The best restaurants outside London, according to The Telegraph's food critics

Restaurant MCR
Four and five star reviews from the Telegraph critics Credit: Lucas Smith

The past decade has seen the UK restaurant scene transform into one of the world's most varied and exciting destinations for food lovers – and it's not all happening in the capital. 

From rural boltholes to sleek city bars, we're spoiled for choice when it comes to dining out around the country, so much so that it can become tricky to choose between one restaurant and another. 

Whether you're looking for something special on your weekend away or simply searching for a new local favourite, our team of restaurant critics are on hand to help – browse their four- and five-star reviews spanning from Cornwall to the Cairngorms. 

The Greedy Goose, Plymouth ****

A cosy restaurant in Plymouth's oldest building Credit: Greedy Goose

Address:  Prysten House, Finewell Street, Plymouth PL1 2AE

Price: Sunday lunch for two (and a half): £60 excluding drinks and service

Contact 01752 252001; thegreedygoose.co.uk

"I had a delicious little starter of smoked salmon on charred brioche, which had small dabs of crème fraîche, little flecks of lemon zest and just the perfect amount of dill (ie not much, horrid herb that it is)," writes William Sitwell.

"I continued my health charge by avoiding the sticky toffee pud and chocolate mousse, picking instead the rice pudding. Who knows, it may yet be slowly killing me, but God, it was good."

Read the full review here.

Chard, Hove ****

A charming spot for midweek luncheoning  Credit: Chard Photography

Address:  I Gigi General Store, 31a Western Road, Hove BN3 1AF

Price: Lunch for two: £70

Contact 01273 027147; chardrestaurant.uk

"The rare beef slivers, nestled in their lovely little green puddles and pierced by the golden wondrousness of Parmesan crisps, were only trounced, visually, by our pinkly petal-scattered alcohol-free pomegranate fizz. It tasted mighty fine," writes Kathryn Flett.

Read the full review here.

The Boxing Hare, Chipping Norton****

Credit: The Boxing Hare

Address: Banbury Road, Swerford, Chipping Norton OX7 4AP

Price: Dinner for three £68 excluding drinks and service

Contact 01608 683212; theboxinghare.co.uk

"With its tasteful wooden furniture, attractive bar, stags’ heads, and fridge used for ageing beef, it really is a place of immaculate and sensible hospitality," writes William Sitwell. 

"Service was joyous and The Boxing Hare is a pub of well-lit, stylishly furnished excellence."

Read the full review here

Karma, Exeter ****½

High-quality Indian food a stone's throw from Exeter St Davids station

Address: Great Western Hotel, Cowley Bridge Road, Exeter EX4 4NU

Price: Dinner for two: £55, excluding drinks and service

Contact 01392 661212

"Every little ingredient – from green chilli to coriander leaf – seemed to proudly pop its head over the parapet, as if chopped fresh to order," said William Sitwell.

"And where in some curry houses the flavours of different sauces appear indistinct, here they all leapt out with originality and difference."

Read the full review here

Henry & Joe's, Berkshire ****

Credit: HENRY AND JOES 

Address: 17 Cheap St, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5DD

Price: Lunch for two: £100

Contact 01635 581751; henryandjoes.co.uk

"I became immediately fond of the piquant remoulade topped by gelatinous yolk," says Kathryn Flett. "This centre staging of a vegetable about which nobody ever says “words cannot express how much I love swede” is why I’d ordered it."

Read the full review here

Interlude, Lower Beeding ****

An exquisite tasting menu for a special occasion Credit: KELSIE SCULLY PHOTOGRAPHY

Address: Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, Brighton Rd, Lower Beeding, West Sussex RH13 6PP

Price: Dinner for two: £250

Contact 01403 289490; leonardsleegardens.co.uk/food

"There came a point roughly halfway through my “Garden Experience” at the newly Michelin-starred Interlude," writes Kathryn Flett, "where I started to feel like an extra in a big and glossy, but peculiarly arch movie, albeit one directed with finesse, commitment, energy and a whopping budget."

"Glancing discreetly at my watch wondering how many more intensely flavoured and beautifully plated dishes we’d have to negotiate may seem ungrateful."

Read the full review here

Grain, Colchester ****

British small plates done with delicacy and care Credit: PAUL WENDHOLT

Address: 11a North Hill, Colchester, Essex CO1 1DZ

Price: Lunch for two: £90

Contact 01206 570005; grain-colchester.co.uk

"Roast cauliflower came ingeniously worked into a neat rectangular slab. It was perfumed with ras-el-hanout, drenched in smoked butter and prettily strewn with micro-herbs," says Keith Miller. 

