Gravetye Manor
Gravetye Manor

The best restaurants in the UK

Looking for great stuff to eat across this fair country? This is our ultimate ranking of the best restaurants in the UK right now

Leonie Cooper
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The UK is a glorious place to eat, drink and generally be merry. Sure, there are loads of great restaurants in London, but there are hundreds more across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; ones where you'll make napkin-stained memories that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. Especially if you head to Cumbria, which is home of the most Michelin stars in the UK outside of the capital. But as well as the diner’s paradise that is the Lake District, here's where else you need to head in order to sample some of the finest food and downright transcendent restaurant experiences the UK has to offer. Eat up. 

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Best restaurants in the UK

Eglwys Fach, Ceredigion

Ynyshir is an experience. It is expensive, intimidating and they don’t cater to any dietary requirements. Don’t like it? Don’t go. That’s chef-patron Gareth Ward’s bullish approach and it’s one that’s as honest as it is rebarbative. Ynyshir is not for everyone but those that get it, get it. The multi-course tasting menu is Japanese-inflected and features some incredible produce cooked with extreme precision and gusto. This riot of a restaurant offers you the chance to lose yourself in a cavalcade of food that doesn’t pull any punches. It might just be the most fun you’ll ever have in a fine-dining setting.

Lucas Oakeley
Contributing Food Writer

Hovingham, Yorkshire

Against a green and golden Howardian Hills backdrop, you’ll find the delightful Mýse. If a restaurant has ever gunned for Michelin star contention, it’s this one – and sucessfully too, winning one less than a year after opening in the summer of 2023. Their tiny tasting menu has all the flair and precision of an old master. Using the finest local produce available on the day, you’ll be feasting upon the likes of duck and mead broth served with a tiny liver crumpet, plump Lindisfarne oysters with a watercress pesto and seaweed granita, or aged Herdwick lamb saddle covered over coals with tetragonia spinach and a lamb tongue, pearl barley and anchovy garum sauce. A restaurant with rooms, after wolfing down a spectacular tasting menu of Yorkshire-sourced delights you can roll into a superking bed and clutch your belly contentedly. 

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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Edinburgh

It’s hard to know where to start with Lyla, Stuart Ralston’s fourth Edinburgh venture: sometimes, you’re left quite literally speechless at the intricacy of it all. Situated in a towering Royal Terrace townhouseingredients are sourced from all over Scotland with a focus on sustainably caught seafood and foraged goods. The 28-cover dining room is calm, minimalist, neutral – allowing the food to take centre stage like sculptures in a white cube gallery. And art it was. Everything – from the dinky cheese and onion crisp sandwich and tweezered garnishes, to the silky, unami-exploding smoked trout chawanmushi (a Japanese savoury custard), and rich, chocolately salted milk makes you leave Lyla feeling indulged, but in a chic way. Read the full review here.

📍The best restaurants in Edinburgh

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Chiara Wilkinson
Features Editor, UK

Burton Bradstock, Dorset

Ever wanted to dine at the end of the earth? Dorset's divinely windswept Seaside Boarding House gets you pretty damn close. Perched on the clifftops of Lyme Bay, here is one of the south coast's most sublime dining establishments; a casually classic spot with head chef Seldon Curry in charge of serving up fresh seafood (poached skatewing, or whole crab with lemon?) and bracingly seasonal flavours. Portions are big, too – no silly little small plates here – with heaving servings of saltbaked celeriac with white beans and truffled labneh, or roast goose with pickled mushrooms and bacon. Don't miss the starters either – with salt duck with pickled prune and date chutney a particularly potent choice. Chefs from that London are often seen popping up in the kitchen too, with Quo Vadis's Jeremy Lee and Jikoni's Ravinder Bhogal recent guests.  

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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Manchester

Natural wine and seasonal small plates? You know the drill by now. Yes, Erst is one of those uber-cool restaurants where you can spend £8 on a plate that carries nothing but a neat row of nude anchovies but it’s undoubtedly the urtext restaurant of that genre. Those Cantabrian anchovies are excellently sourced and devilishly salty while other ever-changing inventive plates (think mussels in escabeche with marinda tomatoes, lardo and sourdough) and grilled flatbreads round off a menu of hits from head chef Patrick Withington. The wine list is excellent, too. Read our full review here.

📍The best restaurants in Manchester

Lucas Oakeley
Contributing Food Writer

Batcombe, Somerset

Margot Henderson has spent almost two decades making Rochelle Canteen one of London’s most vital restaurants, but the Three Horseshoes – a 17th century pub in the teeny tiny village of Batcombe, Somerset – sees the New Zealand-born chef and bonafide kitchen legend truly indulge her passion for locally sourced ingredients. Whether it’s the appearance of the wild garlic that lines local lanes, or the cheese from Westcombe Dairy a mere 10-minute walk away, here you can taste Somerset in every bite. Food here is bracingly seasonal; so expect courgette with lentils and sheep's curd in the summer, and rabbit pie in the autumn. 

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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Stockport, Cheshire

Where The Light Gets In is a restaurant that’s all about openness. The kitchen and dining occupy the same open space (which was, in its previous life, a coffee warehouse) and there’s a similar transparency in the fact they don’t even offer you a choice of dishes. The seemingly simple – yet deceptively intricate – plates of food have nothing to hide and showcase the best ingredients from the farmers and fishermen that chef/owner Sam Buckley has spent years building an intimate relationship with. They operate with the intent of having a low or positive impact on the environment and that forward-thinking approach shines through in the dishes that come out of the pass. Sustainability has never tasted so good. Read our full review here.

