There is no more famous chefs in the world than Gordon Ramsay, a chef that has branded himself as the angry British bastard that rips chefs to shreds and is seeming omnipresent on televisions around the world. He is so omnipresent on television that it might surprise some to know that Ramsay is still a heavyweight in the culinary world, with restaurants around the world that have garnered him nearly 20 Michelin Stars (with 17 and counting). Although, as those that religiously watch Ramsay’s television show Hell’s Kitchen know, the winner of that show actually ends up getting a high paying job in whichever new restaurant Ramsay is opening that year, which only goes to show that while he may come off as harsh to his potential future employee, Ramsay at least puts his money where his mouth is. So, we thought it’d be nifty to make the first ever top 10 list of Ramsay’s restaurants around the world to help you peak into the off-camera life of our favorite TV chef and second favorite TV jerk (we still have a soft spot for Simon Cowell). So, let’s jump right in!
10. The Fat Cow
Gordon Ramsay is perhaps best known for his temper and ability to insult those who seem to genuinely deserve it. That’s what makes him so endearing, even in a time where feeling safe in the workplace seems to be the topic de jour. One of his go-to insults is calling people fat, or stupid cows. Perhaps fittingly, the restaurant was seemingly doomed from the beginning, with legal challenges coming at every stage of the restaurant. Ramsay was first sued by the contractors who helped refurbish the place over a bill of over $45,000, then he was sued for not providing minimum wage in a class action lawsuit by employees and finally he was sued by a Spanish chef over the name Fat Cow, as he had somehow obtained the rights to use that name exclusively (and then he sued Ramsay again after Ramsay closed the restaurant and rebranded it for a healthy sum of $10 million dollars). After that, the owner of the center that the restaurant was housed in ended up suing Ramsay for $6 million dollars for unpaid rent on a lease of $52k a month. Ramsay said, “It’s the unfortunate, but inevitable normal procedure following the closure of a restaurant”. It did actually serve food at one point, though, in addition to getting served legal papers. It was actually intended to be a more casual take on Ramsay’s cuisine, with a concept that Ramsay described as coming from “[his] desire to have a neighborhood restaurant that you could go to all the time to just relax and enjoy a terrific meal”. Considering all the stress from the lawsuits, it’s sort of ironic that it was meant as a place for relaxation, but I guess that’s the karma that comes along with naming your restaurant after an insult.
9. Savoy Grill
The Savoy Grill is located in the historic Savoy Hotel in London, England, a hotel that has been in business since 1889. The first of the Savoy group of hotels, the Savoy was actually the first luxury hotel in Britain, the first to utilize electric lights throughout it’s building, the first to have electric lifts/elevators, the first to have bathrooms (instead of chamber pots), the first to have both hot and cold water and other amenities that most of us take for granted at a Motel 6 these days. With elements of Art Deco surrounding it, the Savoy Grill is managed by Ramsay and the CEO of the Gordon Ramsay Group. There are also six private dining rooms within the Savoy Grill, which is a nod to the Gilbert and Sullivan operas that used to take place at the hotel. The grill did have a Michelin star at one point, but after they lost it they decided to shut down and reopen with a new menu. That menu met mixed reviews but it is still in business and feels like a trip back to the 1920’s, so if you’ve ever wanted to rock flapper gear and eat some delicious food, check out the Savoy Grill!
While Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants range in what they offer from casual dining to Scottish cuisine, etc. If you really want to experience the go-to food that best represents Gordon Ramsay then you’ll want to visit restaurants like Pétrus, which serves Modern French Cuisine (although it could be argued that Ramsay is more well known for Classical French Cuisine as it was a trip to France in his youth that really solidified Ramsay’s vision and goals as a chef). Located on Kinnerton Street in London, Pétrus has held a Michelin star since 2011 and it’s also been awarded five AA Rosettes (Which is an award given by Automobile Association, which is similar to Michelin except for the fact that it’s British and not French). Pétrus Opened in 2010 and was initially run by Head Chef Sean Burbidge, who had worked in other Gordon Ramsay restaurants including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (the number one entry on this list) and Gordon Ramsay au Trianon (although this was his first head chef gig).
