The List

Take a look below at last year’s top 100…

Attend 2018 ceremony

 

1. The Sportsman – Seasalter, Kent

The Sportsman might not look like much from the outside but behind its whitewashed and weathered facade is a world-class establishment that serves some of the best food in the country, in a wonderfully humble and unpretentious fashion. spent the past two decades or so building a closer connection to his environment and refining his recipes for home-made products including air-dried hams, cured fish, butter and even sea salt, which he makes by boiling seawater. The Kent pub’s tasting menu is focused on ingredients found in the immediate vicinity, exploring the pub’s unique salt marsh terroir. And it certainly is still a pub. One of the most charming things about The Sportsman – and there are many – is that the gastro tourists mingle with pint-nursing locals and day trippers.

 

 

2. The Ledbury – Notting Hill, London

Trends come and go in the restaurant world but some things remain
constant, and one such thing is the brilliance of The Ledbury. It might not gain the column inches of its newer rivals, but this two-Michelin-starred dining room and regular on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list quietly goes about its own business – and that’s the cooking of peerless food. In Australian chef Brett Graham’s own words, the cuisine is “based around fabulous British produce where possible, with lots of vegetables and wild English game”. Iconic dishes include flame-grilled mackerel with smoked eel, celtic mustard and shiso and Chinese water deer with smoked bone marrow.Graham is set to open a deer park (with a collection of rare white red deer that will form part of the herd) this year. He has also started using a probiotic technique to produce compost made from 100% kitchen waste, which customers take home for their gardening needs in 5kg bags.

 

3. A Wong – Victoria, London

In little more than five years, Andrew Wong has turned a common or garden Chinese into one of London’s most exciting restaurants. His menus showcase a mix of the familiar – there are takes on Cantonese restaurant classics such as sweet and sour chicken, and crispy duck with pancakes – with Chinese flavours and dishes that are virtually unknown in the UK. There’s a salad of seared beef with mint, chilli and lemongrass that hails from Yunnan, a province in south-west China that borders Vietnam, and a pulled lamb ‘burger’ spiced with cumin and speckled with pomegranate that takes its cues from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang in the north-west of the country. The dim sum-focused lunch menu is a total bargain, as is the Victoria restaurant’s 10-course tasting menu. Wong’s indubitable skills as a chef, inquisitive nature and refusal to
compromise has endeared his restaurant to diners and critics.

 

4. Som Saa – Shoreditch, London

Last year’s One to Watch, Som Saa is one of a handful of Thai restaurants operating outside Thailand to capture the essence of the cuisine. The speed this establishment has shot up this list shows a step-change in how diners view Asian restaurants. They are considered a separate category no longer and are getting the respect they deserve (see also 3). The cooking at Som Saa is hugely sophisticated and pulls no punches. Its fiery fare has proved catnip to aficionados and anyone that likes big and powerful flavours. A meal at Som Saa might include clams with turmeric, chillies and holy basil or coconut and pandanus-smoked trout served with
pounded chilli relish and Thai herbs. The trio behind it – joint head chefs Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie and front-of-house man Tom George – aren’t afraid to do things a little differently, as shown by Late Night Sessions, which sees the restaurant open until 1.30am.

 

 

5. Barrafina Adelaide Street – Covent Garden, London

It’s all change at Barrafina with the departure of head chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho and group general manager Josè Etura. In Mohacho’s place is Angel Zapata Martin, former sous chef at three-Michelin-starred Barcelona restaurant Can Fabes. Lovers of Barrafina’s inventive menu of pan-Spanish tapas dishes will be pleased to hear Martin is promising ‘evolution, not revolution’, meaning suckling pigs’ ears and milk-fed lamb’s brain won’t disappear.

 

 

6. Casamia – Bristol

Peter Sanchez-Iglesias has made a house a home at this sleek Habourside establishment. In 2016 he made the move from the sleepy suburb of Westbury-on-Trym to the centre of Bristol, a risky strategy that looks to have paid big dividends. The change of postcode has cemented Casamia’s status as Bristol’s most involved and ambitious restaurant and the larger, better-laid-out space has allowed Sanchez-Iglesias and his young, driven team to push the culinary envelope even further with clever (but not too clever) ultra-seasonal dishes.

 

 

7. The Clove Club – Shoreditch, London

Formerly a supper club hosted in a London flat by owners Daniel Willis, Johnny Smith and chef Isaac McHale, The Clove Club took its permanent site at Shoreditch Town Hall in 2013 and quickly earned a reputation as one of the capital’s hottest restaurants. Scotland-born McHale’s five-course and seven-course tasting menus feature signature dishes of flamed Cornish mackerel and buttermilk fried chicken and plenty of delights from his homeland, such as haggis doughnuts.

 

 

8. Elystan Street – Chelsea, London

When Phil Howard left The Square after 25 years behind the stove, he appeared to be calling time on a career that saw him hold two Michelin stars for 18 years. Not so. The chef was soon back in the kitchen having once again teamed up with Rebecca Mascarenhas to open Elystan Street. His Chelsea venture might take a simpler approach to his former haunt – there’s no tasting menu and the dining room has a more relaxed feel – but Howard and head chef Toby Burrowes haven’t totally moved away from their double-starred background with cooking fit for any top-end restaurant.