"In all this – and the pork tenderloin and beef sirloin plates that followed – there was good judgment and sure craft."

Read the full review here. 

MCR, Spinningfields, Manchester ****

A nine course tasting menu in the Manchester Spinningfields building Credit: LUCAS SMITH

Address: 18-22 Bridge Street, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3BZ

Price: Lunch for two: £200

Contact 0161 835 2557; restaurantmcr.com

"Service was great; warm and cool, explainy without being infuriating," says Kathryn Flett, "and while there were mildly raised eyebrows when I ordered the singular beer for the teenager – he was eating, it was fine – I didn’t feel horrifically judged." 

Read the full review here

The Lookout, Edinburgh ****

Come for the views, stay for the egg yolk ravioli Credit: ANDY SEWELL

Address: Calton Hill, Edinburgh, EH7 5AA

Price: Lunch for two: £80 excluding drinks and service

Contact 0131 322 1246; thelookoutedinburgh.co

"As is so fashionable now, bread was a pre-starter along with whipped butter, presumably so good it merits its own status as a course. Which in fact it was," says William Sitwell.

"The star, though, was a piece of hake, nestling with mussels and broad beans. This one came with fish skin, the food naturally presented on a Mediterranean-blue plate and every morsel cooked to perfection."

Read the full review here

The Pig at Bridge Place ****

A twee new addition to The Pig minichain Credit: Jake Eastham

Address: Bourne Park Road, Bridge, Kent CT4 5BH

Price: Lunch for two: £100

Contact 0345 225 9494; thepighotel.com/at-bridge-place

"It is a handsome gaff – a Jacobean mansion that became a rock venue in the Sixties and Seventies – just outside the village of Bridge, near Canterbury," writes Kathryn Flett.

"Part of me knows I should have hated the middle-class smuggery of it all, yet, despite having only had a glass of sauvignon, we wee-wee-wee-ed all the way home."

Read the full review here

The Woodsman, Stratford-upon-Avon ****½

'A den of pleasure that gives gratuitous feasting a good name' Credit: LEO GODDARD

Address: No 4 Chapel Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6HA

Price: Dinner for two: £70 without drinks and service

Contact 01789-331535; thewoodsmanrestaurant.co.uk

"As we took our seats, a man brought a trolley laden with naughty drinks and house wines. Deftly he swirled booze and ice to deliver a Woodsman-crafted negroni," says William Sitwell. 

"We couldn’t cope with The Woodsman’s s’mores and other puddings, but vowed to return for another dose of welcomes and charred flesh from this gastro-pleasuredome."

Read the full review here. 

The Feathered Nest, Oxon ****½

Credit:  ADRIAN FRANKLIN

Address: Nether Westcote, Oxon, OX7 6SD

Price: Sunday lunch for two £170

Contact 01993 833030; thefeatherednestinn.co.uk

"The food looked not just appealing but imaginative, with a few Polish touches enlivening a fairly archetypal 'posh pub restaurant' line-up," says Keith Miller.

"Once we had taken delivery of a chilled chocolate pudding with Horlicks and vanilla and a raspberry soufflé, sharpened with yuzu, we ­almost had to ask for a toot on the defibrillator to get us upright and on the road again."

Read the full review here

The Fish House, Cornwall ****

Address: Unit 5, International Surf Centre, Headland Road, Newquay, Cornwall TR7 1EW

Price: Lunch for two £80

Contact 01637 872085; thefishhousefistral.com

"The location is just heavenly, right on the yawning arc of the beach, with a westward tilt to catch the waning sun, and a terrace for warmer weather," writes Keith Miller. 

"In every dish the cooking was confident and gutsy, with the Asian elements, in particular, handled a little more boldly than you might find two doors along."

Read the full review here

2 Fore Street, Cornwall ****

Credit: REBECCA REES

Address: Mousehole, Cornwall, TR19 6QU

Price: Lunch for two|: £60 excluding drinks and service

Contact 01736 731164; 2forestreet.co.uk

"The restaurant is a springlike wash of white and light blue, and the menu an approachable and merry dance of bistro classics," says William Sitwell.

"You can visit 2 Fore Street for lunch or dinner or coffee or cake or sandwiches or cocktails. You don’t have to speak yarg and the staff, like the natives of this island of Mousehole, are very friendly."

Read the full review here.