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World’s 50 Best Restaurants Names Single Thread ‘One to Watch’ for 2018

What the award means for the California wine country tasting menu and inn

Katina and Kyle Connaughton
Patricia Chang
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

World’s 50 Best season is officially here, folks. Today the list makers announced that chef Kyle Connaughton and farmer Katina Connaughton’s Healdsburg, California, tasting-menu destination Single Thread has earned the “One to Watch” award. This signals the restaurant’s rising position on the global (fine) dining stage, especially for trophy meal collectors: Past recipients of “One to Watch” have included San Francisco’s Saison, known as one of the best (and most expensive) tasting menus in America, and Den in Tokyo, an essential restaurant known for its playful approach to high-end fare.

Per the press release, the award “celebrates emerging global talent and recognizes a restaurant that is outside the main 50 Best list, with strong potential to rise up the ranking in the near future.” To rephrase, this means that Single Thread — which debuted in the 2017 Bay Area Michelin guide with two stars — will not appear in positions 1 through 50 on the 2018 World’s 50 Best List, but it’s a good bet the restaurant will debut in what is colloquially known as the “back 50,” positions 51 to 100. (A spokesperson for the list could not confirm the restaurant’s placement.)

One of Eater’s most beautiful restaurants of 2016, Single Thread serves a tasting menu largely using produce from Katina Connaughton’s farm. The cuisine is equal parts Californian and Japanese, drawing from Kyle Connaughton’s years of experience cooking in Japan, as well as his background in boundary-pushing modernist experimentation as the longtime head of the Fat Duck’s research kitchen. Single Thread’s performance in international rankings like Michelin and World’s 50 Best further cements the Bay Area’s prominence in the high-end fine dining sphere.

In terms of price point and format, Single Thread fits with the World’s 50 Best’s bent toward expensive tasting menus helmed or co-run by male chefs.

The top 50 will be revealed in a ceremony on June 19 in Bilbao, Spain.

World’s 50 Best [Official site]