A brand new guide by the AA has named the best restaurants in the British Isles.
The Restaurant Guide 2022 delves into each of the restaurants that have been awarded prestigious rosettes by AA inspectors. It’s essential reading for gourmands, and it’s long-awaited – for the first time in 50 years, the AA released no guide in 2020.
The 28th edition of the guide showcases 1,700 eateries, including 100 new entries, each handpicked for their ‘culinary excellence’. Here are a few of the mouthwatering restaurants that made the cut…
Hambleton Hall, Oakham, Rutland
Aaron Patterson has been the head chef at four-rosette Hambleton Hall, pictured above, since 1992
This ‘handsome country house hotel… enjoys an enviable lakeside setting, with gardens and grounds covering 17 acres surrounded by Rutland Water’.
Aaron Patterson has been the head chef at the four-rosette establishment since 1992, curating dishes with a ‘focus on the very best local produce’.
‘Patterson’s cooking is often understated and deceptively simple, with flavours allowed to speak for themselves,’ the guide says, with the likes of ‘terrine of heritage carrot’ or ‘lasagne of girolle mushrooms with Iberico ham and grappa sauce’ making an appearance on the menu. The ‘extensive’ wine list, meanwhile, offers ‘a very good choice by the glass’.
Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias, Colwyn Bay, Wales
The AA says diners can expect to enjoy ‘sharp, modern British bistro ideas’ at Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias
Welsh chef Bryn Williams’ eponymous restaurant, Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias, has two rosettes and offers ‘sweeping views of Colwyn Bay’.
Inside, ‘exposed steelwork, pendant lights and industrial-chic create the feeling of a hip, big-city eatery’.
The AA says: ‘Bryn Williams made his name alongside celebrated chefs and has been chef-patron of Odette’s in London’s Primrose Hill since 2008, so you can expect sharp, modern British bistro ideas.’
Paul Ainsworth at No 6, Padstow, Cornwall
Paul Ainsworth at No 6, which is set inside a Georgian townhouse in Padstow, boasts four rosettes
Four-rosette restaurant Paul Ainsworth at No 6, which opened its doors in 2005, is housed in a Georgian townhouse in Padstow, with ‘the period charm of the spaces intact and bold artworks peppering the walls’.
According to the AA, Ainsworth’s cooking, which is interpreted at the restaurant by chef Chris McClurg, ‘has always tended towards the creatively sharp end of the modern British spectrum, with technical pizzazz galore and eye-catching presentation’.
What can diners expect from the menu? The AA reveals: ‘Prime materials of the finest and freshest to be found in Cornwall’s seasonal larder are helped along by global goodies in dishes that deliver muscular layers of flavour and texture.’
Wreckfish, pictured, has wooden floors and tables, and ‘exposed brickwork gives it a stripped-back industrial feel’
Wreckfish is run by chef Gary Usher, who used crowdfunding to get the new restaurant off the ground, the AA explains.
The restaurant, which has one rosette, occupies a ‘former derelict Georgian building in the cool Ropewalks district’ and has wooden floors and tables and exposed brickwork that gives it ‘a stripped-back industrial feel’.
The guide says: ‘Staff know their stuff and make sound recommendations about dishes such as torched sea bream, braised featherblade and pork osso buco.’
Clos Maggiore, London, WC2
According to the AA, ‘the setting may be soft focus, but there’s nothing whimsical about the cooking’ at Clos Maggiore (pictured)
‘If you’re looking for a romantic spot, then it’s hard to beat Clos Maggiore.’ So declares the AA of the three-rosette eatery, which has ‘dried foliage adorning the walls and the ceilings’ and ‘plush and upmarket’ decor.
As for the food, the AA says ‘the setting may be soft focus, but there’s nothing whimsical about the cooking’.
The guide explains: ‘Chef Roxanne Lange serves French dishes inspired by Provencal and Italian cuisine, achieving big, clear flavours from high-quality British ingredients.’
