Scotland has a rich culinary heritage and a diverse range of cuisines, from traditional dishes like haggis and neeps to modern fusion creations. Some of the best Scottish restaurants have been recognised in the latest edition of the Harden’s Best UK Restaurants guide, which ranks the top 100 eateries in the country based on customer reviews.
The Scottish contenders
The Harden’s guide, which is now in its 30th year, is based on a survey of over 10,000 diners who contributed more than 50,000 reviews. The guide covers over 3,000 restaurants across the UK, and the top 100 list is a coveted honour for any establishment.
Among the Scottish restaurants that made it to the top 100 list are:
- The Kitchin, Edinburgh: Ranked at number 12, this Michelin-starred restaurant is run by chef Tom Kitchin and his wife Michaela. The Kitchin offers a seasonal menu that showcases the best of Scottish produce, with dishes such as roast grouse, lobster thermidor and venison wellington. The restaurant also has a stylish dining room and a private chef’s table.
- The Peat Inn, Fife: Ranked at number 28, this restaurant with rooms is located in a picturesque village near St Andrews. The Peat Inn is owned by chef Geoffrey Smeddle and his wife Katherine, who have transformed the former coaching inn into a cosy and elegant destination. The restaurant has a Michelin star and serves modern Scottish cuisine with a French twist, such as scallops with black pudding, lamb with mint sauce and chocolate soufflé.
- The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye: Ranked at number 36, this restaurant is set in a former crofter’s cottage on the shores of Loch Dunvegan. The Three Chimneys is run by chef Scott Davies and his wife Laura, who have maintained the restaurant’s reputation for excellence since taking over in 2015. The restaurant has a Michelin star and a three AA rosette award, and specialises in local seafood, game and produce, such as langoustines, venison, lamb and cheese.
- Number One, Edinburgh: Ranked at number 51, this restaurant is located in the Balmoral Hotel, one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. Number One is led by executive chef Mark Donald, who has created a contemporary menu that celebrates Scottish ingredients and flavours, such as smoked salmon, beef tartare, halibut and rhubarb. The restaurant has a Michelin star and a four AA rosette award, and boasts a luxurious and intimate atmosphere.
- The Cellar, Fife: Ranked at number 59, this restaurant is situated in the basement of a 17th century house in the historic town of Anstruther. The Cellar is owned by chef Billy Boyter, who has revived the restaurant’s legacy as a fine dining destination. The Cellar has a Michelin star and a four AA rosette award, and offers a tasting menu that features dishes such as crab, duck, turbot and raspberry.
The top 10 restaurants in the UK
The Harden’s guide also revealed the top 10 restaurants in the UK, based on the highest average ratings from the diners. The top 10 list is dominated by London restaurants, with only one exception from outside the capital. The top 10 restaurants are:
- The Ledbury, London: This two Michelin-starred restaurant in Notting Hill is the winner of the Harden’s guide for the fifth time. The Ledbury is run by chef Brett Graham, who creates innovative and refined dishes that showcase British and European ingredients, such as deer, quail, scallop and truffle.
- The Five Fields, London: This one Michelin-starred restaurant in Chelsea is the runner-up of the Harden’s guide for the second year in a row. The Five Fields is run by chef Taylor Bonnyman, who offers a seasonal and creative menu that draws inspiration from British and French cuisines, such as rabbit, lamb, lobster and pear.
- The Sportsman, Kent: This one Michelin-starred restaurant in Seasalter is the only non-London restaurant in the top 10 list, and the highest ranked restaurant outside the capital. The Sportsman is run by chef Stephen Harris, who serves simple and rustic dishes that celebrate the local terroir, such as oysters, pork, cod and apple.
- Core by Clare Smyth, London: This two Michelin-starred restaurant in Notting Hill is the highest ranked new entry in the top 10 list, and the only restaurant in the UK to have a female chef at the helm. Core by Clare Smyth is run by chef Clare Smyth, who was the first and only female chef to run a three Michelin-starred restaurant in the UK. Core by Clare Smyth offers a modern and elegant menu that focuses on British ingredients and sustainability, such as potato, turbot, lamb and chocolate.
- The Fat Duck, Berkshire: This three Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray is one of the most famous and influential restaurants in the world. The Fat Duck is run by chef Heston Blumenthal, who is known for his experimental and theatrical approach to cooking. The Fat Duck offers a multi-sensory tasting menu that takes the diners on a journey through memory and imagination, with dishes such as snail porridge, mock turtle soup and whisky wine gums.
- The Clove Club, London: This one Michelin-starred restaurant in Shoreditch is one of the most acclaimed and popular restaurants in the city. The Clove Club is run by chef Isaac McHale, who serves a contemporary and inventive menu that showcases British and international flavours, such as chicken, langoustine, beef and pineapple.
- Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London: This three Michelin-starred restaurant in Chelsea is the flagship restaurant of the celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is run by chef Matt Abé, who continues the restaurant’s tradition of excellence and sophistication. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay offers a classic and refined menu that features dishes such as foie gras, lobster, pigeon and soufflé.
- Casamia, Bristol: This one Michelin-starred restaurant in Bristol is the highest ranked restaurant in the South West region. Casamia is run by chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, who has transformed the restaurant from a family-run Italian trattoria into a modern and innovative dining destination. Casamia offers a seasonal and interactive menu that changes every month, with dishes such as crab, duck, turbot and cherry.
- L’Enclume, Cumbria: This two Michelin-starred restaurant in Cartmel is the highest ranked restaurant in the North West region. L’Enclume is run by chef Simon Rogan, who is renowned for his farm-to-table philosophy and his use of local and organic ingredients. L’Enclume offers a tasting menu that features dishes such as scallop, lamb, beetroot and blackberry.
- Chez Bruce, London: This one Michelin-starred restaurant in Wandsworth is one of the most consistent and reliable restaurants in the city. Chez Bruce is run by chef Bruce Poole, who serves a menu that combines classic French and Mediterranean cuisines, with dishes such as foie gras, risotto, venison and tarte tatin.