Asia's 50 best restaurants you can't visit now

No.1 Odette chef, Julien Royer, sends message of hope and togetherness

The Odette restaurant team with Odette executive chef Julien Royer, centre. (Photo supplied)

Singapore's Odette retained its No.1 spot on the 2020 Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list, which was live streamed at 3pm (Bangkok time) on Tuesday. For the second year, Singapore took top honours of the coveted dual titles of The Best Restaurant in Asia and The Best Restaurant in Singapore.

"The current situation is very unpredictable and scary for all of us, but I would like to send a message of hope and togetherness. It's important that we realise we're all in the same boat: no matter the restaurant, the cuisine or where we are, it's affecting us all. In Singapore, we are lucky to still be able to operate the restaurant for now. I see from my colleagues in Europe, the US and many places in the world, where they can't keep their restaurants open, that they are fighting to find solutions, to keep going and not close their doors. We must realise that we have to put all our efforts together to ultimately carry on doing what we love and doing our job. It will happen only if we're all together," said Odette executive chef Julien Royer.

The 2020 list included seven new entries, with Charoen Krung favourite 80/20 making its debut at No.47.  Thailand's six other entries include Sorn, which soars 32 places to No.16 this year, making the Bangkok restaurant the recipient of the "Highest Climber Award, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles". Dropping to No.39 from No.19 is Bo.lan, with Paste taking the No. 38 spot. Gaa climbed up one spot to No.15, while the popular Le Du took No.8. The Best Restaurant in Thailand 2020 on the list is Sühring, which placed at No.6.

Japan Den (No.3) retains the title of "The Best Restaurant in Japan" for a third successive year. Other Japan restaurants within the top 10 include Tokyo-based Florilège (No.7) and Narisawa (No.9), as well as La Cime (No.10). Osaka-based La Cime's chef Yusuke Takada is also this year's recipient of the peer-voted Inedit Damm Chefs' Choice Award.

Among the new entries, two are from Japan: Tokyo restaurants Ode (No.35 ) and Inua (No.49). Legendary chef Yoshihiro Murata of Kikunoi in Kyoto is this year's recipient of the American Express Icon Award, while Natsuko Shoji of Été claims the Asia's Best Pastry Chef Award, sponsored by Valrhona.

Rising nine places to No.2, Hong Kong restaurant The Chairman claims the title of The Best Restaurant in China, sponsored by Cinco Jotas, following last year's winner, Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (No.41). Hong Kong's returning favourites include Belon (No.4), Vea (soaring 22 places to No.12), Neighborhood (No.19), Seventh Son (No.25), 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (No.32) and Lung King Heen (No.33).

Last year, chef Richard Ekkebus of Amber (No.31) introduced a progressive, dairy-free menu and explored new ways to minimise waste, reduce single-use plastic and limit the restaurant's carbon footprint. As a result, Amber is the 2020 recipient of the Sustainable Restaurant Award, sponsored by Beronia.

Chef André Chiang's new restaurant Sichuan Moon at the Wynn Palace, Macau, debuted at No.23 and is the 2020 recipient of the Highest New Entry Award, sponsored by Legle. Elsewhere in Macau, Wing Lei Palace climbs 14 places to No.22.

Mume (No.18) retains the title of The Best Restaurant in Taiwan, sponsored by The Dalmore, for a second straight year, while JL Studio, the 2019 recipient of the Miele One To Watch Award, enters the list at No.26. Taiwan is also represented by perennials Raw (No.36) and Shoun RyuGin (No.43).

Aside from Odette, Singapore is also represented by chef Björn Frantzén's Zén, which makes a dramatic debut on the list at No.28. Returning Singapore favourites Burnt Ends (No.5), Les Amis (No.11), Jaan by Kirk Westaway (No.21) and Corner House (No.42) all rose in the rankings. A fine-dining institution in Singapore since 1994, Les Amis is this year's winner of the prestigious Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award.

Three South Korean restaurants made the list, including first-time entry Hansikgonggan (No.34), headed by Cho Hee-sook, who is Asia's Best Female Chef 2020. The popular Mingles (No.14) holds its title as The Best Restaurant in Korea for a fifth consecutive year, while TocToc rises 14 places to No.27.

Indian Accent, rising four places to No.13, is awarded The Best Restaurant in India for a sixth straight year, while Bukhara makes a re-entry on the list at No.45. India's winners' circle also includes Masque in Mumbai, which is the 2020 winner of the Miele One To Watch Award.

Ministry of Crab in Colombo (No.30), with a branch that opened last year in Bangkok, is once again named The Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka, while Locavore (No.37) in Bali claims the honour of The Best Restaurant in Indonesia. Toyo Eatery (No.44), wins The Best Restaurant in Philippines title for a second year.