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In a crowded universe of restaurant rankings, one foodie website believes its inaugural “Best Restaurants” list is among the world’s most comprehensive.

The Daily Meal unveiled its list of the 101 Best Restaurants in Europe on Wednesday, a grouping of what they call the “most exemplary epicurean endeavours on the European continent.” And talk about far-reaching: the list includes restaurants in 70 cities and 26 countries (a total of 31 were surveyed), going beyond the expected culinary capitals of Paris and London to include eateries in such far-flung locales as Baiersbronn, Germany, and Jarpen, Sweden.

Topping the list is Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy; Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain; and Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, in that order. And while the top 10 includes familiar picks like Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London and Guy Savoy in Paris, it also includes surprises like Aqua in Wolfsburg, Germany and JB in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

So what sets the Daily Meal’s ranking apart from other similar lists, like the famous Michelin and S Pellegrino rankings?

“While other Best of Europe lists like Zagat have covered similar territory, no one else has covered [a total of] 31 countries and enlisted the assistance of European food and dining experts to whittle down the continent’s thousands of restaurants (we started with 1,450) into a more manageable 101… no island, hamlet, principality, or city was overlooked,” said Tim McGeever, a press representative for the food website.

Additionally the Daily Meal’s rankings focus exclusively on one world region each time, which differs from other lists, such as S Pellegrino’s, which have a global focus. Daily Meal’s European list, for example, comes on the heels of two prior Daily Meal rankings, 101 Best Restaurants in America and 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World.

This in depth regional focus also allowed the site to orchestrate a weekly unveiling of the top restaurants on a region-by-region basis.

“Since our 101 list covers such a wide area, we felt breaking it down into regional lists first would not only build excitement for the December debut but it would also be helpful to travelers who are headed to one or two spots and want to know the best restaurants in a more focused area say the UK or Spain/Portugal,” said the list’s editorial directors Colman Andrews and Lauren Mack.

According to the Daily Meal, the rankings were carefully curated over the course of a seven-month-long nomination process in which a team consulted with the Michelin Guide and Daily Meal editors to compile a preliminary list of 1,450 restaurants. More than 200 judges, including restaurant critics and food bloggers, voted by region, before a panel of 33 experts whittled the list down to 101. While there is no indication as to whether the experts visited all the restaurants in the running, the site said the judges who voted for their favourites had “wide restaurant-going experience”.

Judges voted based on two criteria: cuisine and style/decor/service (as a single category). The result is a surprisingly wide-ranging list that covers all price points and cuisines, from traditional tapas and fine French dining to fusion and molecular gastronomy. (For the record, France is home to the most top restaurants, followed by Spain then Italy.)

As for whether this list truly includes Europe’s tastiest offerings? Well, that’s for hungry travellers to judge.

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