Acleaf, Plymouth, Devon
Acleaf, pictured above, is housed in the ‘fabulously historic Tudor mansion’ of Boringdon Hall
Acleaf, which has three rosettes, is located in the ‘fabulously historic Tudor mansion’ of Boringdon Hall – a ‘splendidly luxurious setting for inventively stylish British cooking’.
‘It really does offer a tangible sense of the past, with age-darkened beams and a plethora of period features,’ the AA says.
According to the guide, head chef Scott Paton creates ‘seasonally led menus’ that ‘showcase his stylishly inventive British cuisine’, featuring dishes like ‘precisely cut duck terrine with quince’ or a plate of turbot and mussels with ‘bags of flavour’.
Hrishi at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Windermere, Cumbria
Patrons can look forward to ‘the very best in contemporary British cuisine’ at Hrishi, according to the AA. Pictured is one of the restaurant’s ‘cutting edge’ dishes
The head chef at the four-rosette Hrishi at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House is Hrishikesh Desai, and the AA is incredibly impressed with his work. The guide says that the restaurant offers ‘the very best in contemporary British cuisine, subtly influenced by Desai’s Asian heritage’.
‘There’s a real sense that this is exciting, cutting-edge cooking,’ it adds.
According to the AA, the Gilpin Hotel & Lake House is a ‘fabulously chic and luxurious bolthole’ located in ’21 acres of woodland gardens’ with an ‘air of sophisticated tranquillity’.
Northcote Restaurant, Langho, Lancashire
A dish served at Northcote Restaurant, where chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen reinterprets classic dishes with a ‘definite Lancashire accent’
RESTAURANTS AWARDED FIVE AA ROSETTES
The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire
Here expect a ‘four-hour marathon of idiosyncratic and inventive eating – a bucket list experience’. The ice cream is crab flavoured and rocket-shaped ice lollies taste of Waldorf salad, reveals the AA guide. ‘Theatrical ingenuity.’
Casamia Restaurant, Bristol
This eatery delivers ‘driven-by-the-seasons tasting menus’ that are ‘flawlessly executed’.
Midsummer House Restaurant, Cambridge
Highlights here include ‘slowly cooked Loch Duart salmon, white chocolate and caviar sauce and finger lime; grass-fed Yorkshire beef, pickled anchovy and beurre rouge, and strawberries with ewe’s yoghurt and garden lovage’.
L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria
Dishes here include ‘fritter of Duroc pig and smoked eel, Jersey Royal potatoes in onion ashes with pickled walnut, and Cornish Texel Cross lamb loin with white Lisbon onions’.
Lympstone Manor Hotel, Exmouth, Devon
The cooking here ‘delivers a seamless blend of classical technique and precision with contemporary riffs on flavour and texture’.
Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms, Ormskirk, Lancashire
The chefs here rustle up the likes of ‘baked carrots with Doddington cheese, chrysanthemum and sea buckthorn, and Cornish sea bass with mussel, courgette and sea greens’.
Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms, Nottingham
A visit to Sat Bains will see your taste buds delight in the likes of a samphire, bonito and seaweed fritter; balsamic ice cream on a sourdough cracker, and venison from deer culled at nearby Wollaton Hall with beets and truffle.
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton, Oxfordshire
Le Manoir offers five, six and seven-course tasting menus, with vegetarian and vegan options – and a children’s menu too.
Restaurant Story, SE1
The AA guide says that here the menu descriptions ‘reveal little of the highly worked detail in every dish’. It says: ‘For a main you might expect a plump roasted langoustine keeping company with a rich bisque and burnt apple puree, while the principal meat dish matches tender pigeon with ratte potato puree, rainbow chard and a punchy pigeon sauce with walnuts.’
Here the delights include ‘skate roasted on the bone with chicken butter and sea vegetable, and smoked pork cheek with piccalilli, and bacon broth’.
Claude Bosi at Bibendum, SW3
Here, ‘most meals begin with a “Bibendum egg” – a white eggshell in a beautiful silver eggcup, filled perhaps with artichoke puree topped with creamy coconut foam and a dusting of vanilla powder’. Other dishes include ‘Orkney scallops with brown butter dashi and lemon caviar and Cornish turbot a la Grenobloise’.
