There were some notable absences in this year's list

Restaurant magazine certainly loves a list. After publishing their compilation of the 'World’s 50 Best Restaurants', the hospitality publication announced their 'Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards' last night in a celebration held at London’s Hurlingham Club.

Now in their tenth year, The National Restaurant Awards - voted for by over 150 judges made up of industry experts including chefs, restaurateurs and food writers - is a shindig recognised as being the largest annual gathering of chefs and restaurateurs in the UK.

“Literally the whole of the restaurant world is here at the Restaurant magazine National Restaurant Awards, including a surprisingly large Northern contingent”, tweeted Thom Hetherington, who organises Manchester’s Northern Restaurant and Bar Show (NRB).

His diplomatic observation regarding northerners appears justified, considering over 50% of the restaurants to have made this year’s UK-wide list are based in London, with a proportionately reasonable eight hailing from the North West.

Hispi Smaller 65874F
Hispi in Didsbury placed 54th

The Sportsman, a seaside pub in Seasalter, Kent was named the best restaurant in the UK for the second year running, while the two-Michelin-star Ledbury, in Notting Hill, came second.

The highest ranking North West establishment was Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, which ranked seventeenth despite being the proud holder of two Michelin stars, five AA Rosettes and the title of The Good Food Guide’s top restaurant for the fourth consecutive year with a maximum score of 10/10.

Thanks to their extended judging panel, Restaurant's awards tend to champion many more affordable, popular, independent restaurants than the more formal guides, which explains why two restaurants belonging to chef restaurateur Gary Usher made the esteemed list; Sticky Walnut in Hoole near Chester at 47, followed closely by Hispi in Didsbury at 54.

Meanwhile, Manchester city centre-based Spanish restaurant El Gato Negro increased their recent awards haul by being included in the list at number 78 (up from 81 last year.)

El Gato Negro Manchester 56
El Gato Negro is up three places to 78
Aiden Byrne Chef Manchester House
Aiden Byrne's Manchester House was noticeably absent

There was no mention on this year’s list, however, for The French at the Midland, which was taken over by Great British Menu winner Adam Reid in January after Simon Rogan left prematurely. This despite appearing in last year’s list at number 79.

Aiden Byrne’s Manchester House was also noticeably absent despite it reaching a very respectable 50th in 2016.

Michael O’Hare’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Man Behind The Curtain, in Leeds made it to position 27, but there was no place for his new Manchester project, the space-age Asian restaurant Rabbit In The Moon at the top of the National Football Museum.

No entry either for Stockport’s Where The Light Gets In, which recently came to national attention following a 10/10 review in The Guardian. Though chef Samuel Buckley was recognised as 'one to watch' at the awards.

Newcomer Moor Hall in Aughton, Lancashire, run by chef patron Mark Birchill, who was Rogan’s head chef at L’Enclume for over a decade, made the list at number 70 (we reckon this deserves a much higher position, though it only opened in March).

Other North West restaurants on the list include Lake Road Kitchen in Ambleside (50), the Freemasons at Wiswell (77) and Forest Side in Grasmere (97).

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Chef Sam Buckley of WTLGI was recognised as 'one to watch'

The full Top 100, with last year’s rankings in brackets where applicable:

1.       The Sportsman, Seasalter (1)

2.       The Ledbury, London (3)

3.       A Wong, London (19)

4.       Som Saa, London

5.       Barrafina Adelaide Street, London (2)

6.       Casamia, Bristol (12)

7.       The Clove Club, London (6)

8.       Elystan Street, London

9.       Kiln, London

10.   Hedone, London (4)

11.   The River Café, London (10)

12.   Lyle’s, London (9)

13.   Hoppers, London (17)

14.   The Palomar, London (42)

15.   The Fat Duck, Bray (68)

16.   Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (14)

17.   L’Enclume, Cartmel (8)

18.   Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick

19.   The Dairy, London (13)

20.   The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny (11)

21.   The Waterside Inn, Bray (23)

22.   Gymkhana, London (45)

23.   Claude Bosi at Bibendum, London

24.   The Elephant, Torquay (32)

25.   The Raby Hunt, Darlington

26.   Midsummer House, Cambridge (43)

27.   Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac (5)

28.   Brawn, London (53)

29.   Bulrush, Bristol

30.   64 Degrees, Brighton (16)

31.   Primeur, London (73)

32.   The Coach, Marlow (59)

33.   108 Garage, London

34.   Temper, London

35.   Chez Bruce, London (71)

36.   Noble Rot Restaurant & Wine Bar, London (21)

37.   Frenchie, London (20)

38.   Le Gavroche, London (18)

39.   Padella, London

40.   Clipstone, London

41.   The Hand & Flowers, Bray (33)

42.   40 Maltby Street, London (30)

43.   The Quality Chop House, London (25)

44.   The Little Fish Market, Hove

45.   The Man Behind the Curtain, Leeds (27)

46.   Trinity, London

47.   Sticky Walnut, Chester (74)

Chef Gary Usher (right) and co. outside Sticky Walnut
Chef Gary Usher (right) and co. outside Sticky Walnut

48.   Bocca di Lupo, London (62)

49.   The Smoking Goat, London (55)

50.   Lake Road Kitchen, Ambleside (15)

51.   The Crown, Burchetts Green

52.   Adams, Birmingham

53.   Gidleigh Park, Chagford

54.   Hispi, Manchester

55.   Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton (39)

56.   Jikoni, London

57.   P Franco, London

58.   The Black Swan at Oldstead

59.   Typing Room, London

60.   Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (34)

61.   Margot, London

62.   Timberyard, Edinburgh

63.   Black Axe Mangal, London (24)

64.   Blacklock Soho, London

65.   El Pastor, London

66.   Holborn Dining Room, London

67.   Pollen Street Social, London (46)

68.   StreetXO, London

69.   Bao Soho, London (44)

70.   Moor Hall, Ormskirk

Moor Hall, Aughton
Moor Hall, Aughton

71.   Paul Ainsworth at Number 6, Padstow (51)

72.   Quo Vadis, London

73.   The Marksman, London

74.   The Pony & Trap, Bristol

75.   Rochelle Canteen, London

76.   The Seahorse, Dartmouth (47)

77.   Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe

78.   El Gato Negro, Manchester (81)

79.   Hawksmoor Air Street, London

80.   Kricket, London

81.   Sosharu, London

82.   The Star Inn, Harome

83.   The Hardwick, Abergavenny (40)

84.   Wine & Brine, Moira

85.   Box-E, Bristol

86.   Morito, London

87.   Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Gleneagles (22)

88.   Norn, Edinburgh

89.   Ondine, Edinburgh (60)

90.   Portland, London (41)

91.   Lorne, London

92.   Murano, London

93.   The Beehive, White Waltham

94.   The Kitchin, Edinburgh (75)

95.   St John Bread and Wine, London

96.   Simpsons, Birmingham (56)

97.   Forest Side, Grasmere

98.   Pizarro, London

99.   The Pig, Brockenhurst

100.  Gunpowder, London