Wine & Brine named UK’s best local restaurant in Waitrose Good Food Guide 2017

The  Staff Canteen

Wine & Brine, located in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, is crowned overall winner and top choice for Northern Ireland  by the Good Food Guide 2017.

Speaking about what made Wine & Brine the overall winner, Elizabeth Carter, Waitrose Good Food Guide Editor, said: “A role-model of its kind, Chris McGowan’s relaxed restaurant has a big heart, friendly, laid-back staff and generous cooking of fresh, seasonal and local ingredients at ridiculously reasonable prices. A hive of endeavour, it is no wonder that Wine & Brine has a huge and very vocal fan base. Every town should have a restaurant of this standard.”

Wine & Brine is run by husband and wife team Chris and Davina McGowan, and has only been opened since December. Chef Chris had previously worked alongside top chefs in London such as Richard Corrigan and Gary Rhodes before returning back to Northern Ireland after two decades away.  

Davina McGowan, joint owner of Wine and Brine said: “To say we are delighted by this accolade is a great understatement. We are positively ecstatic to be chosen as the overall UK winner. We are such a young business, it makes it all the more profound for us. It's a testament to all our hard work over the years ahead of setting up Wine & Brine, which we always wanted to be a place where people wanted to come to eat and enjoy spending time with friends and family.

“We are trying to make good food accessible to everyone, using local suppliers. We only have one draught beer, and that’s from a brewery a few miles away. Our butcher is within a five-mile radius, as are most of our suppliers.”

The awards have also unearthed regional winners in unusual locations, including a gourmet garden centre, along with restaurants in far flung places of the country.

>>> Good Food Guide 2016 top 50 restaurants - see the full list here


When making a trip to the local garden centre you might not expect to find a top quality eaterie amongst the pot plants and wheel barrows. But Mrs Miller’s, perched above Hazel Dene Garden Centre, near Penrith in Cumbria, has bloomed to such an extent that it’s been awarded best local choice in the North West. It was judged “a unique and refreshing place, a garden-centre café that focuses on local ingredients and knows how to create feel-good flavours.”

The Whitehouse Restaurant on the West Coast of Scotland has won best Scottish Local Restaurant. Located in Lochaline, it is described by the Guide as being “about as remote as you can get without leaving the mainland.” Diners travelling from outside the immediate local area will most likely have to take a ferry. One happy customer, who nominated the restaurant said: “it has local, fresh food, prepared unpretentiously and supremely well.”  

The annual Good Food Guide reader-nominated awards recognise the best neighbourhood eateries up and down the country. And to mark their tenth year, the awards have been renamed ‘Local’ Restaurant of the Year’ to encourage diners to look much closer to home and champion the unsung restaurants right on their doorstep. The Guide also only looked for new winners this year, with the hope that smaller, lesser known establishments would be discovered.  

The awards are based on public nominations with a panel of Good Food Guide judges choosing the most outstanding for their overall winner.  

The winners are as follows:

Northern Ireland and Overall Winner -  Wine & Brine, Moira, County Armagh

South East -  The Compasses Inn, Crundale, Kent

London -  Portobello Ristorante Pizzeria, Notting Hill

North West - Mrs Miller’s, Culgaith, Cumbria

North East - Peace and Loaf, Newcastle

>>> See our interview with David Coulson from Peace and Loaf here


Scotland - The Whitehouse, Lochaline, Highlands

Wales - Sosban and the Old Butcher’s, Menai Bridge, Isle of Anglesey

Midlands - The Jockey, Baughton, Worcestershire

South West - Wilks, Bristol

East England - The Duck Inn, Stanhoe, Norfolk

>>> Read more on the Good Food Guide 2017

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th July 2016

Wine & Brine named UK’s best local restaurant in Waitrose Good Food Guide 2017