Food is very serious business here. And when it comes to ‘fine dining’, we Brits take our annual restaurant awards even more seriously. From posh AF restaurants to honest gastropubs, the Good Food Guide has revealed the top 20 most exciting restaurants of 2022 and it’s a triumph for the UK’s regions, with only five London locations making the coveted ranking.
Taking home the sought-after first prize was Simon Rogan’s flagship restaurant in Cumbria, L’Enclume, known for its sustainable approach and use of hyper-seasonal produce. The restaurant produces most of its food on its own farm in the Cartmel Valley, with vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers taking centre stage. It received its first Michelin star in 2005, a second in 2013 and a third in 2022, and holds five AA Rosettes.
In second place was Ynyshir, in mid-Wales, which also has a Michelin star. On its website, it warns customers: ‘Be aware that Ynyshir is possibly not the best place for a business meeting or an intimate first date, but perfect for that exciting second one.’ Priding itself on providing a unique dining experience with theatrics in the kitchen and a specially curated soundtrack, in addition to its staunch rules (they don’t cater to any dietary requirements), Yynshir sounds like one hell of a place to dine out. Mind you, dinner is £350 per person (or £495 with a room for the night).
In third, meanwhile, was Mark Birchall’s Moor Hall, in Lancashire: a multi-award-winning spot with two Michelin stars and a Michelin Green Star. Its original dishes prioritise English produce, including lesser-known herbs and plants, contrasting blended flavours, textures and temperatures.
Just behind, in fourth, is the Raby Hunt in Darlington, known for its globally-inspired, forward-thinking menu of small plates by James Close. And fifth place went to gastropub The Sportsman in Whitstable, with its five-course tasting menu of seasonal small plates. Apparently, most of the ingredients are visible from the pub itself: meat from Monkshill Farm, ingredients foraged from a nearby marsh, home-cured pork and even homemade sea salt.
Here’s the full list of the most exciting restaurants for 2022, according to the Good Food Guide:
- L’Enclume, Cumbria
- Ynyshir, Dyfi Valley, Wales
- Moor Hall, Lancashire
- The Raby Hunt, Darlington
- The Sportsman, Whitstable
- Outlaw’s New Road, Port Isaac
- Osip, Bruton
- Pollen Street Social, London
- Inver, Cairndow, Scotland
- Wilderness, Birmingham
- Restaurant Story, London
- SY23, Aberystwyth, Wales
- Pine, Newcastle
- Annwn, Pembrokeshire, Wales
- Condita, Edinburgh, Scotland
- Grace & Savour, Solihull
- Da Terra, London
- Carters of Mosely, Birmingham
- Kol, London
- Endo at the Rotunda, London
ICYMI: here are the 15 best restaurants in the UK according to us.