Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Food

These Are the Best 100 Restaurants in the U.K.

Not all of them have Michelin stars—and that’s just fine

The Sportsman, a seaside pub, on Monday was named the best restaurant in the U.K. for the second year in a row, beating the finest establishments London has to offer, at the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards. The two-Michelin-star Ledbury, in the capital’s Notting Hill, placed second.

The annual rankings are based on the votes of 180 chefs, restaurateurs and food writers, including me. Each member of the panel casts seven votes, based on his or her best restaurant experiences over the previous 12 months.

Stephen Harris, chef at the Sportsman pub in Kent
Richard Vines/Bloomberg

The list tends to favor informal establishments over temples of gastronomy. Two of the U.K.’s four three-Michelin Star restaurants don’t make the Top 100: The Fat Duck (15) and the Waterside Inn (21) are there, but Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse are not.

A Wong, a Chinese restaurant near the Victoria train station, jumped to third place from 19th. International recognition is growing for chef Andrew Wong’s modern Chinese cooking. Alongside Som Saa and Kiln, it was one of three Asian venues in the top 10, when there were none last year.

Claude Bosi of Bibendum
Photographer: Patricia Niven

The Sportsman, chef Stephen Harris’s establishment in Seasalter, Kent, also won the best gastropub award. Chef Jason Atherton was named best restaurateur, while Frenchman Claude Bosi of Bibendum (London) took the chef’s chef award.

There are other, similar rankings, but this one—in its 10th year—is probably the most closely watched here. It’s organized by Restaurant magazine, which is also behind the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.

My favorites this year included A Wong; Lorne, a modern European restaurant where lunch may cost as little as £15; and Man Behind the Curtain, an avant-garde restaurant in Leeds, where chef Michael O’Hare creates dishes with exciting flavors and dramatic presentation: Miyagi oyster with strawberry kimchi, anyone?

Here’s the Top 100, with last year’s rankings in parentheses if applicable.

  1. The Sportsman, Seasalter (1)
  2. The Ledbury, London (3)
  3. A Wong, London (19)
  4. Som Saa, London
  5. Barrafina Adelaide Street, London (2)
  6. Casamia, Bristol (12)
  7. The Clove Club, London (6)
  8. Elystan Street, London
  9. Kiln, London
  10. Hedone, London (4)
  11. The River Café, London (10)
  12. Lyle’s, London (9)
  13. Hoppers, London (17)
  14. The Palomar, London (42)
  15. The Fat Duck, Bray (68)
  16. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (14)
  17. L’Enclume, Cartmel (8)
  18. Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick
  19. The Dairy, London (13)
  20. The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny (11)
  21. The Waterside Inn, Bray (23)
  22. Gymkhana, London (45)
  23. Claude Bosi at Bibendum, London
  24. The Elephant, Torquay (32)
  25. The Raby Hunt, Darlington
  26. Midsummer House, Cambridge (43)
  27. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac (5)
  28. Brawn, London (53)
  29. Bulrush, Bristol
  30. 64 Degrees, Brighton (16)
  31. Primeur, London (73)
  32. The Coach, Marlow (59)
  33. 108 Garage, London
  34. Temper, London
  35. Chez Bruce, London (71)
  36. Noble Rot Restaurant & Wine Bar, London (21)
  37. Frenchie, London (20)
  38. Le Gavroche, London (18)
  39. Padella, London
  40. Clipstone, London
  41. The Hand & Flowers, Marlow (33)
  42. 40 Maltby Street, London (30)
  43. The Quality Chop House, London (25)
  44. The Little Fish Market, Hove
  45. The Man Behind the Curtain, Leeds (27)
  46. Trinity, London
  47. Sticky Walnut, Chester (74)
  48. Bocca di Lupo, London (62)
  49. The Smoking Goat, London (55)
  50. Lake Road Kitchen, Ambleside (15)
  51. The Crown, Burchetts Green
  52. Adams, Birmingham
  53. Gidleigh Park, Chagford
  54. Hispi, Manchester
  55. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton (39)
  56. Jikoni, London
  57. P Franco, London
  58. The Black Swan at Oldstead
  59. Typing Room, London
  60. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (34)
  61. Margot, London
  62. Timberyard, Edinburgh
  63. Black Axe Mangal, London (24)
  64. Blacklock Soho, London
  65. El Pastor, London
  66. Holborn Dining Room, London
  67. Pollen Street Social, London (46)
  68. StreetXO, London
  69. Bao Soho, London (44)
  70. Moor Hall, Ormskirk
  71. Paul Ainsworth at Number 6, Padstow (51)
  72. Quo Vadis, London
  73. The Marksman, London
  74. The Pony & Trap, Bristol
  75. Rochelle Canteen, London
  76. The Seahorse, Dartmouth (47)
  77. Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe
  78. El Gato Negro, Manchester (81)
  79. Hawksmoor Air Street, London
  80. Kricket, London
  81. Sosharu, London
  82. The Star Inn, Harome
  83. The Hardwick, Abergavenny (40)
  84. Wine & Brine, Moira
  85. Box-E, Bristol
  86. Morito, London
  87. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Gleneagles (22)
  88. Norn, Edinburgh
  89. Ondine, Edinburgh (60)
  90. Portland, London (41)
  91. Lorne, London
  92. Murano, London
  93. The Beehive, White Waltham
  94. The Kitchin, Edinburgh (75)
  95. St John Bread and Wine, London
  96. Simpsons, Birmingham (56)
  97. Forest Side, Grasmere
  98. Pizarro, London
  99. The Pig, Brockenhurst
  100.   Gunpowder, London

Richard Vines is chief food critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.

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