We asked the general public to vote for their favourite restaurants across the UK, and here at the 10 finalists
Beach House Restaurant
Located right on the sands of Wales’ Oxwich Bay, Hywel Griffith has worked hard to ensure what’s on the plate at his restaurant is as equally awe inspiring as the view.Griffith, who has worked at The Lanesborough in London and with Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor, before returning to Wales to work at Ynyshir, champions local Welsh produce with The Beach House serving three menus (three, six and eight courses), plus two vegetarian options.
Former Gymkhana head chef chefs Nand Kishor and Sanjay Gour opened their debut restaurant in Epsom in 2017 and it quickly gained a reputation for being one of the south’s best Indian restaurants. Dastaan builds on the duo’s extensive experience of working in high-end kitchens but is a much more accessible experience than many of its London-based contemporaries. The pair will launch a restaurant in a suburb of Leeds later this year.
Located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, District describes itself as a new wave Thai restaurant inspired by a future Bangkok. Dishes are cooked on an open grill at this small and atmospheric restaurant with flavours dialled up for maximum impact. Expect the unexpected, with a regularly changing menu that can feature ‘not tacos’, a sausage butty, chicken fat rice and Thai curries such as a green curry with turbot and yellow version with monkfish and burnt squash.
Stuart and Frances Collins opened Docket No.33 in Shropshire in August 2017, bringing their experiences in hospitality together to full effect. Stuart’s CV includes time with Gary Rhodes at Rhodes in the City, Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park and Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road while Frances has been involved in restaurant openings with Michael Caines and Guy Savoy. Docket No.33 serves a tasting menu of hyper local ingredients with dishes often having an Asian element.
‘Ingredient-led, flavour-driven’ is how friends Danny Land, Ryan Carr and Stephen Pitfield describe their relaxed Northumberland restaurant. Opened in 2021 when the trio found themselves out of work as a result of the pandemic, Eleven is a tribute to their tenacity. It offers a three-course set menu as well as a five-course dinner menu of top-class produce often using ingredients they have foraged themselves, all served with that all important dollop of fun for a truly memorable experience.
This smart restaurant pairs a laid-back vibe with small plates where the focus is on the intensity and clarity of flavours. Newcastle-born chef Peter Breckon knows his stuff, having worked with Heston Blumenthal, Mark Hix, and Jamie Oliver, and has put together a mouth-watering menu of morsels, 90% of which are naturally gluten free, with over half the dinner menu vegetable based and almost all of the food is organic and locally supplied. Horticulture is a social restaurant with a social conscience, continually striving to reduce its waste and carbon footprint and using as much renewable or biodegradable packaging as possible.
Meaning shellfish in Maori, Kota is half Maori, half Chinese Malay chef Jude Kereama’s award-winning Porthleven restaurant. Set in a 300-year-old building on the harbour, Kota opened in 2006 and has gone from strength to strength with recognition in a number of restaurant guides. Despite the name, there’s more than just crustacea on the menu: here local produce is given Kereama’s signature Asian twist, whether it be venison tartare with gochujang dressing; pork belly with pork skin furikake; or monkfish with kaffir lime leaf.
Paul Foster successfully crowdfunded more than £100,000 to open his debut restaurant back in 2016, opening Salt in Stratford-upon-Avon the following year. Hs restaurant has since gone on to win the area’s first Michelin star with a cookery school and chef’s table above the restaurant added in 2020. Foster’s food is punchy yet refined with big flavours – think carrot cooked in chicken fat with crispy chicken skin – across its tasting menu. 2022 is another big year for the restaurant, which closed in April for a refurb.
Hailed as the first authentic Kerala restaurant in Leeds, Tharavadu has gained a loyal following for its excellent south Indian cooking. Tharavadu’s menu is a joy to read, featuring beautifully described dishes that bring personality to the plates - its kozhi curry is described as being rated as ‘better than tikka masala’ by its diners. For the full experience order a sadya, a variety of dishes traditionally served on a banana leaf in Kerala and which is served as a three-course feast with soup, a choice of curry and side dishes with rice and bread and ending with semiya payasam, a dessert made with vermicelli, sugar, ghee, milk, nuts and raisins.
Zambia-born Colin McGurran bought Winteringham Fields in 2005 and over the intervening decade and a half has turned it into one of Lincolnshire’s best restaurants (it was recognised by Michelin with a star in 2018). The restaurant follows a farm to fork ethos offering ‘surprise’ six and eight-course menus at lunch and dinner respectively. Dishes are dictated by seasonality and availability but what won’t be a surprise is the high quality of cooking on show.
The winner of this year’s Food Lovers Award will be announced at the National Restaurant Awards ceremony, which is being held at London’s prestigious Hurlingham Club on 13 June.