Lucas Oakeley
Contributing Food Writer

Hampton-in-Arden, Birmingham

When a restaurant receives a Michelin star less than a year after opening, you know that you're got something special on your plate. Grace and Savour is tucked away in the plush Hampton Manor's walled Victorian garden and entry to dinner is a touch like a scene from The Traitors – a roaring firepit outside might make you assume Claudia Winkleman is about to pounce – but inside, it's Scandi-chic all the way. A decadent but earthy 13 course tasting menu celebrates local produce, from suet pudding packed with hogget to venison loin with crispy savoy cabbage, and crispy jerusalem artichoke filled with tart and tangy granny smith apples. Chef David Taylor knows his stuff, and you can taste his enthusiasm for seasonal flavours – as well as his regenerative approach – in every bite. 

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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East Grinstead, Sussex

As you pull up the wide gravel path to Gravetye Manor, you'll probably be thinking more about Downtown Abbey than a Michelin-star menu, but this stunning Sussex bolthole does both. A 16th century manor house hotel with historic gardens, the gorgeous setting is matched only by the food, which uses produce fresh from the walled kitchen garden – and local producers – to create super seasonal menus that feature everything from venison with cep, and duck with spiced marmalade to scallop with mackerel and preserved gooseberry. It's not technically a tasting menu, but the set £125 three course menu comes without enough suprise snacks and treats to make you think it is. Don't miss their legendary dessert soufflé – ours was raspberry crumble flavoured, with a decadent liquorice ice cream.

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London

Aberthin, South Glamorgan

Some of the best meals in the UK are to be had at proper pubs that care about the food that comes out of their kitchens. The cooks at the Hare & Hounds in Aberthin care more than just about anyone. The furthest thing you could imagine from a poncy gastropub, this is still very much a pub-pub that’s frequented by plenty of locals and dog walkers. It just so happens that they’ve also got a Michelin Bib Gourmand. All of the food – from the freshly baked sourdough bread and cultured butter to the supple fresh pasta – is made from scratch in the kitchen. You can tell. Because it’s excellent.

Lucas Oakeley
Contributing Food Writer
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Cairndow, Argyll and Bute

Looking out over the shore of Loch Fyne, Inver is a shining little jewel in the crown of the Scottish dining scene. It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, making the trek to this beatific restaurant comes highly recommended. Boasting shellfish sourced from nearby lochs, the menu at Inver is unsurprisingly seafood-heavy and even more unsurprisingly immaculate in its execution. Expect to eat a range of thoughtfully composed dishes that taste just as good as they look. Visit Inver if you’re after a modern reimagining of – and loving ode to – traditional Scottish cuisine.

Lucas Oakeley
Contributing Food Writer

Holywood, County Down

Good restaurants will feed you. Great restaurants will feed you and give you a dining experience that you’ll daydream about at your office desk for years to come. Noble is a bijou place located in the heart of County Down that doles out sturdy food and warm service – the staff will make you feel like you’re a part of the family the moment that you walk through the door. Leaving here without a smile on your face, and a belly full of buttery fish, is pretty much impossible. Make sure to get involved with the sharply curated wine list, too.

Lucas Oakeley
Contributing Food Writer
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Aldeburgh, Suffolk

There’s a reason that the snails at The Suffolk – a beachside retreat in the just tourist-y enough coastal town of Aldeburgh – are so good. The hotel and its adjoining restaurant Sur-Mer are the beach-ball bouncing baby of George Pell, who left Soho’s legendary French dining room L’Escargot to launch The Suffolk. If anyone knows about the seductive pull of garlic butter, it’s George. Fish here, of course, is paramount – daily catches from the stumbling-distance beach make up the menu, as do oysters from nearby Butley Creek (a steal at £24 a dozen), which you can also get on the side of a punchy, ice-cold Martini. Lobster and chips here is also a seaside dish to be reckoned with.

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London

Launceston, Cornwall

Look up the word ‘bucolic’ in the dictionary and know what you’ll find? A definition of the word bucolic. Which is exactly what Coombeshead Farm is. This guesthouse and working farm is plonked in the midst of rural Cornwall and offers a host of keenly priced set menus that show off the best of the farm’s lovely produce. Conceived by chefs Tom Adams and April Bloomfield, it’s perhaps the purest indictment of farm-to-table eating in the UK. Well worth a trip and an overnight stay.

📍The best restaurants in Cornwall

Lucas Oakeley
Contributing Food Writer
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Edinburgh

This low-key but irresistible jaunt from chef Roberta Hall ticks a hell of a lot of boxes. To start, the vibe is spot on: all industrial Scandi-esque neutrals with lots of light and a healthy hum of chatter and clatter. The food is just as cool – and, importantly, is done to a mouth-wateringly high standard with a pretty reasonable price tag for what you’re getting (£65 per person for a set menu with £45 for paired wines). This is playful, modern cooking, executed with a natural flair: an ever-so-sweet English muffin dunked in soft wild garlic butter, mackerel with soothing cucumber and dill granita, or peas, all creamy goodness with pancetta. Read the full review here.

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Chiara Wilkinson
Features Editor, UK

Charlbury, Oxfordshire

In late 2023 the team behind never-not-rammed Notting Hill gastropub The Pelican went on a jolly to The Cotswolds and revamped this super snug c.1500s pub. Here, local produce takes priority and the menu changes daily; they've got their mitts on a nearby farm for bracingly fresh veg which they serve raw and unadorned on a platter, as well as access to a trigger-happy huntsman hook-up for game dishes such as partridge with cabbage and bacon, or muntjac meatballs. On our visit, we sample sublime trout (in crudo form, alongside crunchy green tomatos) which arrived on their doorstep a few days earlier courtesy of a local fisherman. Leeks are covered with oozy Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, and there's a weighty pork chop with creamed chard on the side. You're also never too far from a roaring fire, in order to ensure peak cosiness at all times.

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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