Earlier this week, the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards were announced. The highly regarded hospitality event is Restaurant by BigHospitality’s annual countdown of the top 100 restaurants in the UK. It’s decided by over 200 industry experts who voted for their best restaurant experiences over the past 18 months across the British Isles. The academy of voters is made up of chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and critics and other food experts and gastronomes. They don’t just consider the food, but also the staff, atmosphere, music, design and price.

Ynyshir in Machynlleth, Wales, was once again named the best restaurant in the UK, with Moor Hall in Aughton, Lancashire coming second and scooping the award for best restaurant in England.

Relative newcomer to the Manchester restaurant scene, Higher Ground, a neo-bistro with a focus on seasonal dishes using locally sourced ingredients, made an incredible debut entrance onto the National Restaurant Awards T100 list.

higher_ground_chef Joseph Ottway

Entering the list at number 51, the restaurant and team have been recognised for their affordable and delicious take on hyperlocal, seasonal sourcing, including produce from Cinderwood, their partner farm in Nantwich. Higher Ground, which only opened in February 2023 at Faulkner House on New York St, is the second restaurant from chef Joseph Otway (pictured above), with Richard Cossins and Daniel Craig Martin. The team are also behind neighbourhood wine bar and bottleshop Flawd located at Islington Marina.

Higher Ground also offer an interesting selection of small scale, low intervention wines with an easy-going mix of countertop and table dining. They are becoming well-known for their seasonally evolving daily pasta dishes; hand rolled in the open kitchen every service. They also offer a great-value Chef’s Choice menu where the decision is in the hands of Joseph Ottway and his team, for just £35 at lunch and £45 at dinner. Check out a sample menu here.

higher_ground_Richard Crossins

Perhaps surprisingly to some, Higher Ground positioned higher than Manchester’s only other inclusion in the list of UK top 100 restaurants. Michelin starred Mana came in at number 71 with the Awards noting that “Simon Martin’s high-reaching restaurant won Manchester its first Michelin star in 42 years, and with good reason.”

The Parkers Arms, a friendly independently run pub in the Ribble Valley, only 41 miles from Manchester, was named Gastropub of the Year.

Click HERE to see the full list of The Top 100 National Restaurant Awards 2023


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