 

 

9. Kiln – Soho, London

Kiln is another Soho Thai grill joint from Ben Chapman and Brian Hannon, but it differentiates itself from their Smoking Goat (see 49) with a focus on Thailand’s northern borderlands, where culinary traditions intersect with those of Myanmar, Laos and China’s Yunnan province. Try the aged lamb skewers larded with slivers of lamb fat that are grilled then dusted with cumin. Kiln has an everyday feel, but still manages to move Thai food further on from the reductive, curry house-like experience that the UK’s dining public still equates with one of the world’s great cuisines.

 

 

10. Hedone – Cheswick, London

Mikael Jonsson’s potentially risky strategy of only courting people he deems to be serious about food (he refuses to cook for vegetarians, for example) has paid huge dividends. The Swedish-born chef offers two tasting menus decided on the day, and the team gets to work on dishes with an emphasis on à la minute cooking. Jonsson is also an accomplished baker, and supplies sourdough to many restaurants on this list. The ex-food blogger’s unflinching commitment to ingredients make Hedone one of the UK’s most original and interesting dining experiences.

 

11. The River Cafe – Hammersmith, London

One of London’s most famous and respected Italian restaurants celebrates its 30th birthday this year, and will publish a book, River Cafe 30, in October to mark this milestone. The restaurant, which was founded by the late Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers in 1987, remains the last word in highly seasonal, top-quality Italian cuisine, and its generous menu still makes for some of the best lunch or dinner-time reading in the country.

 

12. Lyle’s – Shoreditch, London

Owners chef James Lowe and manager John Ogier have built a restaurant with a reputation for serving unfussy yet highly imaginative British food. But they’ve also created a stripped-back space that is a focal point for up-and-coming chefs from across the world to showcase their cooking in the capital, allowing diners to experience some of the world’s best restaurants without the aeroplane fare.

 

13. Hoppers – Soho, London

There was hype – and long queues – when Hoppers first opened and its high position on this list shows it is more than just a flash in the pancake pan. The bijou venue specialises in the eponymous hopper – a type of crisp pancake basket – served with a choice of six curries but its menu inspired by Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu extends beyond that. Its goat roti, hot butter-devilled shrimps and mutton rolls are not to be missed.

 

14. The Palomar – Soho, London

It’s worth arriving early in the evening to bag a coveted seat at the counter bar for a view of Palomar’s buzzing kitchen. This cosy 40-cover space serves vibrant Middle Eastern dishes such as ‘octo-hummus’ with burnt aubergine; deconstructed kebab; and a rose-scented milk pudding with coconut meringue and pistachio crunch. Team Palomar also launched The Barbary in Seven Dials last year.

 

15. The Fat Duck – Bray, Berkshire

Heston Blumenthal may have just picked up The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Lifetime Achievement Award but says he’s barely getting started at his flagship. A £2.5m investment in 2015 means there is now a larger kitchen, which has allowed Blumenthal and longstanding head chef Jonny Lake to make the experience even more involved, with guests interviewed ahead of the meal in a bid to trigger food memories during the 17-course, £255 tasting menu.

 

16. Restaurant Sat Bains – Nottingham

A bastion of progressive, research driven cookery in a most unlikely location near a flyover, Restaurant Sat Bains continues to push the culinary envelope. Bains and long-standing right-hand man John Freeman deal in clever, stripped back dishes. Led by restaurant manager Jatin Parmer, front of house is relaxed but still manages to transfer the kitchen’s enthusiasm to the dining room.

 

17. L’Enclume – Cartmel, Cumbria

Simon Rogan’s flagship is the jewel in the Lake District’s crown, serving creative, pin-sharp dishes that showcase a mix of homegrown and locally sourced and foraged produce. Recently refurbished, the riverside restaurant is simple but attractive, allowing Rogan and head chef Tom Barnes’ dishes to do most of the talking. Rogan cut his ties with London restaurant Fera earlier this year but is understood to be on the hunt for a new venue in the capital.

 

18. Coombeshead Farm – Lewannick, Cornwall

Set in 66 acres of countryside, Coombeshead Farm is a far cry from chef Tom Adams’ previous endeavours at his tiny Pitt Cue site on Carnaby Street. While he’s still involved with the new Pitt Cue, it is at Coombeshead, which he and chef April Bloomfield bought last year, that he can most often be found, curing and pickling his farm’s meat and vegetables, and cooking rare-breed animals.

 

19. The Dairy – Clapham, London

Robin Gill’s flagship goes from strength to strength, even as the charismatic Irish chef and his team open other ventures – Counter Culture is next door, The Manor is a few streets away and the boldly colourful Paradise Garage is in Bethnal Green. From a British- Mediterranean menu grouped by ‘sea’, ‘land’, ‘vegetarian’ and ‘sweet’, Gill’s cooking offers an eclectic array of flavours underpinned by solid technical ability.

 

 

20. The Walnut Tree – Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

This venerable establishment is once again named the Best Restaurant in Wales, and it’s easy to see why. Chef Shaun Hill serves an eclectic menu based on his personal tastes rather than a particular country’s cuisine. The result is a globe-trotting meal of international flavours and techniques with timeless dishes rubbing shoulders with far more modern culinary creations.

