Poll Result: Wirral Restaurant is UK #1

• Fraiche in Oxton tops Harden’s 100
• 1 in 10 of Harden’s 100 restaurants are Indian
• Kent is top county for high quality dining
• North West strongest dining region after South East
• Edinburgh is second restaurant city

Marc Wilkinson chef/patron Fraiche, Oxton

A chef who closed his restaurant last year only to re-open it months later has been crowned the UK’s #1 Restaurant in our diners poll.

Harden’s Best UK Restaurants 2020 (ISBN: 978-1916076112, price £16.99) – out now! – is based on 50,000 reports from a survey of 7,500 diners and places Marc Wilkinson’s 14-seater Fraiche, near Birkenhead, at the top of its ‘Harden’s 100’ list of the UK’s top dining destinations.

At the start of 2019, Wilkinson had planned to move to Liverpool and double in size, but soon decided against becoming less hands-on, commenting in March 2019 to the Liverpool Echoon his decision to maintain his site of 15 years standing:

“For good or bad, you get 100% of me – the decor is me, the visuals are me, the music is me. I care, I guess – it’s a passion.”

Fraiche was amongst the North West’s tally of 10 entries in the Harden’s 100: the highest of any region outside the South East and London, and with five of them in the Top 20 including Manchester Mana (3) and Adam Reid at The French (19); Aughton’s Moor Hall (5); and Cartmel’s L’Enclume (12).

Non-native, as well as British cuisine, is well-represented in the Harden’s 100, with 10 of the entries featuring Indian cuisine, 6 Japanese; and with Chinese and Scandinavian restaurants accounting for 3 apiece. This is in stark contrast to the lists produced by many other UK guides: for example, The Good Food Guide’s Top 50 Restaurants which includes zero Indian or Japanese establishments and a single Chinese one; or Square Meal’s UK Top 100, which includes two Indian establishments, and zero Japanese or Chinese representatives.

London restaurants accounted for 41 of the Harden’s 100 with 59 entries outside the capital. Amongst counties, Kent put in an unusually strong performance with five of the Harden’s 100 restaurants from the area.

Looking at the wider picture beyond the elite of the Harden’s 100, Edinburgh regained its position as Britain’s No 2. restaurant city outside London, judged both in terms of the total number of entries in the guide (60) and in terms of the total number of top-scoring entries (20) for any single city (a top scorer is defined as any restaurant scoring the top 5/5 mark for food, plus those charging over £60 per head scoring 4/5).

For general quality, the other top-scoring cities were Brighton (10), Birmingham and Glasgow (8 apiece), Manchester (7) and York (5) – the latter continuing to punch well above its weight as one of the country’s top dining cities. (Bath, Bristol and Cambridge score 4 apiece).

Oxford and Leeds are cities which have large restaurant scenes (with a total of 25 and 24 entries respectively), but which are under-weight for top-scorers with just 2 and 1 respectively.

Co-founder Peter Harden commented:

“This is an exciting time for the quality UK restaurant scene, with a feeling that expectations amongst diners continues to rise ever higher and a sense that the trade is rising to the challenge of meeting those expectations.

For many years now it has felt hard to keep up with the pace of change and innovation amidst the capital’s ever-changing restaurant scene, and this dynamism seems now to be ever-more widespread beyond the borders of the capital.”

Harden’s 100 – Top UK Restaurants

The top 100 restaurants derived from the 50,000 reports with ratings submitted by 7,500 diners who contributed to the Harden’s annual survey.

