Top Restaurant Noma Sickens 63 Patrons With Severe Vomiting and Diarrhea

To get reservations at Noma, the world’s No. 1 restaurant three years running, you have to phone in or email the Danish eatery on the eighth day of next month to get a reservation in three months, if you’re lucky. The seatings for the entire month usually fill up within an hour.

What’s on the menu? Chef Rene Redzepi has reinvented Nordic dining with experimental plates like “crispy deer lichen dusted with ‘cep’ mushrooms on a bed of brilliant green moss” or “Norwegian razor clam enshrouded in green parsley jelly.” Feeling adventurous? Try the live Fjord shrimp that get brought to your table in a ice-filled jar and can jump out, off your plate.

But, Noma’s reign as “the toughest reservation to land in the world” might be coming to an end.

On Friday, the restaurant issued an apology after 63 patrons got sick with viral gastroenteritis during a five-day period in February. Between Feb. 12-16 diners experienced extreme vomiting and diarrhea after eating at the chic eatery in Copenhagen, Denmark. What’s worse is that, after researching the cause of the outbreak, the menu isn’t believed to have been the culprit, but a sick kitchen staff employee is the source, say Danish health authorities. An e-mail from the sick employee explaining his falling ill after work had apparently been overlooked. How he became sick is unknown.

“We are in the business of making people happy and taking care of our guests, so this is the worst thing that could happen to us,” Peter Kreiner, managing director for the restaurant, told Reuters. “Since the outbreak we have worked closely with the health authorities to get to the bottom of it and find the source of infection.” The restaurant is looking to compensate its victims.

Noma, located along the waterfront in Copenhagen’s artsy Christianshavn neighborhood, opened its doors in 2004. It has holds two coveted Michelin stars. Anticipation for a hard-to-come-by third star from the food ranking guide was possibly on the horizon for the fine dining establishment this coming week, when Michelin announces its latest star ratings for Copenhagen on Thursday. The restaurant was awarded the top spot on Acqua Panna World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2010, 2011 and 2012. We’ll see how that pans out in 2013.

Might be easier to get a reservation there now, though.