York is the UK’s new foodie hotspot according to Harden's top 100 and the city's top chefs agree!

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th December 2018

Harden's Best UK Restaurants 2019 revealed York as the UK's new foodie hotspot, so we spoke to some of the city's top chefs Tommy Banks, Josh Overington, Adam Humphrey and Neil Bentinck to find out why!

The UK's best towns for foodies, and top 100 Restaurants are revealed today in Harden's Best UK Restaurants 2019. Harden's 28th annual poll surveyed 8,000 diners who contributed 50,000 reviews, which, as analysed and curated by the editors, form the basis for Harden’s inclusions, ratings and reviews.

The number 1 slot in the Harden’s 100 Best UK Restaurants went to Casamia in Bristol (up from No. 2 last year).

See the full list below: 

1. Casamia, The General, Bristol (2)
2. Texture, London (33)
3. The Araki, London (1)
4. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac (4)
5. The Ledbury, London (3)
6. La Dame de Pic, London (90)
7. Fraiche, Oxton (12)
8. Winteringham Fields, Winteringham
9. Waterside Inn, Bray (7)
10. Hambleton Hall, Hambleton (43)

11. Core by Clare Smyth, London
12. Aulis London, London
13. The Five Fields, London (28)
14. Bubbledogs, Kitchen Table, London (27)
15. Sushi Tetsu, London (16)
16. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Great Milton (25)
17. The Fat Duck, Bray (5)
18. Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh (9)
19. The Box Tree, Ilkley (39)
20. Lympstone Manor, Exmouth (54)

21. Sorrel, Dorking
22. Adam's, Birmingham (32)
23. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (13)
24. Indian Accent, London
25. Le Gavroche, London (22)
26. Morston Hall, Morston (36)
27. Quilon, London
28. Artichoke, Amersham (61)
29. Black Swan, Oldstead (8)
30. Moor Hall, Aughton (30)

31. L’Enclume, Cartmel (18)
32. Yorke Arms, Ramsgill-in-Nidderdale (19)
33. The Feathered Nest Inn, Nether Westcote
34. The Walnut Tree, Llandewi Skirrid
35. The Clove Club, London (10)
36. Brat, London
37. Pétrus, London (41)
38. Midsummer House, Cambridge (21)
39. Hedone, London (42)
40. L’Ortolan, Shinfield

41. Hunan, London (56)
42. Simpsons, Birmingham
43. Mãos, London
44. Gareth Ward at Ynyshir, Eglwys Fach (15)
45. Freemasons at Wiswell, Wiswell
46. Lucknam Park, Luckham Park Hotel, Colerne
47. Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo (38)
48. Hakkasan Mayfair, London
49. The Sportsman, Seasalter (85)
50. The Neptune, Old Hunstanton (44)

51. Raby Hunt, Summerhouse (29)
52. Fera at Claridge's, Claridge's Hotel, London
53. The Castle Terrace, Edinburgh
54. The Clock House , Ripley
55. Andrew Fairlie, Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder (35)
56. Gidleigh Park, Chagford (11)
57. The Square, London
58. The Peat Inn, Cupar (94)
59. Purnells, Birmingham (88)
60. Pied À Terre, London (23)

61. Lumière, Cheltenham
62. Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant, Milford-on-Sea
63. Min Jiang, The Royal Garden Hotel, London (99)
64. Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham
65. Cotto, Cambridge
66. Zuma, London (79)
67. Nobu, Metropolitan Hotel, London
68. Amaya, London
69. The Greenhouse, London (20)
70. Hide, London

71. Number One, Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh
72. The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, Marlborough (83)
73. Lickfold Inn, Lickfold
74. La Trompette, London (71)
75. Roux at Parliament Square, RICS, London (46)
76. Roganic, London
77. Chez Bruce, London (53)
78. Story, London (17)
79. Jikoni, London
80. Hélène Darroze, The Connaught Hotel, London (37)

81. Yauatcha Soho, London
82. Marcus, The Berkeley, London (75)
83. Pollen Street Social, London (77)
84. Elystan Street, London (69)
85. Dinings W1, London
86. Chutney Mary, London
87. Outlaw's at The Capital, London
88. Trinity, London (97)
89. Duddell's, London
90. Roux at the Landau, The Langham, London