1 Fraiche, Oxton (7)  
2 The Five Fields, London (13)  
3 Mana, Manchester  
4 Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (23)  
5 Moor Hall, Aughton (30)  
6 Hambleton Hall, Hambleton (10)  
7 The Ledbury, London (5)  
8 Bubbledogs, Kitchen Table, London (14)  
9 Core by Clare Smyth, London (11)  
10 Casamia, Bristol (1)  
11 Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac (4)  
12 L’Enclume, Cartmel (31)  
13 Umu, London  
14 Waterside Inn, Bray (9)  
15 Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Great Milton (16)  
16 Etch, Brighton  
17 Mãos, London (43)  
18 Endo at Rotunda, London  
19 Adam Reid at The French, Manchester  
20 Lumière, Cheltenham (61)  
21 The Araki, London (3)  
22 Texture, London (2)  
23 Hakkasan, London (48)  
24 Winteringham Fields, Winteringham (8)  
25 Orwells, Shiplake  
26 Sushi Tetsu, London (15)  
27 Amaya, London (68)  
28 Andrew Fairlie, Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder (55)  
29 Adam’s, Birmingham (22)  
30 Little Fish Market, Brighton (99)  
31 Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh (18)  
32 Roganic, London (76)  
33 Le Cochon Aveugle, York (91)  
34 Gymkhana, London  
35 Hipping Hall, Kirkby Lonsdale  
36 Dastaan, Ewell  
37 House of Tides, Newcastle upon Tyne  
38 Sorrel, Dorking (21)  
39 Indian Accent, London (24)  
40 Morston Hall, Morston (26)  
41 The Peat Inn, Cupar (58)  
42 The Neptune, Old Hunstanton (50)  
43 Opheem, Birmingham  
44 Artichoke, Amersham (28)  
45 Sosban And The Old Butcher’s, Menai Bridge  
46 Le Gavroche, London (25)  
47 La Dame de Pic London, London (6)  
48 Zuma, London (66)  
49 The Fordwich Arms, Fordwich  
50 Lympstone Manor, Exmouth (20)  
51 Lake Road Kitchen, Ambleside  
52 Purnells, Birmingham (59)  
53 Roski, Liverpool  
54 Paul Ainsworth at No. 6, Padstow  
55 Raby Hunt, Summerhouse (51)  
56 The Whitebrook, Restaurant with Rooms, Whitebrook  
57 Bohemia, Jersey  
58 Stark, Broadstairs  
59 La Petite Maison, London  
60 21212, Edinburgh  
61 Alyn Williams, Westbury Hotel, London  
62 Ikoyi, London  
63 Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms, Eglwys Fach (44)  
64 Hunan, London (41)  
65 A Wong, London  
66 Roka, London  
67 Chez Bruce, London (77)  
68 1921 Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds  
69 Elystan Street, London (84)  
70 StreetXO, London  
71 OOTY, London  
72 Black Swan, Oldstead (29)  
73 Restaurant MCR, Manchester  
74 Gravetye Manor, East Grinstead  
75 Number One, Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh (71)  
76 Babur, London  
77 The Blackbird, Bagnor  
78 The Sportsman, Seasalter (49)  
79 Club Gascon, London  
80 The Moorcock Inn, Sowerby Bridge  
81 Northcote, Langho  
82 Frog by Adam Handling, London (98)  
83 Midsummer House, Cambridge (38)  
84 Trinity, London (88)  
85 The Ninth London, London  
86 Caractère, London  
87 Skosh, York  
88 Seven Park Place, London  
89 Indian Essence, Petts Wood  
90 La Trompette, London (74)  
91 Crab House Cafe, Weymouth  
92 Joro, Sheffield  
93 Kahani, London  
94 Ormer Mayfair, Flemings Mayfair Hotel, London  
95 The Box Tree, Ilkley (19)  
96 The Barbary, London  
97 John’s House, Mountsorrel  
98 Pollen Street Social, London (83)  
99 The Small Holding, Goudhurst  
100 Trishna, London (92)  

Harden’s 100 by cuisine

British Modern 52
French 16
Indian 10
Japanese 6
Fish & Seafood 4
Chinese 3
Scandinavian 3
Mediterranean 2
Spanish 1
Portuguese 1
North African 1
West African 1