 

21. The Waterside Inn – Bray, Berkshire

Time almost stands still at this riverside restaurant, and to eat here is to relive the golden age of French haute cuisine. Alain Roux took over from father Michel some 15 years ago and has done a sterling but generally low-key job of keeping the flame alive (not to mention those all-important three stars). The cooking and the service are unapologetically old school.

 

Sponsored by:

Chef to Watch – Elizabeth Haigh

Elizabeth Haigh won a Michelin star when she was at Pidgin in Hackney before leaving to set up Kaizen House, a company with a focus on building great restaurants, encompassing Japanese philosophy and warm hospitality. Her first solo project, Shibui, is due to open early 2018, and will focus on wood fire cooking with influences from Europe and Asia. Here she is promising to elevate everyday dishes to refined levels.

 

Sponsored by:

Lifetime Achievement Award – Shaun Hill

Shaun Hill is one of Britain’s most enduringly successful chefs with a career spanning more than 50 years. He won a Michelin star at Gidleigh Park and his restaurant The Merchant House, in Ludlow, where he was the only chef, turned the Shropshire market town into a gastronomic destination.

 

22. Gymkhana – Mayfair, London

A former National Restaurant of the Year, Gymkhana is inspired by colonial Indian gymkhana clubs, where members of high society socialise, dine, drink and play sport. You can certainly do the first three in style at this smart Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant (a game of cricket isn’t on the menu) that is split between a light and more casual upstairs dining room and a darker and more decadent restaurant below.

 

23. Claude Bosi at Bibendum – Kensington, London

The irony that a restaurant in the former Michelin building hasn’t received a star from the red book hasn’t been lost on many, certainly not new chef-patron Claude Bosi. A Michelin star is in his gaze with his ‘unashamedly fine-dining’ restaurant featuring rustic à la carte French dishes and a tasting menu of more involved creations – all served in the handsomely refurbished dining room.

 

24. The Elephant – Torquay, Devon

With views over Torbay harbour, on a hot summer’s day you could be in the French Riviera when eating at the beautiful The Elephant in Torquay. But the English version more than suffices thanks to Simon Hulstone’s expert cooking, using ingredients from its 69-acre Devon-based farm. This year, Hulstone has opened his doors to chef friends, including Josh Eggleton and Brad Carter, for some events and, following their success, more are expected.

 

25. The Raby Hunt – Summerhouse, Darlington

James Close cut weekday lunch service at this tiny Darlington restaurant two years ago to give his team more time to work on new dishes. The gamble seems to have paid off, as The Raby Hunt won a second Michelin star last year. Close – who is a self-taught chef – serves a refined 12-course evening tasting menu and 10-course Saturday lunch.

 

26. Midsummer House – Cambridge

This Cambridge mainstay from cooking powerhouse Daniel Clifford manages to combine relaxed riverside dining with high-end pizazz. Since opening almost 20 years ago, Midsummer House has become a byword for beautifully balanced, impeccably sourced food, and has unquestionably now graduated to greatness in the culinary world.

 

27. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw – Port Isaac, Cornwall

Nathan Outlaw’s flagship is the UK’s most understated two-Michelin-starred venue – a simple space that lets stunning sea views do the talking. Outlaw has a similar philosophy with the menu. It is a lesson in restraint that lets the quality of the produce shine. Outlaw and right-hand man Pete Biggs opened a restaurant in Dubai’s Burj Al Arab last year.

 

Sponsored By:

Restauranteur of the Year – Jason Atherton

Jason Atherton’s 17-strong Social Company is a force to be reckoned with both at home and abroad. His ability to form equitable and nurturing relationships with some of the UK’s top talent has seen the group expand steadily over the past few years. It’s not difficult to see why Atherton is now one of the country’s most respected chef restaurateurs.

 

28. Brawn – Bethnal Green, London

This Bethnal Green restaurant takes its name from the dish of pig’s or calf’s head that is cooked and pressed in a pot with jelly, but it is just as applicable for the robust nature of its cooking. Brawn may not be a restaurant on everyone’s lips, but those in the know head here for chef-patron Ed Wilson’s punchy porcine-led food, washed down with a bottle from the relaxed restaurant’s extensive list of natural wines.

 

29. Bulrush – Cotham Bristol

Bristol’s flourishing dining scene offers a real treat with this modern British restaurant. Chef-owner George Livesey cooked at Fera at Claridge’s, Club Gascon and Roux at Parliament Square before heading west to launch Bulrush with his partner Katherine Craughwell. Expect seasonal dishes with foraged ingredients sourced everywhere from hedgerows to the ocean.

 

30. 64 Degrees – Brighton

This 22-seat The Lanes restaurant is a pioneer of unstuffy, small plates dining with its eclectic, flavour-packed cooking. It’s a sociable affair, with chefs passing dishes to customers as they are ready. Chef-patron Michael Bremner and partner Carla Grassy are expected to open a second restaurant later this month close to Brighton’s i360 observation tower and will oversee the food at Brighton pub The Bison Arms when it opens this year.

 

31. Primeur – Stoke Newington, London

Despite occupying a former car garage, Primeur’s dining room is the kind of light and airy joint we all wish was just round the corner. The communal tables might make it hard to gossip, but the daily changing, European menu impressed Michelin enough to award the restaurant a Bib Gourmand last year. Chef David Gingell and restaurant manager Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim also opened seafood site Westerns Laundry in April.