91. Le Cochon Aveugle, York (40)
92. Trishna, London (64)
93. Murano, London (48)
94. The Torridon Restaurant, Annat
95. The Kitchin, Edinburgh (47)
96. Paris House, Woburn
97. The Ritz, London (45)
98. The Frog N1, London
99. Little Fish Market, Brighton
100. Wilks, Bristol (65)

This year saw a surge in interest in the York dining scene, whose rather staid dining culture has been transformed in recent times with the arrival of a slew of ambitious modern openings.

On York being the 'new foodie hotspot', Tommy Banks chef owner of Michelin-starred The Black Swan at Oldstead and newly opened Roots in York, said: "It's about time! The north can't be ignored anymore and I think guides and critics have realised they can't be London-centric."

tommy quote

He added: "It's a testament to all the people in York doing great things. I've only been here with Roots for a few months but I wanted to come here because it's up and coming and it's a city doing really interesting things. There has definitely been a big change in the food scene here over the last five years and it takes more than one independent to achieve that it takes six, seven,eight of them really pushing and then people start to take  notice. 

"That's how you become a destination city, great independents!"

Amongst the UK's main restaurant cities York entered the top-20 list in terms of its number of top-scoring destinations, ranking at 8th=: on a par with more established foodie destinations such as Bath; and ahead of big cities such as Leeds, Oxford and Newcastle. With Le Cochon Aveugle (at 91), it also has a representative amongst the Harden’s 100: the country’s culinary crême de la crême.

hardens chart  2

hardens chart 2

"I’ve always said York will be the hotspot in the UK!" Said Josh Overington chef owner of Le Cochon Aveugle. "The food scene here has grown quickly, as the city is accessible for younger chefs and business owners to make a name for themselves - especially when you consider the prices of London and other cities. Combined with that you also have the lots of visitors coming here - it’s perfect for a weekend break from pretty much anywhere. Plus, locals and visitors alike are now starting to realise that the independent scene is far more versatile, higher quality and exciting than anything on the high street.

"This means smaller independent restaurants gain the support and recognition they deserve and help to make restaurants like mine thrive. This drives the industry in the area forward and helps York to gain this title and is only a matter of time before more guides recognise York and Yorkshire as the UK’s foodie hotspot!" 

Neil Bentinck is the chef owner of Skosh, agrees saying: "There seems to be a resurgence of creative people wanting to do their own thing here, a lot of chains keep shutting down and if you went back ten years it would probably be the opposite. People want more individual and creative experiences when it comes to food and that is what you get with great independent restaurants."

This is the second year the Harden’s 100 list of top restaurants has been published independently from The Sunday Times, who made the Harden's ranking the basis of their annual Food List supplement for 6 years from 2010 to 2015.

Harden's editor and co-founder Peter Harden said: “During Harden’s 28 years of reviewing, York has hitherto been one of those charming British cities with inspiring medieval architecture, but, by contrast, a middle-of-the-road selection of pubs, tea-shops and bistros. But in the last year or two, the city has shot to prominence as a foodie-magnet, with an assortment of Shoreditch-worthy arrivals in recent times such as Arras, Le Cochon Aveugle, Skosh and the yet-to-be-rated Roots.”

Chef  Adam Humphrey who owns Arras said: "York has always been a diverse city. Until recent years the food scene was limited to a few good places and the ubiquitous tea shop.

"There has been an influx of very talented hospitality people who have seen the potential that York offers as a place to open a venue and thrive. York people are very welcoming and loyal and that's a really good place to start when you open a restaurant, they are also open to new things so whatever concept you put forward they will give it a go, and if your product is right, they’ll keep coming back.

He added: "As operators we love that York is being recognised more broadly by guides as a place not only to visit for the History but also for the restaurants.  I think it will continue to evolve as more and more people realise the potential, the key for York from a restaurant perspective, is for it to happen under it’s own steam."

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th December 2018

York is the UK’s new foodie hotspot according to Harden's top 100 and the city's top chefs agree!