Why ‘best-restaurant’ lists are nothing of the sort

March 3, 2015

We have just been subjected to yet another list of the UK’s supposedly best restaurants. It’s nice for chefs to be included in them – but do they actually help us decide where we should go and eat?

Best-restaurant lists are something of a love/hate thing for me. I basically hate them but love being included in them, for the same reason I liked being on the art wall in school (even though I knew it was because I’d sucked up all year to get there). Recognition in any form for hard work is always appreciated. I have no problem with lists existing. But I wonder whether they ever actually tell us anything useful.

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This weekend we saw a new list of Yelp’s 100 best UK restaurants. Number 1 was taken by Dishoom, an upmarket Indian concept with three big sites in London. Dishoom has members of the Tilda rice family and, therefore, significant funding behind it. It also has excellent customer service, the food is faultless and all the sites have a great vibe going on so it’s not necessarily an unworthy winner. There are a lot of my favourite places in the list too. Patty and Bun makes No 9 for serving great burgers. Barrafina also makes the top 10 and Hawksmoor is at No 22.

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