7. La Noisette
Another French restaurant in London, England, it’s clear that Ramsay has a niche in terms of the type of cuisine he prefers to offer as well as the location that he starts most of his restaurants in. Located at 164 Sloane Street in London (obviously), the restaurant location has a rich history of hosting multiple restaurants despite the fact that the building itself only opened in the mid-1990’s. Originally it was a private members-only club named Montes, with a kitchen that was operated by celebrity/star chef after celebrity/star chef including Alain Ducasse (who has been awarded multiple Michelin stars) and Jamie Oliver who oversaw chef Ben O’Donoghue in the early 2000’s. Purchased by Gordon Ramsay Holdings (Which makes you wonder where he gets the name for his companies/restaurants) in 2005, it was originally operated by Ian Pengelley who opened the eponymous Pengelley’s which closed after a year. It was then re-opened as La Noisette, with chef patron Bjorn van der Horst, where it was awarded it’s first Michelin star until it closed again in March of 2009. This restaurant may be responsible for Ramsay’s expansion into other physical locations as having multiple Michelin stars winning restaurants that offer French cuisine in one city can be too much of a good thing. It’s that influence that gets this a higher spot on this list.
Verre, which is also known as Gordon Ramsay at the Hilton Dubai Creek, is one of Ramsay’s non-London based restaurants and is, spoiler alert, located within the Hilton in Dubai Creek. It was the first restaurant that Ramsay opened outside of the UK, and was in business for 10 years which is a lifetime in the restaurant world (as most restaurants fail within the first five years, actually four out of five new restaurants fail within that time frame, which goes to show how amazing some of Ramsay’s accomplishments are). Verre was a joint venture between Gordon Ramsay Holdings and the Hilton itself, with Ramsay taking a percentage of the profits each month and Hilton handling the staff salaries and the layout of the restaurant. Perhaps not surprisingly, Ramsay disliked the decor of the restaurant which caused problems with the management at that location and at Hilton corporate, especially after Ramsay started paying the staff out of pocket to supplement the low wages offered by Hilton corporate. Despite those problems, multiple top chefs worked at Verre including Angela Hartnett and Jason Atherton who both ended up winning Michelin stars when they returned to the UK. Verre was at one point also named the best restaurant in the Middle East, which is means a lot when you have places like Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, oil-rich countries with money to burn on fancy restaurants.
5. Union Street Cafe
Union Street Cafe was the first restaurant that opened after Ramsay had a falling out with his father-in-law, who had been embezzling from the company and ended up getting charged and convicted with the conspiracy to hack the internal records of Gordon Ramsay Holdings. Located in Southwark, London, it moved away from Ramsay’s typical go to (French cuisine) and offers Mediterranean cuisine, the focus being on Italian dishes. The head chef is Davide Degiovanni, whose name explains the cuisine, which is part of a menu that changed daily. The restaurant originally had the financial backing of the most famous soccer/football player in the world, David Beckham, which helped hype the restaurant to the point that it had over 10,000 booking requests before the doors even opened. While Beckham actually didn’t end up investing in the restaurant, the hype surrounding his involvement was seemingly priceless. Beyond that, the restaurant had over 2,500 booking requests in the first four hours of it’s websites launch, as well, which helped the restaurant stay fully booked until the end of it’s first year. Launched in 2013, it’s still in operation and considering it’s ever-changing menu, it’s a place that you’ll want to visit again and again (especially if you like Italian food)!
Murano is another London, England restaurant that was opened in August of 2008 with both Gordon Ramsay and chef Angela Harnett helming the cuisine (you’ll recognize Hartnett from another restaurant earlier in this list). Another Michelin Star masterpiece, the Murano has retained that star since it earned it back in 2014. In a review by Matthew Norman of the Guardian, Murano was lauded as having staff service that was called “superb” and food that was called “majestic”. It also received an eight-and-a-half out of ten by Jasper Gerard of The Telegraph. Helmed by a female head chef, a rarity even in today’s restaurant world, was also something that a lot of reviewers pointed out with one going as far as to say that the cuisine proved all the “chauvinists wrong” because of Hartnett’s involvement. Ironically it’s now helmed by a male chef in Oscar Holgado, who has kept the quality going as it still retains it’s Michelin star, perhaps because Hartnett owns the restaurant as well and is still heavily involved in its day-to-day operations. Take that, men who think women should stay in the kitchen but don’t want … A woman in the kitchen?