 

32. The Coach – Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Tom Kerridge’s follow up to The Hand & Flowers is more pubby than its sibling, giving him and head chef Nick Beardshaw the chance to put a refined spin on pub classics – not least the burger and the chicken Kiev. Where it really rings the changes, though, is with its rotisserie grill and its uncommonly large fish and veg offer as well as its breakfast spread that includes a ‘hotdog’ with fried onions and mushrooms.

 

33. 108 Garage – Notting Hill, London

Luca Longobardi struck Gumtree gold when chef Chris Denney answered his advert and created the menu for 108 Garage. Since quietly opening in a Notting Hill garage, the restaurant has won plaudits for its bold cooking with overlooked cuts of meat. The duo reportedly have international expansion in their sights, with plans to open in a Miami drugstore, New York laundry, and an LA hardware store.

 

34. Temper – Soho, London

Barbecue boss Neil Rankin’s Soho restaurant majors in meat and tacos but it’s certainly no taqueria. Instead, Rankin has created a restaurant where meat that is butchered in-house is cooked over wood and charcoal in a 4.5m-long fire pit in the middle of the room. Interesting tacos kick off the menu (cheeseburger; beef fat) and mains comprise chopped, smoked and grilled lamb, pork, goat and beef alongside fresh-baked flatbread.

 

 

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One to watch: Red Rooster – Shoreditch, London

He’s wowed Obama and various rock stars, and now Marcus Samuelsson is out to wow London with his eclectic take on the cooking of the Deep South. The Ethiopian-born but NYC-based chef has brought his iconic Harlem restaurant Red Rooster to Shoreditch’s modish The Curtain hotel. Could he be the man to finally make the cooking of the Deep South accessible to Londoners?

 

35. Chez Bruce – Wandsworth, London

Chez Bruce’s beautiful setting, consistently superb food and flawless front-of-house game has made it a favourite of locals and those willing to make the trip to the suburbs. Bruce Poole and long-term head chef Matt Christmas oversee an enticing menu of mainly French dishes and a cheese trolley that groans under the weight of its bounty. At £55 for three courses, Chez Bruce remains one of the capital’s best value fine-dining experiences.

 

36. Noble Rot Restaurant & Wine Bar – Bloomsbury, London

Taking home Wine List of the Year for the second year running, Noble Rot is the creation of Mark Andrew and Dan Keeling. They have signed Stephen Harris (see 1) to consult on a wine-friendly menu overseen by Paul Weaver. It is a short, seasonal and fuss-free affair that let’s great produce do the talking. The wine list is nothing short of spectacular.

 

37. Frenchie – Covent Garden, London

The London version of Greg Marchand’s chic Paris restaurant and wine bar is no less stylish, or impressive, with its sleek upstairs bar and buzzy downstairs open kitchen. With Frenchie, Marchand has given French food a more playful character as well as a modern update with dishes influenced by his travels in the UK, US, Spain and Hong Kong, as well as in France. And its madeleines are some of the best we’ve tasted.

 

38. Le Gavroche – Mayfair, London

Le Gavroche celebrated its 50th birthday in style this year with a lunch for the UK’s top chefs, many of whom have worked there under the Roux family or have been influenced by their cooking. In reality, not much has changed in the half century Le Gavroche has been open (it has resided at its current address since 1981) with the restaurant still producing timeless and unashamedly French old-school haute cuisine in plush surroundings.

 

39. Padella – Borough, London

Trullo founders Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda’s dream of opening a more casual pasta restaurant became real last year and the pair probably wished they’d done it sooner given the smash hit that Padella has become. They’ve kept it simple with great-value antipasti, a handful of expertly cooked pastas and a trio of puddings (plus wine only on tap) – an approach that attracts a daily queue of hungry people outside its doors.

 

40. Clipstone – Fitzrovia, London

Neighbourhood restaurant Clipstone is from the team behind Portland (see 90) and it shares many of the hallmarks of its sister site, but with more of a focus on cold cuts and sharing plates. The bright and clean restaurant makes good use of its charcoal grill, with the likes of Challan duck, Longhorn beef and Cornish cod on the menu. At £45, its seven-course feasting menu is a steal.

 

41. The Hand & Flowers – Marlow, Buckingamshire

Is it a pub, is it a restaurant? Either way, you’re going to have a brilliant meal at Tom Kerridge’s two- Michelin-starred place where unpretentious modern British flavours meet French technique. The recent instalment of a new kitchen will keep standards sky high and allow Kerridge and right-hand man Aaron Mulliss to crank out ‘lush’ food.

 

Sponsored By:

OpenTable Fit for Foodies – The Lickfold Inn, West Sussex

Tom Sellers and Graham Squire have breathed new life into this traditional West Sussex pub and fine dining restaurant with their innovative take on British food. Its bar snack menu of numerous reworked pub classics alone should be enough to encourage people to make the journey to the town of Petworth.

 

42. Maltby Street – Bermondsey, London

Its cool Bermondsey address gives it away; this is no ordinary wine bar. Sharing a street name with the much-loved weekend food market, this restaurant is housed within the railway arch warehouse of Gergovie Wines, and has penned a killer wine list. With a simple bar snack menu starting at £6 per plate, it has won high praise from critic Jay Rayner who called its dishes “about as perfect and simple as you could wish for”.