Helene Darroze at The Connaught, W1
The guide says of the offerings here: ‘Menus reveal the source of each dish’s main element, and are always top quality. Unlike some places, vegetarians are no mere afterthought.’
Pollen Street Social, W1
Here ‘every dish is unfailingly precise’, with menu items including ‘Padstow lobster served with Scottish girolles’ and ‘Japanese citrus parfait, basil and yoghurt sorbet with finger lime’.
Here the chocolate souffle takes 25 minutes to prepare, but this ‘will give you some time to recover from the intensity of your dinner’, which might include ‘salt-chamber-aged Creedy duck marinated with coffee beans’.
Core by Clare Smyth, W11
At Core you can feast on ‘morel and asparagus tart with wild garlic and vin jaune, and lamb hogget and mutton with celtuce, savoury and black cardamom’.
The Kitchin, Edinburgh
The AA guide here tried ‘sea-fresh Scrabster monkfish wrapped in salty pancetta’ and ‘blueberry crumble souffle served with yoghurt ice cream’.
Ynyshir, Eglwys Fach, Ceredigion
Dinner here lasts around four hours so it’s a good idea, says the guide, to book an overnight room, too.
There are six small tables served by the chefs themselves.
Northcote Restaurant is a ‘long-established Northern gem’ in a Victorian manor in the Ribble Valley, with ‘fabulous views of the Forest of Bowland from the terrace’.
With chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen at the helm, the four-rosette restaurant is ‘justly famous as one of the best places to eat in the North’, the AA reveals.
The guide says Goodwin-Allen ‘oversees a kitchen that takes its inspiration from the best of local ingredients, including some from Northcote’s own kitchen garden’. It adds that her ‘years of experience and technical know-how are clear to see in technical interpretations of classic dishes with a definite Lancashire accent’.
The Cherwell Boathouse, Oxford
Waterside tables at The Cherwell Boathouse – pictured above – are at a premium on fine days
WHAT THE AA ROSETTES MEAN…
The AA’s restaurant guide is now in its 28th edition
One Rosette – These restaurants will be achieving standards that stand out in their local area featuring food prepared with care and good quality ingredients.
Two Rosettes – The best local restaurants, which aim for and achieve higher standards, better consistency, greater precision in cooking and obvious attention to the selection of quality ingredients.
Three Rosettes – These are outstanding restaurants that achieve standards that demand national recognition well beyond their local area.
The cooking will be underpinned by the selection of the highest quality ingredients, the timing, seasoning and judgement of the flavour combinations. This will be supported by intuitive service and a well-chosen wine list.
Four Rosettes – Among the top restaurants in the UK where the cooking demands national recognition. These restaurants will have intense ambition, a passion for excellence, superb technical skills and remarkable consistency.
Five Rosettes – The pinnacle, where the cooking compares with the best in the world.
These restaurants will have highly individual voices, exhibit breathtaking culinary skills and set the standards to which others aspire, yet few achieve.
The Cherwell Boathouse in Oxford is a Victorian boathouse restaurant with one rosette, which the AA describes as ‘one of the city’s cherished institutions’.
Patrons will see ‘swans and punts paddling by on the River Cherwell’ as they dine, though ‘waterside tables are at a premium on fine days’.
The guide says: ‘Inside, the ambience is cosy and humming with the chatter of happy diners tucking in to a menu of inventive, modern British ideas.’
Galgorm, Ballymena, County Antrim
‘Flavours are clear and carefully considered and dishes are precisely constructed’ at Galgorm, the AA guide reveals
The River Room Restaurant is the fine-dining restaurant in the ‘luxurious’ Galgorm country resort, which boasts three rosettes and ‘overlooks a stretch of the River Maine’.
According to the AA, the restaurant’s ‘flavours are clear and carefully considered and dishes are precisely constructed with all the attention to detail one expects at this level’.
The guide recommends starting with the ‘excellent homemade bread’, followed by ’35-day aged beef with lardo, mushroom and black truffle’, and rounding things off with a caramelised pineapple dessert – and ‘excellent Irish artisan cheeses, should you be so inclined’.