3. Angela Hartnett at the Connaught
Speaking of Angela Hartnett… She’s clearly earned her trust with Gordon Ramsay, in so far that he’s opened up a restaurant with her (through his Gordon Ramsay Holdings company) and even let her copy the way that he names his restaurants (and companies, apparently). Located within the Connaught Hotel, a five-star restaurant that first opened in 1815 as the Prince of Saxe Coburg Hotel (an offshoot of another hotel opened by Alexander Grillon), and was an off-shoot of sorts in and of itself in that it was opened after Ramsay successful launched another restaurant within the Claridge hotel (which is owned by the same equity group that owns the Connaught). Another Michelin star winner, the equity group initially asked Ramsay to relocate his namesake restaurant (and the number one entry on this list) into that location, as it was replacing the legendary Connaught Restaurant that was run by chef Michel Bourdin for a quarter of a century. The menu was described by Hartnett as having Mediterranean influences based on her roots as an Italian, and is ironically one of the least Gordon-esque restaurants on this list as Hartnett made a point to not simply copy her mentor’s food. That shows what a great mentor and businessman Ramsay is, as despite what some may think, his ego isn’t so large that he insists that those he mentors do things exactly the way he would do them. They just better not bring un-seared scallops (that’s a Hell’s Kitchen joke).
Amaryllis was a restaurant that opened in 2001 and closed in 2004. You may wonder why a list of top restaurants includes restaurants that only lasted a couple of years, but the reality of opening/starting a restaurant is extremely complicated as the restaurant industry is actually one of the most difficult to succeed in even when you’ve got the name recognition behind your restaurant that Ramsay has. Located in Glasgow, Scotland, Amaryllis received a Michelin star in its second year of business, 2002, which it held until it closed in 2004. Ramsay was actually born in Glasgow, Scotland (but was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, England) and that’s why he wanted to open a restaurant in Scotland that featured cuisine from Scotland. The day-to-day cooking was actually done by David Dempsey, a name you’ll see a few times in this list as he is essential Ramsay’s protege. As the chef de cuisine, Dempsey (who had previously been a sous chef under Ramsay at the number one entry on this list) and Ramsay took two years to find the proper location in Glasgow. They ended up finding it in the One Devonshire Gardens hotel which is located in the west of the city. While it did retain its Michelin star through its entirety, it perhaps failed because Dempsey ended up being promoted to the head chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (the number one entry on this list) and leaving Amaryllis. It was actually fully booked on the weekends when it closed, and also was responsible for giving Ramsay the most active Michelin stars of any chef in the world, but because of his high standards (and the slow weeknight bookings), it closed in 2004 to the detriment of the Scottish foodies.
1. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
The aptly named Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is the first restaurant that Ramsay opened and is definitely the most prestigious. Awarded three Michelin stars since it opened in 1998, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is located in London, England. Also known as Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road, the restaurant does have some critics as well, namely from the Harden’s restaurant guide which has listed it as one of the most overpriced restaurants in the UK as well as one of the most “most disappointing”. Other guides, like the Michelin guide, disagree, such as the Good Food Guide, which lists Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as the second best restaurant in the UK (after The Fat Duck which is located in Bray, Berkshire, which means that it lists Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as the best restaurant in all of London (which by itself is a foodies dream)). If you find yourself in the UK and are looking for classic or traditional French cuisine, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is a must visit, just remember to bring a credit card with a high limit. Currently run by Larry Jayasekara (who won the 2016 National Chef of the Year competition in the UK), the inside of the restaurant was designed by the same people who designed the beautiful Savoy Grill (the previous entry on this list) and the York and Albany. In addition to it’s Modern French Cuisine, the wine list includes over 2,000 bottles of wine, which includes 34 different vintages of the French wine known as Pétrus, which is obviously where the name came from. The food has been described as “distinctly Gordon Ramsay in composition”, which, again, makes it one of the best representations of Ramsay’s cuisine out there.