Spanish restaurant El Bulli was named the world's best restaurant for the fourth year in a row at a ceremony in London Monday, but its head chef dedicated the prize to his British runner-up.
The restaurant in Catalonia came top of the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants 2009 following a poll of more than 800 chefs, restaurant critics and industry insiders for Restaurant Magazine.
Accepting the highly prestigious award, El Bulli head chef Ferran Adria said it had been "a very important night for Spain", with Spanish restaurants occupying three of the top five spots.
He also praised Heston Blumenthal, the chef at Britain's The Fat Duck restaurant, who was forced to temporarily close his establishment earlier this year after a health scare and who came second in Monday's list.
"I dedicate this prize to Heston Blumenthal. He has shown me what honesty means in this business.... This prize is for you," Adria said.
In third place after The Fat Duck was Denmark's Noma, followed by Mugaritz and El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, Per Se in the United States, Bras in France, Arzak in Spain, Pierre Gagnaire in France and Alinea in the US.
Blumenthal -- whose signature dishes include snail porridge, and egg and bacon ice cream -- repaid the complement, referring to Adria as "my teacher".
He added: "If you had told me 10 or 15 years ago that I would be in the top 200 restaurants in the world I would have been delighted."