Midsummer House Restaurant, Cambridge
The AA is full of praise for Midsummer House Restaurant, pictured, describing it as a ‘world-class dining restaurant’
With an impressive five rosettes to its name, it’s no surprise the AA describes Midsummer House Restaurant, which is set in a Victorian villa on the banks of the River Cam, as a ‘world-class dining restaurant’.
The kitchen and dining area are divided by a window, the AA reveals, through which patrons can watch chefs Daniel Clifford and Mark Abbott create ‘elegant, precise and inventive modern British dishes’.
The guide notes: ‘The concise menu descriptions are at odds with the intricacy of the food – each carefully sourced ingredient is treated with respect and is on the plate for a reason.’
L’Escargot Bleu, Edinburgh
The snails at ‘L’Escargot Bleu, pictured, ‘come from Barra in the Outer Hebrides, and there’s a Scottish flavour’
‘L’Escargot Bleu is indeed blue – on the outside at least, and snails are present and correct among les entrees,’ the AA says of the French-Scottish restaurant, which has one rosette.
According to the guide, the menu is bilingual, and offers a range of ‘classic bistro dishes’.
Despite the French influence, the AA reveals that the snails on the menu ‘come from Barra in the Outer Hebrides, and there’s a Scottish flavour’.
House of Tides, Newcastle
Newcastle’s House of Tides, pictured above, is run by ‘local culinary hero’ Kenny Atkinson
‘Local culinary hero’ Kenny Atkinson is in charge of Newcastle’s House of Tides, a Grade-1 listed 16th-century townhouse ‘in the shadow of the iconic Tyne Bridge’ that has earned four rosettes.
According to the AA, guests sip on cocktails in the downstairs bar before heading to the ‘refined beamed dining room’ for the ‘main event’ – Atkinson’s tasting menu, which brings ‘top-flight modern cooking to Newcastle’s bustling quayside’.
The guide reveals: ‘Although produce from the North East is the cornerstone of the modern British menus, the kitchen isn’t afraid to look globally for inspiration, as in a fragrant canape of tomato and cumin gougere. Everything that appears from the kitchen is top-drawer.’
Ghan House Carlingford, County Louth, Republic of Ireland
The cuisine at Ghan House, pictured, ‘has a French base, but offers plenty of interesting combinations’, according to the AA
Ghan House is ‘set on the shores of Carlingford Lough, just before it reaches the sea’ – and the restaurant makes good use of seafood from the lough, according to the AA.
The guide reveals that the two-rosette eatery, which is based in a Georgian townhouse with a walled garden and a pond, has ‘a high ceiling, gilded plasterwork and a baby grand piano’.
‘Cuisine has a French base, but offers plenty of interesting combinations,’ the AA adds.
Guests can arrive at Riverstation by boat, according to the AA. The one-rosette restaurant is set on the River Avon
‘Being on the River Avon as it flows through the city’s docks, the views from Riverstation’s terrace and balcony are outstanding,’ says the AA.
Guests can even arrive at the one-rosette restaurant by boat, according to the AA, which instructs: ‘Just ask your ferryman to dock at the restaurant’s own pontoon.’
Riverstation’s ‘seasonally changing menu’ is filled with ‘fresh and inspiring modern British and European dishes’, while patrons in the downstairs bar can indulge in ‘brunches, English classics and small plates’.
