Just one pub among best UK’s best restaurants

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Good food: the Sportsman pub was in 42nd place on the list of the top 50 places to eat in the UK
Good food: the Sportsman pub was in 42nd place on the list of the top 50 places to eat in the UK
The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, was named as one of the best restaurants in the UK in the latest edition of The Good Food Guide.

The seaside venue,​ which was the only pub featured in the list of the top 50 restaurants and came in at number 42, took the top spot and the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs​ earlier this year (January).

The Good Food Guide 2019 ​by Waitrose & Partners, the first with the new Waitrose & Partners branding the sixth edition published by the retailer, has revealed its top places to dine in the UK, as well as its award winners.

Taking the top spot for the second year running was Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall.

The Port Isaac seafood restaurant was crowned champion thanks to Outlaw’s “confident cooking” and “knack for deploying first-rate seafood to its ultimate advantage”.

The restaurant was noted for having a “refreshing lack of pomp” with a tasting menu that was “ingenious in its simplicity, yet continues to surprise”.

Good Food Guide ​editor Elizabeth Carter said: “This is the perfect Good Food Guide ​restaurant, embodying everything we champion.

“Expect cooking that is consistently of the highest quality combining the freshest ingredients, from shellfish and fish from the sea and estuary, to locally grown fruits and vegetables."

No formality

She added: “There’s a brilliant wine list and the excellent service is devoted to diner enjoyment with no formality.

“It is with great delight that Restaurant Nathan Outlaw has been awarded a perfect 10 for the third year running and retains the number one spot in our top 50.”

Outlaw said finding out his venue was in top spot and retained a cooking score of 10 out of 10 was “amazing”.

He explained: "My aim has always been to offer customers food cooked simply but with subtle layers of flavour and to make a visit to Restaurant Nathan Outlaw an experience to remember, for not only food, but also for the professional and welcoming hospitality our front-of-house team provides.

“I am grateful to each one of my fantastic team for their commitment and hard work. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw embodies everything I’d want in a restaurant as a customer, and it seems that other people like it that way too!”

For the first time, TheGood Food Guide ​lists restaurants that have a dedicated vegan menu this year.

Not a trend nor fad

Guide editor Carter said: “As far back as 2014, The Good Food Guide ​noted some of our top chefs were taking a more vegetable-focused approach, with meat playing a bit part.

“Chefs such as Alexis Gauthier, who is looking to transition to an entirely vegan menu by 2020, are paving the way.

“Following a plant-based diet is neither a trend nor a fad but a lifestyle choice, which is set to shift up a gear in the years to come.”

Waste is also the subject on everyone’s lips this year and the guide predicted this trend was set to continue for the foreseeable future.

The guide also said while the majority of restaurants were keen to ensure diners are easily able to browse menus, some venues are still baffling customers with “incomprehensible menus”.

Carter said she was no fan of “those pretentious lists of ingredients devoid of prepositions, participles or conjunctions that you have to ask waiting staff to explain. After all, it is the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary”.

Alongside fine-dining establishments, the guide aims to champion local eateries that may not be in traditional restaurant guides.

Readers were asked to nominate their favourite neighbourhood restaurant. Each region had a local winner and this year’s overall winner was the Old Bank in Snettisham, Norfolk.

Regional winners were the Hare & Hounds in Aberthin, Glamorgan, for Wales; Forage & Chatter in Edinburgh for Scotland; Hadskis in Belfast for Northern Ireland; Harborne Kitchen in Harborne, West Midlands, for the Midlands; the Feathers Inn, Hedley on the Hill in Northumberland, for north-east England; Joseph Benjamin in Chester, Cheshire for north-west England; Pulpo Negro in Alresford, Hampshire, for south-east England; the Three Tuns in Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire, for south-west England; and Home SW15 in Putney, for London.

The full list@

1. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall (10)
2. L’Enclume, Cumbria (10)
3. Core by Clare Smyth (10) New
4. Restaurant Sat Bains, Notts (9)
5. Ynyshir, Powys (9)
6. Claude Bosi at Bibendum, London (9)
7. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London (9)
8. Casamia, Bristol (9)
9. Pollen Street Social, London (9)
10. The Fat Duck, Berkshire (8)
11. Moor Hall, Lancashire (8)
12. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Tayside (8)
13. Adam Reid at The French, Manchester (8)
14. Bohemia, Jersey (8)
15. Le Champignon Sauvage, Glos (8)
16. Restaurant Story, London (8)
17. André Garrett at Cliveden, Berkshire (8)
18. The Ledbury, London (8)
19. Fraiche, Merseyside (8)
20. Roganic, London (8) New
21. Midsummer House, Cambridgeshire (8)
22. Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London (8)
23. The Peat Inn, Fife (8)
24. Marcus, London (8)
25. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (8)
26. The Kitchin, Edinburgh (7)
27. Forest Side, Cumbria (7)
28. A. Wong, London (7) New
29. Orwells, Oxfordshire (7)
30. Sketch, Lecture Room & Library, London (7)
31. Hedone, London (7)
32. The Ritz, London (7)
33. Castle Terrace, Edinburgh (7)
34. The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye (7)
35. The Waterside Inn, Berkshire (7)
36. Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire (7) New
37. Restaurant James Sommerin, Glamorgan (7)
38. Whatley Manor, The Dining Room, Wiltshire (7)
39. Matt Worswick at the Latymer, Surrey (7) New
40. The Raby Hunt, Co Durham (7)
41. The Greenhouse, London (7)
42. The Sportsman, Kent (7)
43. Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh (7)
44. Artichoke, Buckinghamshire (7)
45. Lake Road Kitchen, Cumbria (7) New
46. Adam’s, Birmingham (7)
47. Morston Hall, Norfolk (7) New
48. Le Gavroche, London (7)
49. The Whitebrook, Monmouthshire (7)
50. Hambleton Hall, Leicestershire and Rutland (7)

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