Good Food Guide 2020 revealed: Simon Rogan's L'Enclume is back on top!

The Staff Canteen

The Good Food Guide 2020 by Waitrose & Partners (GFG) has revealed this year’s very best places to dine in the UK.

Michelin-starred Simon Rogan's restaurant L'Enclume in the historic village of Cartmel in Cumbria,  makes a welcome return to the top spot this year, having previously graced the top of the best restaurant list in 2017’s GFG (published September 2016). 

The Top 50

1 L’Enclume, Cumbria (10)

2 Core by Clare Smyth, London (10)

3 Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall (10)

4 Ynyshir, Powys (9)

5 Moor Hall, Lancashire (9)

6 Claude Bosi at Bibendum, London (9)

7 Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London (9)

8 Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (9)

9 Casamia, Bristol (9)

10 Pollen Street Social, London (9)

11 Adam Reid at The French, Manchester (8)

12 Restaurant Story, London (8)

13 The Raby Hunt, County Durham (8)

14 Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Tayside (8)

15 The Greenhouse, London (8)

16 The Ledbury, London (8)

17 Marcus, London (8)

18 The Fat Duck, Berkshire (8)

19 Roganic, London (8)

20 Fraiche, Merseyside (8)

21 Bohemia, Jersey (8)

22 Midsummer House, Cambridgeshire (8)

23 The Peat Inn, Fife (8)

24 Le Champignon Sauvage, Gloucestershire (8)

25 The Kitchin, Edinburgh (7)

26 Lake Road Kitchen, Cumbria (7)

27 Forest Side, Cumbria (7)

28 Orwells, Oxfordshire (7)

29 A. Wong, London (7)

30 Whatley Manor, The Dining Room, Wiltshire (7)

31 Trinity, London (7) New

32 Matt Worswick at the Latymer, Surrey (7)

33 Inver, Argyll & Bute (7) New

34 The Black Swan, Yorkshire (7) New

35 Restaurant James Sommerin, Glamorgan (7)

36 Winteringham Fields, Lincolnshire (7) New

37 The Sportsman, Kent (7)

38 The Whitebrook, Monmouthshire (7)

39 The Man Behind The Curtain, Leeds (7) New

40 Paul Ainsworth, Cornwall (7) New

41 Alchemilla, Nottingham (7) New

42 Wilks, Bristol (7) New

43 Cail Bruich, Glasgow (7) New

44 Where The Light Gets In,

Greater Manchester (7) New

45 Sosban & The Old Butcher’s, Anglesey (7) New

46 Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh (7)

47 Le Gavroche, London (7)

48 Artichoke, Buckinghamshire (7)

49 Adam’s, Birmingham (7)

50 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh (7)

On leading the Top 50, chef Simon Rogan said, “I couldn't be happier with the news that L’Enclume has returned to the No.1 spot in The Good Food Guide. It is a huge achievement which we have worked exceedingly hard towards, and I am very proud of my team who have made it possible. I am privileged to work alongside such talented individuals, and making the number one spot again has only fuelled our collective determination to get better and better.”

Elizabeth Carter, Editor of The Good Food Guide by Waitrose & Partners, added, “There was very strong competition among the top-scoring restaurants this year, but there was no ignoring the fact that L’Enclume is a really extraordinary restaurant, once again topping the bill after a two-year sojourn in second place. It dazzles; not with glitter-ball ritz and razzmatazz, but with the understated glow that comes from being indisputably world-class.”

Also remaining in the elite club of restaurants achieving a perfect cooking score of ten is Core by Clare Smyth - which moves up one place from last year to No.2 and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw at No.3. The Guide states that the highest score is only awarded for ‘just perfect dishes, showing faultless technique at every service; extremely rare, and the highest accolade the Guide can give.’

A new entry into the top 10 is Moor Hall, moving from No.11 last year to No.5 in this year’s Good Food Guide. Elizabeth said: “It’s been a delight to watch Mark Birchall of Moor Hall making his way through the Guide’s ratings at such an electric pace, achieving a cooking score of nine. Moor Hall is, without doubt, one of the hottest restaurants in the UK.”

Which UK restaurants can you dine at for under £30?

This year’s guide features more than 350 restaurants, nearly a third of its restaurant selection, which offer diners a three-course dinner (excluding drinks) for £30 or under.

 As diners move away from large chain restaurants, independent restaurateurs recognise the need to differentiate themselves by offering a distinctive, customer-focused experience, great choice and most of all, value for money.