 

43. The Quality Chop House – Clerkenwell, London

Will Lander and Josie Stead took on The Quality Chop House in 2012 but it has been run under the same name since 1869. The Grade II-listed dining room is configured to its original design and the essence of the restaurant hasn’t changed much either. If hearty and imaginative British food is what you’re after – as well as some of the best potatoes in the capital – this is a great place to be.

 

44. The Little Fish Market – Hove, East Sussex

Owner Duncan Ray transformed this former fishmonger’s into a full-blown restaurant serving a daily changing menu based on what is in season and what comes in each morning. Ray is the sole chef at the restaurant, which also employs only one front-of-house person, which is why he keeps things simple, serving a five-course menu that leans heavily towards, but is not exclusively, seafood.

 

45. The Man Behind the Curtain – Leeds

Michael O’Hare has had a busy 12 months, opening the first of a number of restaurants in partnership with Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. But his Leeds site remains his flagship, offering bold, interesting and artfully plated dishes. The dining room is sleek, modern and graffiti-ed, akin to a contemporary art gallery. In September, it will move to a larger space in the same building.

 

46. Trinity – Clapham Common, London

Adam Byatt’s cooking was finally acknowledged by the Michelin Guide this year, cementing his status as a leading light of south London’s dining scene. Trinity was recently divided into two. The Michelin-starred downstairs serves refined, modern French food (Byatt’s CV includes Claridge’s and The Square) while Upstairs at Trinity is a more affordable small plates joint that regularly hosts guest chefs.

 

47. Sticky Walnut – Hoole, Chester

It might seem like chef-patron Gary Usher is opening a crowdfunded restaurant every couple of weeks, but standards haven’t slipped at the restaurant where he made his name. Extremely good value British cooking is the order the day, with a menu that includes chicken and octopus terrine with confit potato and tarragon mayonnaise; and braised feather blade with truffle and parmesan polenta, crispy kale and red wine shallots.

 

48. Bocca de Lupop – Soho, London

Stripped-down, honest regional Italian cuisine is the raison d’etre for Jacob Kenedy and Victo Hugo’s well-established Soho restaurant. Bocca di Lupo specialises in the classic as well as the more obscure food and wine from Italy’s 20 regions and, this year, has introduced feasting menus in certain months where the kitchen team gets the opportunity to get even deeper under the skin of Italy’s regional cuisine.

 

Sponsored By:

Chef’s Chef of the Year – Claude Bosi

Claude Bosi said goodbye to his beloved Hibiscus last year after nine years in London and seven years in Ludlow before that. But he’s back – and how. With his newly launched restaurant at the iconic Michelin building in Kensington, Bosi is attempting to do what no chef has done there before and win a Michelin star. And it’s only a matter of time before he does.

 

49. Smoking Goat – Soho, London

Ben Chapman and Brian Hannon’s Thai barbecue restaurant-cum-dive bar serves smoky, booze-friendly food. Flavours are fierily authentic, but the menu isn’t designed to be a carbon copy of one in Bangkok or Chiang Mai – most dishes fuse Thai flavours with high-quality UK produce. Stand-out dishes include waterfall beef made with bavette. Such is the success of Smoking Goat, the duo opened a second restaurant down the road last year (see 9).

 

50. Lake Road Kitchen – Ambleside, Cumbria

James Cross is an expert forager who has a Noma-esque policy of using solely northern European ingredients. He describes his Lake District restaurant as a “north European bistro”, which may be playing things down somewhat. The tiny kitchen does magical things with foraged and locally grown, caught and reared produce, and is adept at preservation, its extreme-aged beef being a case in point.

 

51. The Crown – Burchetts Green, Berkshire

The Crown is a labour of love and a family affair run by chef Simon Bonwick and wife, Deborah, with the help of up to six of their nine children front of house. Simon works alone in the kitchen, cooking dishes that celebrate classical technique. Highlights include boeuf a la ficelle – beef fillet steamed on a string, served with a decadent sauce – and treacle sponge, which is “served hot, like when you are little”.

 

52. Adams – Birmingham

Originally intended as a two-year pop-up, Adams is now a permanent feature of Birmingham’s eating-out landscape. Helmed by husband-and-wife team Adam and Natasha Stokes, the restaurant is polished and relaxed, offering a menu of creative dishes that includes mackerel, Japanese custard and lardo; and lamb with purple sprouting broccoli, miso and wild ice. The move to larger premises has seen the creation of a chef’s table in the kitchen.

 

53. Gidleigh Park – Chagford, Devon

The departure of Michael Caines from Gidleigh left big shoes to fill, but chef Michael Wignall has done so with style. Wignall retained the restaurant’s two Michelin stars with cooking that he describes as being ‘modern, technical and meaningful’, using vegetables and herbs picked from Gidleigh’s impressive garden. The wine cellar also stuns with more than 1,300 bins and 13,000 bottles from around the world.

 

54. Hispi – Didsbury, Manchester

Chef Gary Usher crowdfunded more than £50,000 to open Hispi last year off the back of the success of his neighbourhood restaurants Sticky Walnut and Burnt Truffle. This Didsbury bistro has a homely feel and offers a relaxed menu of modern British dishes at excellent prices. Usher will soon open a fourth restaurant, Wreckfish, in Liverpool, so watch this space.