WINNERS OF FOUR AND THREE AA ROSETTES
WINNERS OF FOUR AA ROSETTES
Restaurant Coworth Park, Ascot
The Hand & Flowers, Marlow
CORNWALL & ISLES OF SCILLY
Paul Ainsworth at No. 6, Padstow
Outlaw’s New Road, Port Isaac
Forest Side, Grasmere
Hrishi at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Windermere
Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham
Adam Reid at The French, Manchester
Hipping Hall, Cowan Bridge
Northcote Restaurant, Langho
Winteringham Fields, Winteringham
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, SW1
Seven Park Place by William Drabble, SW1
The Five Fields, SW3
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, SW3
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, W1
The Ritz Restaurant, W1
Morston Hall, Blakeney
Hambleton Hall, Oakham
Tuddenham Mill, Newmarket
Steve Smith at Latymer, Bagshot
Gravetye Manor Hotel, West Hoathly
TYNE & WEAR
House of Tides, Newcastle upon Tyne
Hampton Manor, Solihull
The Dining Room, Malmesbury
The Angel at Hetton, Hetton
The Black Swan at Oldstead,
The Man Behind The Curtain, Leeds
Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel, St Brelade
Tassili, St Helier
Number One, The Balmoral, Edinburgh
Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh
PERTH & KINROSS
Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Auchterarder
ISLE OF ANGLESEY
Sosban & The Old Butcher’s Restaurant, Menai Bridge
The Whitebrook, Whitebrook
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin
The Lady Helen Restaurant, Thomastown
WINNERS OF THREE ROSETTES
Paris House Restaurant, Woburn
The Hind’s Head, Bray
The Waterside Inn, Bray
The Crown, Burchett’s Green
The Vineyard, Newbury
The Woodspeen – Restaurant and Cookery School, Newbury
The Artichoke, Amersham
The Coach, Marlow
Humphry’s at Stoke Park, Stoke Poges
The Cliveden Dining Room, Taplow
CORNWALL & ISLES OF SCILLY
Hell Bay Hotel, Bryher
Merchants Manor, Falmouth
The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow
Kota Restaurant with Rooms, Porthleven
Hotel Tresanton, St Mawes
Lake Road Kitchen, Ambleside
The Old Stamp House Restaurant, Ambleside
Rothay Manor Hotel, Ambleside
Allium at Askham Hall, Askham
The Cottage in the Wood, Braithwaite
Rogan & Co Restaurant, Cartmel
Pentonbridge Inn, Penton
The Samling, Windermere
Cavendish Hotel, Baslow
Fischer’s Baslow Hall, Baslow
The Peacock at Rowsley, Rowsley
Gidleigh Park, Chagford
Paschoe House, Crediton
The Old Inn, Drewsteignton
Great Western, Moretonhampstead
The Elephant Restaurant by Simon Hulstone, Torquay
The Ollerod, Beaminster
Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant & Spa, Evershot
The Orangery, Darlington
Le Talbooth, Dedham
Haywards Restaurant, Epping
Buckland Manor, Buckland
The Greenway Hotel & Spa, Cheltenham
The Slaughters Manor House, Lower Slaughter
The Feathered Nest Inn, Nether Westcote
Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter
Where the Light Gets In, Stockport
The Terrace Restaurant at The Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu
36 On The Quay, Emsworth
The Elderflower Restaurant, Lymington
Hartnett Holder & Co, Lyndhurst
THOMPSON St Albans, St Albans
The West House Restaurant with Rooms, Biddenden
ABode Canterbury, Canterbury
Fordwich Arms, Canterbury
Hide and Fox, Hythe
Thackeray’s, Royal Tunbridge Wells
The Barn at Moor Hall, Ormskirk
The Freemasons at Wiswell, Whalley
John’s House, Mountsorrel
Galvin La Chapelle, E1
Cornerstone by Chef Tom Brown, E9
The Clove Club, EC1
Club Gascon, EC1
City Social, EC2
The Princess of Shoreditch, EC2
La Dame de Pic London, EC3
Peninsula Restaurant, SE10
A. Wong, SW1
Céleste at The Lanesborough, SW1
Chutney Mary, SW1
The Goring, SW1
Pétrus, by Gordon Ramsay SW1
Wild Honey, SW1
Elystan Street, SW3
