The UK is home to thousands of quality restaurants, pioneering street food vendors, and some of the best fine-dining experiences in the world.
In a country with such high standards and expectations from consumers, competition at the very top of the pile can be fierce – with the occupier of the top spot ever-changing.
The Waitrose Good Food Guide 2018 has released a list of the 50 best restaurants in the UK which will continue to blossom and prove themselves as the cream of the crop as they lead the British dining scene into the new year.
Including relaxed social eateries, blast-from-the-past conceptual menus, and fine dining excursions hidden away in unlikely places, scroll on to discover the 13 best restaurants in the UK that every foodie needs to visit in 2018 – ranked in ascending order.
13. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London — A homage to the history of British gastronomy, creator Heston Blumenthal worked with a team of food historians to rediscover some of the quirkiest creations to hit dinner tables through the centuries and to bring a slice of their theatre to his own Knightsbridge restaurant.
12. Ynyshir, Powys — Perched on the edge of Snowdonia National Park near Aberystwyth, the relationship between Ynyshir’s location and ingredients is a key factor in each of its set menus guided by seasonal ingredients and the local climate.
11. Bohemia, Jersey — Sat just 14 miles from the French coast, this British restaurant makes the most of both French and British produce with a menu for every occasion — including an ever-changing, six-course surprise dinner menu where guests have no clue what’s coming until each course is served.
10. Casamia, Bristol — Within five years of taking over the Bristol restaurant from their parents, brothers Jonray and Peter’s inventive menu had earned Casamia a Michelin star and a place on the UK’s culinary map. Almost two years after Jonray’s death, the family business now has two further branches — a pizzeria and a tapas restaurant.
9. Claude Bosi at Bibendum, London — Head chef of former London foodie hotspot Hibiscus joined Bibendum earlier this year. The menu partners the showy flare of a two Michelin-starred chef with the down-to-earth flavour combinations of timeless menus.
8. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Perthshire — At Scotland’s only two-Michelin star restaurant, local produce is paired with classic French cooking to create a refined and elegant taste of the Scottish countryside.
- Restaurant Andrew Fairlie/David Gillanders
7. Hedone, London — Located in Chiswick in West London, Hedone’s clean and simple dishes are constructed in a way that lets each ingredient take centre stage. In order to accomplish perfection in its simplicity, Hedone’s menu changes daily depending on which of the freshest, best, and most intriguing ingredients come through the door.
6. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London — The Gordon Ramsay group’s flagship restaurant occupies three of the group’s seven Michelin stars and was the first British restaurant where a female chef held a three Michelin star accolade.
- Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
5. The Fat Duck, Berkshire — Known for its “food pairing” and “multi-sensory” cooking, The Fat Duck’s conceptual menu invites guests to revisit retro family holidays through the British countryside and along the coastline — including a course inspired by the Mad Hatter’s tea-party.
4. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottinghamshire — Set in an industrial estate in Nottingham, Restaurant Sat Bains serves elegant courses and refined flavours in an intimate environment. For the best views of the kitchen, book a table in the “Nucleus” dining room.
3. Pollen Street Social, London — The restaurant founded and run by a former Gordon Ramsay group head chef describes itself as a “modern urban eating point.” Guests’ experiences aren’t confined to the usual tasting menus or strict a la carte of Michelin starred establishments in this lively and informal Mayfair social hub.
- Flickr/Ewan Munro
2. L’Enclume, Cumbria — Sourcing many ingredients from its own farm, L’Enclume’s head chef Simon Rogan turns rustic produce into masterful, refined set meals in Cartmel — a village in the heart of Cumbria’s historic farming community. Frequently heralded as one of the greatest restaurants in the UK, L’Enclume is a must-see for foodies in the new year.
1. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall — With an emphasis on the local seafood, Nathan Outlaw’s flagship restaurant and holder of two Michelin stars keeps his set menu light and fresh to make sure the fish is the star in every dish. The multi-course extravaganza is finished with one of the sumptuous desserts on offer, such as this chocolate and peanut pudding.
- Beth Druce