Story highlights

Bangkok's Gaggan named Asia's top restaurant two years in a row

Chef Anand Gaggan is celebrated for his modern take on Indian cuisine

Bangkok restaurants have scooped the top prize for three years running

Singapore and Japan both have 10 eateries in the top 50

CNN  — 

They say good things come in threes.

They certainly have for Thailand’s dining scene, as the coveted number one spot at the San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards went to a Bangkok restaurant for the third year running.

Gaggan, chef Anand Gaggan’s restaurant serving “progressive Indian cuisine” scooped the award for the second year in a row, taking over from rival Bangkok eatery Nahm, which took the top prize in 2014.

Victory was made all the sweeter (and tastier) because this year the awards were held in Bangkok for the first time – previous years’ events have been in Singapore.

Reinvigorating Indian cuisine

Anand opened his eponymous restaurant in the Thai capital in 2010 with a mission and vision to “reinvigorate” Indian cuisine by exploiting contemporary techniques and adding molecular twists to traditional Indian dishes.

“It is different, because it doesn’t look the same, it doesn’t feel the same, it doesn’t scent the same,” Gaggan told CNN shortly after receiving his latest accolade.

“But if you are from Kolkata, and you put it in your mouth and close your eyes, it is a short flight to the street there, and you are getting the same flavor that you were raised on.”

“That has been my foundation of cooking – eating in the streets and celebrating life in India.”

Gaggan, 35, said his victory in last year’s awards gave him the confidence to follow his instincts rather than cater to customer whims.

“This year, 2015-16, we cooked what we wanted to cook,” he added. “Our success and the popularity have brought in a lot of clientele, and has changed a lot of things.

“We don’t think, ‘Will this make that person happy?’ Let’s make ourselves happy. And if we cook happy, I hope the guest is happy. And I’m sure they will be.”

Asia’s 2014 winner Nahm may have slipped down to number eight this year, but Australian chef David Thompson, who runs the restaurant as well as his Long Chim restaurant in Singapore, is unlikely to be shedding any tears.

This year he picked up the Diner’s Club Lifetime Achievement Award, having made his name when he opened the Darley Street Thai restaurant in Sydney back in 1991.

Good night for Singapore

Securing second spot for the third year running was Tokyo’s Narisawa. Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa spent eight years training in Europe before opening this award-winning eatery, where he delivers French cuisine featuring Japanese ingredients.

Singapore’s Restaurant Andre moved up two places this year, securing a third-place ranking. The food here is a Singaporean take on southern French nouvelle cuisine.

The highest new entry was modern Korean restaurant Mingles in Seoul, which also took the award for Best Restaurant in Korea.

Singapore has 10 restaurants in the 2016 list, as has Japan (seven of which are in Tokyo). Hong Kong has nine.

Tokyo’s Florilege, a bijou French restaurant owned and run by Hiroyasu Kawate, was named 2016’s One to Watch.

Margarita Fores was named Asia’s best female chef as a result of her work in Manila where she runs a number of Italian-inspired restaurants.

The awards were based on votes from more than 300 chefs, restaurateurs and experts in six countries across Asia.

Asia’s top 10 restaurants

1. Gaggan (Bangkok)
68/1 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road, Lumpini, Bangkok; +66 2 652 1700

2. Narisawa (Tokyo)
Minami Ayoyama 2-6-15, Minato-ku, Tokyo; +81 3 5785 0799

3. Restaurant Andre (Singapore)
41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore; +65 6534 8880

4. Amber (Hong Kong)
7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2132 0066

5. Nihonryori Ryugin (Tokyo)
Ground Floor, 7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo; +81 3 3423 8006

6. Waku Ghin (Singapore)
Level 2-01, Atrium 2, The Shoppes, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore; +65 6688 8507

7. Ultraviolet (Shanghai)
c/o Bund 18, 6/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, Shanghai; +86 21 6323 9898

8. Nahm (Bangkok)
Metropolitan Hotel, 27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek Sathorn, Bangkok; +66 2 625 3333

9. Indian Accent (New Delhi)

At The Manor, 77 Friends Colony, New Delhi 110065, India; +91 11 43235151

10. Lung King Heen (Hong Kong)

Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance St, Central, Hong Kong; +852 3196 8888

The other 40

11. Hajime, Osaka, Japan

12. Les Amis, Singapore

13. Otto e Mezzo, Hong Kong

14. Burnt Ends, Singapore

15. Mingles, Seoul

16. L’Effervescence, Tokyo

17. Corner House, Singapore *new entry*

18. Fu He hui, Shanghai

19. Issaya Siamese Club, Bangkok, Thailand

20. Quintessence, Tokyo

21. Shinji by Kanesaka, Singapore

22. Jungsik, Seoul

23. Eat Me, Bangkok, Thailand

24. Takazawa, Tokyo

25. Ministry of Crab, Colombo, Sri Lanka

26. Sushi Saito, Tokyo

27. The Chairman, Hong Kong

28. Mr and Mrs Bund, Shanghai

29. Jaan, Singapore

30. Le Mout, Taichung, Taiwan

31. = La Maison de la Nature Goh, Fukuoka, Japan

31. = Tippling Club, Singapore

33. Tenku RyuGin, Hong Kong

34. Fook Lam Moon, Hong Kong

35. Robuchon au Dome, Macau, China

36. Iggy’s, Singapore

37. Den, Tokyo

38. Wild Rocket, Singapore

39. Gallery Vask, Manila, Philippines

40. L’atelier de Joel Robuchon, Hong Kong

41. Bo Innovation, Hong Kong

42. Kikunoi, Kyoto, Japan

43. Cuisine Wat Damnak, Sien Reap, Cambodia

44. Wasabi by Morimoto, Mumbai, India

45. Bukhara, New Delhi

46. Raw, Taipei

47. Nihonbashi, Colombo, Sri Lanka

48. Ta vie, Hong Kong

49. Locavore, Bali, Indonesia

50. La Yeon, Seoul, Korea

For more on the winners, visit the official Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants website.

This article was originally published in February 2016.