurants featured on the coveted list are chosen by a collective of 1,000 international restaurant experts and gourmets, according to The World’s 50 Best group. The list has repeatedly been criticized for its lack of diversity. Male-run restaurants in Europe and North America have dominated the list since it launched 20 years ago, while certain regions and continents, such as the Middle East and Africa, and restaurants run by women have remained absent or underrepresented on the list.
Some also view the individual award “Best Female Chef” as an outdated categorization. This year, Leonor Espinosa of Leo restaurant in Bogotá, Columbia, won the controversial honor.
World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022
50. Single Thread, Healdsburg, California (down from 37)
49. Ikoyi, London, United Kingdom (up from 87)
48. Leo, Bogota, Colombia (down from 46)
47. Oteque, Rio de Janiero, Brazil (new entry)
46. Belcanto, Lisbon, Portugal (down from 42)
45. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan (down from 19)
44. Le Bernadin, New York City (same)
43. Boragó, Santiago, Chile (down from 38)
42. Quique Dacosta, Dénia, Spain (up from 74)
41. La Cime, Osaka, Japan (new entry)
40. Schloss Schauenstein, Furstenau, Switzerland (up from 59)
39. Sorn, Bangkok, Thailand (new entry)
38. Jordnær, Copenhagen, Denmark (new entry)
37. Fyn, Cape Town, South Africa (new entry)
36. Odette, Singapore (down from 8)
35. The Clove Club, London, United Kingdom (down from 32)
34. Hisa Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia (down from 21)
33. Atomix, New York City (up from 43)
32. Maido, Lima, Peru (down from 7)
31. Arpege, Paris, France (down from 23)
30. Florilege, Tokyo, Japan (up from 39)
29 St Hubertus, San Cassiano, Italy (new entry)
28. Le Clarence, Paris, France (new entry)
27. Hof van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium (up from 36)
26. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany (up from 31)
25. Frantzen, Stockholm, Sweden (down from 6)
24. The Chairman, Hong Kong, China (down from 10)
23. The Jane, Antwerp, Belgium (new entry)
22. Septime, Paris, France (up from 24)
21. Mugariz, San Sebastian, Spain (down from 14)
20. Den, Tokyo, Japan (down from 11)
19. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy (down from 18)
18. Alchemist, Copenhagen, Denmark (new entry)
17. Nobelhart & Shmutizg, Berlin, Germany (up from 45)
16. Elkano, Getaria, Spain (same)
15. Reale, Castel Di Sangro, Italy (up from 29)
14. Don Julio, Buenos Aires, Argentina (down from 13)
13. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria (down from 12)
12. Uliassi, Senigallia, Italy (Highest Climber; up from 52)
11. Maido, Lima, Peru (down from 7)
10. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy (up from 26)
9. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico (up from 27)
8. Lido 84, Gardone Riviera, Italy (up from 84)
7. A Casa do Porco, Sao Paolo, Brazil (up from 17)
6. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Spain (down from 3)
5. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico (up from 9)
4. Diverxo, Madrid, Spain (up from 20)
3. Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain (up from 5)
2. Central, Lima, Peru (up from 4)
1. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark (up from 2)
More details are available at theworlds50best.com.