Elizabeth Carter, Editor of The Good Food Guide by Waitrose & Partners, said: “With diners increasingly looking for flexible eating options and value for money, there has been a surge in inexpensive  cafés and restaurants that rank quality of ingredients above all else. Small, owner-run dining rooms across the country provide clear examples of how they can and do work in direct opposition to the pizza-burger overload on the British high street.”

This year’s Best New Entry for London, Peg in Hackney, proves that it’s not just grand dining rooms being celebrated by the Guide. “An exciting little place” this cool Hackney newcomer offers beautiful, low-budget dishes, prepared with a precision that the paper napkins and reusable bamboo plates belie. 

Nico Simeone’s Six by Nico chain of crowd- pleasing restaurants which serve up a six-course tasting menu at £28 changing every six weeks, is a modern example of wallet-friendly, enthusiastic restaurants making dining out more accessible. 

The UK's No.1 foodie hotspot according to the Good Food Guide 2020

Leading the way at number one is the Channel Islands, where you will find restaurants such as Bohemia in Jersey, the highest scoring restaurant on the Channel Islands, placed at number 21 in the Guide’s Top 50. The GFG calls it a sophisticated dining room, which “is in many ways peak St Helier... sourcing primarily from Jersey’s abundance.”

Dynamic pricing 

Love it or hate it, consumers are no strangers to dynamic pricing – the term used to explain why the cost of hotel rooms and flights fluctuates depending on demand, dates or times. The GFG has observed a number of restaurants starting to follow suit, charging different amounts for the same dining experience to encourage people to book when demand is typically lower.

This year, the GFG features several restaurants doing this to help spread demand across the week. The Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds, a GFG Top 50 restaurant, charges £75 for 10 courses at dinner Tuesday to Thursday; later in the week you’ll pay an extra £15 or £25. Soho restaurant Bob Bob Ricard has a peak and off-peak system which means it’s around 20% cheaper to eat at lunch time, as well as at dinner on Sundays and Mondays, than on other days of the week. 

 It’s a growing trend in the restaurant world, but not a format for everyone. The Good Food Guide Editors suggest when it comes to dining, it may pay to shop around and keep dates flexible.

No reservations

Hip bistro 10 Greek Street in Soho now takes reservations at lunch and dinner while holding back several tables for walk-ins. Soho favourite Pastaio operates a virtual queueing system so you don’t have to stand outside in all weathers and you can even skip the line at Padella in London’s Borough Market by using the WalkIn app. 

 A childish debate? 

It’s the time-old debate of the eating out world: should children be allowed in restaurants? This year, the Guide features 170 places which have restrictions on kids dining with them, which vary from allowing children at lunchtime only to setting an age limit for younger guests, and even those that don’t accept children at all.

When the Guide put the question ‘Should under-12s be welcomed in fine dining restaurants?’ to its Twitter followers, 54% answered ‘yes’, 31% responded with ‘no’ and 15% suggested that it would depend on the time of day. 

The Good Food Guide 2019 by Waitrose & Partners Editors' Awards

 Each year, the Guide announces its Editors’ Awards in recognition of those restaurants and chefs who have shown excellence in their field along with exceptional talent. 

This year, in a time of ever increasing interest in sustainability and the environment, the Editors have acknowledged a Sustainability Champion. In recognition of his tremendous work in this field, Douglas McMaster of Silo has been chosen to receive this accolade. His work at Silo Brighton, moving later this year to Hackney’s Crate Brewery, is utterly pioneering. 

“Waste is a failure of the imagination” he sais. Silo has been reverse-engineered to ensure there’s no need for a bin: foods are bought whole, flour is milled and butter churned on-site; milk is turned into cheese and yoghurt. And any waste that’s produced is organic and fed to Bertha, a closed-loop compost machine or aerobic digester. McMaster’sbook, ‘The Zero Waste Blueprint’ is an inspiration to other restaurateurs, encouraging them to follow in his footsteps, but also to question the status quo.  

Chef of the Year has been awarded to Pam Brunton at Inver in Strachur, Argyll & Bute,  Chef to Watch has been named as Will Devlin from The Small Holding in Kilndown, Kent, Restaurant of the Year goes to The Mash Inn in Radnage, Buckinghamshire. The Woodsman in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, described as ‘a welcome beacon of hospitality in Shakespeare’s birthplace’, is announced as Best New Entry, UK. The Best New Entry, London is Peg in Hackney.

Best Local Restaurant

The Best Local Restaurant Awards recognise fabulous neighbourhood eateries up and down the country.  Each region has a local winner, and this year’s Best Local Restaurant Overall Winner is The Little Gloster in Gurnard on the Isle of Wight. 


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th September 2019

Good Food Guide 2020 revealed: Simon Rogan's L'Enclume is back on top!