 

55. Le Manoir aux
Quat’Saisons – Great Milton, Oxfordshire

Raymond Blanc and executive head chef Gary Jones run a tight ship at this gem. The pair still deliver sophisticated French food with modern touches that makes full use of the hotel’s unsurpassed kitchen garden. Throw in one of the best front-of-house games in the business and it’s easy to see why Le Manoir is Britain’s most iconic country house hotel.

 

56. Jikoni – Marylebone, London

Menus don’t come much more eclectic than at this quirky Marylebone restaurant. Food writer and chef Ravinder Bhogal draws on her mixed heritage to use flavours from Britain, East Africa, the Middle East and Asia, resulting in the likes of prawn toast Scotch egg with banana ketchup and pickled cucumber, and mutton keema sloppy joe served with padron peppers and toasted brioche.

 

57. P Franco – Clapton, London

The little sister site to London Field’s Noble Fine Liquor, this cool Clapton bar and wine shop transforms into a restaurant in the evenings. Sitting around the tiny communal table feels more like dining in a friend’s kitchen than a wine bar. The restaurant has become something of an incubator for chefs to watch, with Tim Spedding (ex-Clove Club) and Anna Tobias (Rochelle Canteen) both having fired up the hobs in the past year.

 

58. The Black Swan – Oldstead, Yorkshire

Set on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, The Black Swan is a true family-run business with Tommy Banks heading up the kitchen and his brother James running front of house. Tommy’s cooking is creative and, at times, whimsical, using produce plucked straight from the restaurant garden as well as ingredients that have been preserved from previous seasons.

 

59. Typing Room – Bethnal Green, London

Lee Westcott had some big clogs to fill at this east London site – it was previously a restaurant helmed by Nuno Mendes – but has proved to be up to the job. Barely out of his 20s, the young chef came up under Tom Aikens and Jason Atherton (the latter is a backer). Typing Room is cool and laid back, but its food is sophisticated, showing a new Nordic influence and a particular aptitude when it comes to vegetable-centric dishes.

 

60. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – Knightsbridge, London

You get a gastronomic history lesson thrown in for free at Heston and Ashley Palmer-Watts’ super impressive restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Standards at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant have never wavered since its inception in 2011 and its signature dishes – mandarin meat fruit, salamagundy, powdered duck breast, tipsy cake – are as eye-opening as ever.

 

61. Margot – Covent Garden, London

Launched this year by front-of-house supremos Paulo de Tarso and Nicolas Jaouën, Margot has brought some Italian style to Covent Garden. The menu is generous, with executive chef Maurizio Morelli sticking to Italian classics such as plates of salumi and cheeses, vitello tonnato, veal ossobuco and a large selection of pasta dishes.

 

62. Timberyard – Edinburgh

This family-run restaurant marries Nordic-inspired ultra-local sourcing policies (and much pickling, smoking and curing) with classic French technique. The restaurant’s eightcourse tasting menu includes the likes of raw venison with elderberry, mushroom and larch. The restaurant is in a brick-built warehouse and has a stripped, rustic aesthetic.

 

63. Black Axe Mangal – Islington, London

Former St John Bread and Wine chef Lee Tiernan’s rocking restaurant is as known for its loud music (its wood-fired oven pays homage to glam rock band Kiss) as much as its banging food. Majoring on flat breads and kebabs, Tiernan’s love of less used cuts includes crispy pigs’ cheeks, ears and intestines.

 

64. Blacklock – Soho, London

This subterranean restaurant is a carnivore’s delight, with generous platters of chops. Going ‘all in’ will get you a few light bites and a towering plate of expertly grilled chops for £20, although more premium cuts and an eclectic selection of sides are also available. The restaurant has been such a success that its founders recently opened a second.

 

65. El Pastor – Borough, London

Seemingly overnight, London has been overrun with taco restaurants. In a crowded market, El Pastor stands out as one of the most authentic. Two of its co-owners – Sam Hart (of Barrafina fame) and Crispin Somerville – lived and worked in Mexico and know how a taco should taste. There is a refreshing lack of nacho libre masks and Day of the Dead kit.

 

66. Holborn Dining Room – Holborn, London

Under executive chef Calum Franklin, Holborn Dining Room has become a Mecca for pie-loving foodies thanks to his love of pastry. From perfect pithiviers and pâtés en croûte to proper pies, Franklin’s creations are works of art. If you haven’t experienced them, a glance at his Instagram page might change that.

 

67. Pollen Street Social – Mayfair, London

Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social is as cool and refined as the man himself and boasts one of the most handsome dining rooms in the capital. The Michelin-starred restaurant leans towards informality without taking its eye off the ball when it comes to service, creating a spectacular dining experience.

 

68. Street XO – Mayfair, London

David Munoz’s basement Mayfair restaurant is as outlandish as the Mohawk-sporting chef himself. Purposefully divisive, Street XO is where you can sip cocktails from glasses in the form of animal organs and eat Asian-inspired food that has been ‘plated’ Jackson Pollock-style onto paper to a backdrop of loud music. It’s bold, brash and unlike anywhere else in the UK.

 

69. Bao – Soho, London

You can’t move for Taiwanese buns in the capital these days, and it’s largely down to the work of Bao’s founders Erchen Chang, Wai Ting Chung and Shing Tat Chung. It’s easier to get into the bijou bun shop now a second site has opened in Fitzrovia, so there’s less queuing to get your hands on one of its fried chicken or lamb shoulder baos, or try fried Horlicks ice cream.

