It seems the country's best cooking isn't to be found in the capital …

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Via: Getty 

Forget the Michelin guide. 

 

Novel, exquisite food it may deal in. And yes, if it's a full-blown gastronomic experience you're after, then those places twinkling with a much-coveted Michelin star are worth shelling out the cash for. But for somewhere truly loved by the British public, it's best to seek your recommendations elsewhere. 

 

The Top 100 Restaurants list from The Sunday Times is a good place to start. Compiled by gathering 63,000 reviews from almost 7,000 diners, it's a pretty accurate portrait of the most delicious joints in the country – some decorated by the Michelin reviewers, some not. 

 

This year's showed that the capital is not necessarily​ the best place to go for quality bites. Topping the list for 2015-2016 are offerings from Nottingham, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Bristol: with the first London outlet making an appearance at number eight (for Brett Graham's The Ledbury).

 

Here's the hallowed upper circle of three:

 

1. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham

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Via: Sat Bains / squaremeal.co.uk

The edge of an industrial estate? Not the most likely place for a fine-dining extravaganza. But that's exactly where this much-lauded eatery sits, which is why it's a good job there are rooms, should you wish to sleep off your meal. 

 

Dishes here are exciting and daring – pork jowl with piccalilli and salted apple, or chocolate dessert with mandarin, olive oil and salt – and promise to revolutionise your dining experience.

 

Lenton Lane, Nottingham NG7 2SA restaurantsatbains.com

 

2. Midsummer House, Cambridge 

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Fine-dining tasting menus set on the idyllic bank of the River Cam. This is full-blown fancy: jowl of pork, with Iberico ham in a buttermilk reduction; butter-roasted Norfolk lobster with burnt orange … A trip to Nando's? Certainly not. But if a blow out celebration is in order, this is where you should be. 

 

Midsummer Common, Cambridge CB4 1HA midsummerhouse.co.uk

 

3. L' Enclume, Cartmel

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Renowned chef Simon Rogan's Lake District restaurant is a magical little retreat from a mad world. Perfectly olde-worlde in appearance, the food is, of course, a heavenly riot of local, seasonal produce, showcased to perfection. 

 

Cavendish St, Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands LA11 6PZ lenclume.co.uk

 

And here's the rest who made the list:

 

4.  Casamia, Bristol

 

5. Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh

 

6. Gidleigh Park, Chagford

 

7. Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Great Milton

 

8. Ledbury, London

 

9. Araki, London

 

10. Harry’s Place, Great Gonerby

 

11. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac


12. Andrew Fairlie, Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarde

13. One-O-One, Sheraton Park Tower, London

14. Story, London

15. Waterside Inn, Bray

16. Kitchen Table, London

17. Raby Hunt, Summerhouse

18. Le Gavroche, London

19. Marianne, London

20. Ortolan, Shinfield

21. Yorke Arms, Ramsgill-in-Nidderdale

22. Fraiche, Oxton

23. 21212, Edinburgh

24. Hedone, London

25. Hambleton Hall, Hambleton

26. Peat Inn, Cupar

27. Winteringham Fields, Winteringham

28. Black Swan, Oldstead

29. Llangoed Hall, Llyswen

30. French Restaurant, Midland Hotel, Manchester

31. Fat Duck, Bray

32. Hibiscus, London

33. Clove Club, London

34. The Kitchin, Edinburgh

35. Drakes, Ripley

36. Pied à Terre, London

37. Pass Restaurant, South Lodge Hotel, Horsham

38. Mr Underhill’s, Ludlow

39. Amberley Castle, Amberley

40. Texture, London

41. Three Chimneys, Dunvegan

42. Square, London

43. Five Fields, London

44. Fera at Claridge’s, Claridge’s Hotel, London

45. Dining Room, Whatley Manor, Easton Grey

46. Rasoi, London

47. Yashin, London

48. Harrow at Little Bedwyn, Marlborough

49. Bohemia, The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey

50. Boat House, Bangor

51. André Garrett At Cliveden, Cliveden House, Taplow

52. Fischers at Baslow Hall, Baslow

53. Pétrus, London

54. Purnells, Birmingham

55. Greenhouse, London

56. Box Tree, Ilkley

57. Gordon Ramsay, London

58. Latymer, Pennyhill Park Hotel, Bagshot

59. Ametsa with Arzak Instruction, Halkin Hotel, London

60. Neptune, Old Hunstanton

61. Roux at Parliament Square, RICS, London

62. Typing Room, Town Hall Hotel, London

63. Northcote, Langho

64. Stovell’s, Chobham

65. Menu Gordon Jones, Bath

66. Simon Radley, The Chester Grosvenor, Chester

67. Sushi Tetsu, London

68. Koffmann’s, The Berkeley, London

69. Hakkasan, London

70. Cotto, Cambridge

71. Sketch Lecture Room, London

72. Summer Lodge, Evershot

73. Artichoke, Amersham

74. The River Cafe, London

75. Applecross Inn, Applecross

76. Zuma, London

77. Hunan, London

78. James Martin, Manchester

79. Roger Hickman’s, Norwich

80. Yauatcha, London

81. HKK, London

82. Chez Bruce, London

83. Dinner, Mandarin Oriental, London

84. Kai Mayfair, London

85. Roka, London

86. Great House, Lavenham

87. Seven Park Place, London

88. Amaya, London

89. Wiltons, London

90. Adam’s, Birmingham

91. Atelier de Joel Robuchon, London

92. Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter

93. Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant, Milford-on-Sea

94. Dinings, London

95. Walnut Tree, Llandewi Skirrid

96. Wedgwood, Edinburgh

97. Lickfold Inn, Lickfold

98. Marcus, The Berkeley, London

99. Bentley’s, London

100. Benares, London

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