Coverage by Region & County

County Harden’s
100
Top
Scorer
Total
Entries
Derbyshire 0 2 11
Leicestershire 1 1 6
Nottinghamshire 1 3 22
Rutland 1 1 8
East Midlands 3 7 47
Bedfordshire 0 0 2
Cambridgeshire 1 4 24
Essex 0 4 19
Hertfordshire 0 1 21
Norfolk 2 4 23
Suffolk 1 5 36
East of England 4 18 125
County Durham 1 2 5
Northumberland 0 0 8
Tyne and Wear 1 4 32
North East 2 6 45
Cheshire 1 3 17
Cumbria 3 11 31
Greater Manchester 3 9 73
Lancashire 2 8 25
Merseyside 1 3 26
North West 10 34 172
Berkshire 2 10 28
Buckinghamshire 1 6 21
East Sussex 2 10 49
Greater London 0 1 4
Hampshire 0 4 36
Isle of Wight 0 1 2
Kent 5 12 60
Oxfordshire 2 6 49
Surrey 1 8 35
West Sussex 1 4 29
South East 14 62 313
City of Bristol 1 4 32
Cornwall 2 9 48
Devon 1 9 31
Dorset 1 2 24
Gloucestershire 1 4 33
Somerset 0 6 33
Wiltshire 0 5 15
South West 6 39 216
Herefordshire 0 0 6
Shropshire 0 2 10
Staffordshire 0 1 3
Warwickshire 0 2 18
West Midlands 3 8 27
Worcestershire 0 3 10
West Midlands 3 16 74
East Yorkshire 0 2 7
Lincolnshire 1 3 7
North Yorkshire 3 13 61
South Yorkshire 1 4 9
West Yorkshire 2 4 38
Yorkshire & The Humber 7 26 122
Cardiff 0 0 10
Carmarthenshire 0 0 2
Ceredigion 0 0 2
Conwy 0 0 2
Denbighshire 0 1 3
Gwynedd 1 2 4
Isle of Anglesey 0 0 2
Monmouthshire 1 2 4
Pembrokeshire 0 1 4
Powys 1 2 7
Swansea 0 1 2
Vale of Glamorgan 0 1 3
Wrexham 0 1 2
Wales 3 11 47
Aberdeenshire 0 1 3
Argyll and Bute 0 4 10
City of Edinburgh 3 20 64
City of Glasgow 0 8 23
Dumfries and Galloway 0 1 1
East Lothian 0 0 3
Fife 1 3 8
Highland 0 4 8
North Ayrshire 0 1 1
Perth and Kinross 1 3 8
Scottish Borders 0 0 2
West Lothian 0 0 2
Wester Ross 0 1 1
Scotland 5 46 134
County Antrim 0 2 6
County Armagh 0 0 1
County Down 0 1 1
County Londonderry 0 0 2
Northern Ireland 0 3 10
58 271 1314

Coverage by UK City (by total number of entries)

• London is ranked first.

Location 2020
(number)
2020
Rank
2019
(number)
2019
Rank
Edinburgh 64 2 51 3
Manchester 60 3 62 2
Brighton 36 4 37 4
Bristol 32 5 31 5
Birmingham 25 6= 17 14
Oxford 25 6= 23 9=
Leeds 24 8= 25 6=
York 24 8= 23 9=
Glasgow 23 10= 25 6=
Newcastle upon Tyne 23 10= 24 8
Bath 21 12 19 13
Liverpool 20 13 22 11
Nottingham 19 14 21 12
Cambridge 15 15 14 15
Cardiff 10 16= 9 20=
Cheltenham 10 16= 12 16
Winchester 10 16= 10 18=
Chester 9 19= 11 17
Harrogate 9 19= 10 18
Whitstable 8 21 9 20

High Quality Restaurants By UK City (by number of top scorers)

• London is ranked first
• A “Top scorer” is any restaurant scoring 5/5 (excellent) for food, or any restaurant above £60/head scoring 4/5 (very good) for food.

Location 2020
(number)
2020
Rank
2020
Top 100
2019
(number)
2019
Rank
2019
Top 100
Edinburgh 20 2 3 14 2 4
Brighton 10 3 1 9 3 1
Birmingham 8 4= 3 7 4 3
Glasgow 8 4= 6 5=
Manchester 7 6= 3 6 5=
York 5 6= 2 4 8= 1
Bath 4 8= 4 8=
Bristol 4 8= 1 6 5= 2
Cambridge 4 8= 1 2 19= 2
Bury St Edmunds 3 11= 1 3 12=
Cheltenham 3 11= 1 4 8= 2
Newcastle upon Tyne 3 11= 1 3 12=
Cartmel 3 11= 1 3 12= 1
Sheffield 3 11= 1 3 12=
Windermere 3 11= 4 8=

Detailed Coverage by Region

Click on the thumbnail to download a detailed report of coverage per region.

Click to Download

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