 

70. Moor Hall – Aughton, Lancashire

Mark Birchall’s longawaited restaurant in a Grade II-listed gentry house opened in March. A long-time lieutenant of Simon Rogan, it’s no surprise Birchall’s menu showcases modern British cooking using local produce – where possible, ingredients come from Moor Hall’s grounds. A more informal dining space and a meat-ageing room will open later this year.

 

71. Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 – Padstow, Cornwall

Paul and Emma Ainsworth may have branched out, but they haven’t let things slide at Number 6. The menu champions local game, meat and seafood. Expect warm service, hearty portions and proper desserts including bread and butter pudding.

 

72. Quo Vadis – Soho, London

It’s all change at this Dean Street institution, with Barrafina now taking half the ground floor restaurant area, meaning head chef Jeremy Lee has less space to play with (there is now a Quo Vadis on the first floor, for the sole use of its club members). No matter. Lee’s cooking is as generous and exciting as ever, right down to the last bite of his famous eel sandwich.

 

73. The Marksman – Hackney, London

Chefs Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram have hit the bull’s eye at this Hackney boozer. Downstairs is much as it was before they took it on in 2015, with space left for drinkers, but upstairs is different altogether – an unapologetically contemporary restaurant space that offers a menu of seasonal British dishes.

 

74. The Pony & Trap – Chew Magna, Somerset

Siblings Josh and Holly Eggleton took on The Pony & Trap when Holly was just 19 and Josh 22. They have since turned it into a gastropub that uses local produce to turn out dishes with an international feel. Despite its Michelin star, The Pony & Trap is true tots pub roots and is a popular local drinking spot.

 

75. Rochelle Canteen – Shoreditch, London

Located in a former school bike store, Margot Henderson’s Arnold Circus restaurant is one of London’s most beloved. Rochelle Canteen serves a daily-changing menu of top quality, seasonal dishes that are free of any faff or elaboration. It is now finally open at weekends, too.

 

76. The Seahorse – Dartmouth, Devon

Located on the banks of the River Dart, Mitch Tonks’ flagship restaurant has easy access to some of the best fish and shellfish in the world. Simplicity is the key here, with much of the seafood cooked whole over the kitchen’s open charcoal fire. Tonk’s is also a bit of a wine buff, and his restaurant has an extensive wine list of more than 180 bins, all carefully chosen for seafood.

 

77. Freemasons at Wiswell – Wiswell, Lancashire

Chef Steven Smith’s Lancashire gastropub boasts a menu that fuses local ingredients and a love of the classics with world flavours. It includes the likes of foie gras and smoked eel with beer vinegar and blackberry. But don’t be fooled: it is still a proper pub with Smith and his team entrenched in the local community.

 

78. El Gato Negro – Manchester

Simon Shaw’s Spanish restaurant in a three-storey town house has a menu that’s equally multi-layered. Alongside traditional tapas dishes such as salt cod croquetas and charcuterie, Shaw has introduced those with a more international flavour, with the likes of gin-cured salmon with Greek yoghurt and truffled honey on coca bread gracing the menu.

 

79. Hawksmoor Air Street – Mayfair, London

What it is about Hawksmoor’s Air Street site that makes it stand out from the others? It could be that the menu is more heavily weighted to seafood thanks to the help of a certain Mitch Tonks. But, whatever the reason, there’s no denying it is a standard bearer for meat-focused restaurants across the country.

 

80. Kricket – Soho, London

Rik Campbell and Will Bowlby’s new-wave Indian restaurant started life as a 20-seat shipping container in Brixton, but the pair has since opened a larger Soho restaurant to meet the growing demand for their small plate offer. The restaurant’s more unusual vegetarian options, as well as its creative meat dishes, have helped Kricket attain a loyal following.

 

81. Sosharu – Clerkenwell, London

Jason Atherton and Alex Craciun’s refined take on an izakaya deals in casual yet finely tuned Japanese cuisine. Craciun’s menu takes in sashimi and tempura as well as dishes cooked on hibachi and yaki grills with classic dishes reworked to have a more modern slant. The downstairs cocktail bar 7 Tales is also well worth a visit.

 

82. The Star Inn – Harome, North Yorkshire

One of the first pubs to win a Michelin star, the appropriately named The Star Inn has been helmed by chef Andrew Pern for two decades. His highly influential cooking style often mixes the rough with the smooth, as evidenced by his signature dish of seared foie gras with black pudding and a sticky scrumpy cider reduction.

 

83. The Hardwick – Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

There’s no shortage of choice on the menu at chef Stephen Terry’s muchlauded inn with rooms, but with cooking of this pedigree that’s no bad thing. Terry has worked under Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux Jr, and here offers a take on hearty pub classics.

 

84. Wine & Brine – Moira, County Armagh

Chef Chris McGowan has 20 years’ training with the likes of Richard Corrigan, Pierre Koffmann and Gary Rhodes. He has put that to good use at his bright, open-kitchen restaurant, which was described as one every town should have. The seasonal lunch menu is a snip, with starters at £4 and most mains a tenner.