Trinity Restaurant, SW4
Medlar Restaurant, SW10
Winners of three rosettes continued…
Myrtle Restaurant, SW10
Chez Bruce, SW17
Les 110 de Taillevent, W1
The Betterment by Jason Atherton, W1
Corrigan’s Mayfair, W1
Cut at 45 Park Lane, W1
Davies and Brook, W1
Galvin at Windows Restaurant & Bar, W1
Gauthier Soho, W1
Le Gavroche Restaurant, W1
The Grill at The Dorchester, W1
Hakkasan Mayfair, W1
Hide Above, W1
Kitchen Table, W1
KOL Restaurant, W1
Locanda Locatelli, W1
The Ninth, W1
No. 5 Social, W1
Pied à Terre, W1
Roka Charlotte Street, W1
Roka Mayfair, W1
Sketch (The Gallery), W1
Social Eating House, W1
The River Café, W6
Kitchen W8, W8
Launceston Place, W8
Clos Maggiore, WC2
Frenchie Covent Garden, WC2
Frog by Adam Handling, WC2
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, WC2
The Northall, WC2
Chapter One Restaurant, Bromley
The Glasshouse, Kew
The Dysart Petersham, Richmond Upon Thames
The Neptune Restaurant with Rooms, Hunstanton
Roger Hickman’s Restaurant, Norwich
Titchwell Manor Hotel, Titchwell
Tresham Restaurant, Kettering
Shaun Dickens at The Boathouse, Henley-on-Thames
The Wild Rabbit, Kingham
Minster Mill, Minster Lovell
Two One Five, Oxford
Fishmore Hall, Ludlow
Old Downton Lodge, Ludlow
The Haughmond, Upton Magna
The Bath Priory Hotel, Restaurant & Spa, Bath
The Dower House Restaurant, Bath
The Olive Tree at the Queensberry Hotel, Bath
The Boat Inn, Lichfield
The Bildeston Crown, Bildeston
Tony Parkin at The Tudor Room, Egham
Langshott Manor, Horley
The Clock House, Ripley
Etch by Steven Edwards, Brighton
The Little Fish Market, Brighton
Amberley Castle, Amberley
Restaurant Tristan, Horsham
The Lickfold Inn, Lickfold
Restaurant Interlude, Lower Beeding
AG’S Restaurant at Alexander House Hotel, Turners Hill
The Cross at Kenilworth, Kenilworth
The Dining Room at Mallory Court Hotel, Royal Leamington Spa
Carters of Moseley, Birmingham
Bybrook at The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe
Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park, Colerne
Red Lion Freehouse, Pewsey
The Back Garden, Broadway
Country House Hotel, Chaddesley Corbett
Yorebridge House, Bainbridge
The Burlington Restaurant, Bolton Abbey
Goldsborough Hall, Goldsborough
Horto Restaurant, Harrogate
The Pheasant Hotel, Helmsley
Forge, Middleton Tyas
Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall, Ripon
The Hare, Scawton
The Bow Room Restaurant at Grays Court, York
Roots York Restaurant, York
Joro Restaurant, Sheffield
Box Tree, Ilkley
Longueville Manor Hotel, St Saviour
Douneside House, Tarland
ARGYLL & BUTE
Restaurant at Isle of Eriska, Eriska
Airds Hotel and Restaurant, Port Appin
Inver Restaurant, Strachur
Glenapp Castle, Ballantrae
DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY
Knockinaam Lodge, Portpatrick
The Pompadour, Edinburgh
The Cellar, Anstruther
The Peat Inn, Peat Inn
Road Hole Restaurant, St Andrews
Cail Bruich, Glasgow
The Gannet, Glasgow
Unalome by Graeme Cheevers, Glasgow
Edinbane Lodge, Edinbane
Michel Roux Jr at Inverlochy Castle, Fort William
The Cross, Kingussie
Kilcamb Lodge Hotel, Strontian
The Torridon 1887 Restaurant, Torridon
Crossbasket Castle, Blantyre
PERTH & KINROSS
Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa, Pitlochry
Loch Bay Restaurant, Stein
The Three Chimneys & The House Over-By, Colbost
Roman Camp Country House Hotel, Callander
Cromlix and Chez Roux, Dunblane
Bodysgallen Hall and Spa, Llandudno
Palé Hall Hotel & Restaurant, Bala
The Walnut Tree Inn, Abergavenny
The Fernery, Narberth
Llangoed Hall, Llyswen
Beach House Restaurant at Oxwich Beach, Oxwich
Deanes EIPIC, Belfast
Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The Dining Room at Gregans Castle, Ballyvaughan
Source: The AA Restaurant Guide 2022