 

85. Box-E – Bristol

The smallest place on the list, BOX-E is a 14-cover shipping container restaurant helmed by husband and wife team Elliott and Tessa Lidstone. On most days its just the two of them. Elliott – whose CV includes Reading’s L’Ortolan – is in the kitchen and Tessa oversees the dining room. The duo has found room for a chef’s table for four diners.

 

86. Morito Hackney Road – Hackney, London

In line with the Exmouth Market original, the Hackney iteration of Sam and Sam Clark’s Morito is an assault on the senses. Head chef Marianna Leivaditaki’s dishes draw in fluences from southern Spain, north Africa and the eastern Med, in particular Crete, where she grew up.

 

87. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie – Auchterarder, Perthshire

Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred spot, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie is an opulent dining room with a reassuringly expensive menu. Its chef has cooked at the hotel for more than 15 years and fuses French and Scottish ingredients and technique.

 

88. Norn – Leith, Edinburgh

Peat Inn alumnus Scott Smith is giving the Edinburgh old guard a run for its money with creative, naturalistic dishes that show a Scandiin fluence. The stripped-back Leith restaurant offers two changing menus (one four and one seven course) made up of carefully sourced local produce with dishes generally served by the cooks themselves.

 

89. Ondine – Edinburgh

Edinburgh-born chef Roy Brett has a CV that includes Rick Stein’s Padstow flagship, so it’s no surprise fish and shell fish sourcing at this establishment is second to none. The cooking isn’t bad either. Brett and team warmly embrace worldwide in fluences – think razor clams with chorizo and Sicilian lemons or Shetland mussels in an Asian ginger and black bean broth.

 

90. Portland – Marylebone, London

Located in a former clothing showroom, restaurateurs Will Lander, Daniel Morgenthau and chef Merlin Labron- Johnson’s Michelin-starred restaurant is a cut above. The dining room’s pared-back aesthetic mirrors the short menu of simple but well-executed dishes, many of which comprise only a few choice ingredients so that diners get their full effect.

 

91. Lorne – Victoria, London

Launched earlier this year by sommelier Katie Exton and chef Peter Hall, Lorne has the backing of Phil Howard and Blixen owner Clive Watson and is tipped for big things. The restaurant serves inventive yet unfussy modern British and European dishes by way of its 5/5/5 menu in relaxed surroundings – something it delivers with aplomb.

 

92. Murano – Mayfair, London

Angela Hartnett’s luxurious flagship restaurant has been a Mayfair stalwart for almost a decade. Hartnett’s menu comprises modern Italian dishes with a French accent that reflect her upbringing alongside her Italian grandmother and aunts as well as her long time spent working with Gordon Ramsay.

 

93. The Beehive – White Waltham, Berkshire

Dominic Chapman’s CV may include The Fat Duck, but there’s no molecular wizardry here. The food is unassuming, but the team’s skill makes simple-sounding dishes sing. The menu includes lasagne of wild rabbit with wood blewits and chervil; and Cotswolds white chicken, ham and leek pie with mash potato.

 

94. The Kitchin – Leith, Edinburgh

Tom and Michaela Kitchin’s eponymous restaurant passed the decade mark last year. During that time, it has grown in stature to be recognised not just as one of Scotland’s best restaurants, but one of the finest in the UK thanks to its modern seasonal cuisine influenced by French cooking techniques and an appreciation of Scotland’s natural larder.

 

95. St John Bread and Wine – Shoreditch, London

The sister restaurant to Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver’s Clerkenwell classic relaunched last year, but its essence and barnstorming menu of great British food, has never wavered. Now under chef Farokh Talati, the restaurant continues to be a bastion for simple but delicious small plates.

 

96. Simpsons – Edgbaston, Birmingham

Andreas Antona and Luke Tipping’s Edgbaston fine-dining restaurant was given a more contemporary look a few years back to reflect its modern approach to its craft. The elegant and sophisticated restaurant has held a Michelin star since 2000 and remains a flag bearer for brilliant and innovative food in the Midlands and beyond.

 

97. Forest Side – Grasmere, Cumbria

The building that houses Forest Side might look a little traditional, but behind its Gothic façade is one of the Lake District’s most forward-thinking and ambitious restaurants. Head chef Kevin Tickle was once one of Simon Rogan’s lieutenants, so expect expertly foraged and home-grown ingredients plus a fair bit of pickling and fermenting.

 

98. Pizarro – Bermondsey, London

Named in honour of his grandfather, who had a bar of the same name in Spain, Spanish chef José Pizarro’s buzzy all-day restaurant is a much-loved Bermondsey hangout. With an extensive pica pica menu of timeless Spanish tapas dishes as well as a good selection of larger ones, Pizarro is one of London’s go-to places for a quick bite or a blow-out Spanish feast.

 

99. The Pig – Brockenhhurst, Hampshire

Hotel and restaurant group The Pig’s litter has grown in the past few years – and continues to do so – but its original in the New Forest remains the flagship and the place to go for brilliant local and seasonal cooking. Chefs James Golding and Dan Gover cook uncomplicated British food that stays true to the micro seasons, influenced by the local New Forest coast.

 

100. Gunpowder – Shoreditch, London

Serving suitably explosive small plates, Gunpowder was designed to be the antithesis of the Bangladeshi curry houses that line nearby Brick Lane. Owners Harneet and Devina Baweja and head chef Nirmal Save are pioneers of the new-wave Indian scene and have done a fantastic job of making less familiar Indian foods accessible.