Dining Owl Awards … get your claws out and your hoots ready

Best for dates:

These restaurants have something special about them that makes them extra romantic. None of them are cheap but they’re all completely worth it.

1stVictoria and Albert’s

2ndHelene Darroze at the Connaught

3rd – Mistral

4th – The Waterside Inn

5thSketch (The Lecture Room and Library)

Best for standout dishes:

These restaurants all feature several standout dishes within their menus and are consistently brilliant throughout.

1stThe Fat Duck (Chef Patron: Heston Blumenthal; Head Chef: Jonny Lake)

2nd – L’Astrance (Head Chef: Pascal Barbot)

3rd – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (Chef Patron: Heston Blumenthal; Executive Chef: Ashley Palmer-Watts)

4thMomofuku Ko (Chef and Founder: David Chang; Executive Chef: Sean Gray)

5th – The Araki (Head Chef and Founder: Mitsuhiro Araki)

Best serving staff:

These restaurants all feature staff who put in a special effort to make you feel welcome, are charming and happy to answer questions and seem to immensely enjoy their work.

1stPasta e basta

2nd – The Araki (including Head Chef Mitsuhiro Araki)

3rdRestaurant Gordon Ramsay (including maitre d’ Jean-Claude Breton)

4thMomofuku Ko

5th – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Best value:

These restaurant all offer great value for the quality of food and service they offer.

1stTartufo

2ndFera

3rd – Gauthier Soho

4thMaze

5th – Murano

Best for friends:

These restaurants all have a buzzy, fun atmosphere that is great for groups of friends.

1stBalthazar

2ndBerners Tavern

3rdDuck and Waffle

4thLa Cave

5thSushisamba

Best wine list:

These restaurants either offer a comprehensive and interesting wine list, or a very reasonably-priced list.

1stLibrije’s Zusje (Head Sommelier: Willem van de Geer)

2ndTexture (Head Sommelier: Adrien Butko)

3rdRestaurant Gordon Ramsay

4thLa Cave (Head Sommelier: Chloe Helfand)

5thVictoria and Albert’s

Best ambience:

The atmosphere of these restaurants is special, either because it just feels fun, a great view, or both.

1stMistral

2nd – The Moon

3rd – Cip’s Club

4thLe Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons

5th – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Best for feeling healthy:

These restaurants offer a menu that feels healthier than average, without losing any tastiness.

1stSpring

2ndTexture

3rdKokkeriet

4thRouge Tomate

5th – The Araki

Best for casual occasions:

These restaurants don’t require you to dress up and are good for when are you in a more casual mood, while still offering fantastic food and drink.

1st – Le Relais de Venise

2nd – Bror

3rd – Suisse

4th – Minetta Tavern

5th – No. 97

Best for family occasions:

These restaurants are great to visit with your parents and/or siblings; they offer a good introduction to fine dining and are good places for a special ‘treat’ meal or a special occasion.

1st – The Fat Duck

2ndLe Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons

3rd – Texture

4thLe Pont de la Tour

5thChapters

Best bread:

Bread is offered as part of the vast majority of meals at fine dining restaurants. These restaurants offer bread that is particularly tasty or a bit different from the norm.

1stVictoria and Albert’s

2ndMurano

3rdTexture

4th – Vun

5thGauthier Soho

Best sommelier:

A good sommelier can find you a great wine at a reasonable price and sometimes even teach you about new wines if you tend to rely on the same names. These restaurants have sommeliers who are helpful, friendly and willing to find delicious wines that meet your requirements.

1stTexture (Head Sommelier: Adrien Butko)

2ndSketch (The Lecture Room and Library) (Wine Director: Fred Brugues)

3rd – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (Head Sommelier: Stefan Neumann)

4thRestaurant Gordon Ramsay

5thLibrije’s Zusje (Head Sommelier: Willem van de Geer)

Best for repeat visits:

Some restaurants are so expensive that they can only be visited very occasionally, but these particular places offer the kind of atmosphere and overall quality that makes you want to return to them again and again, with different groups of people. They also stand up in terms of consistency each time you visit.

1stLe Relais de Venise

2ndBalthazar

3rdTexture

4th – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

5thMaze

Best décor:

These restaurants are visually pleasing and often have standout art or a particular colour scheme that fits perfectly with the style of food and the atmosphere.

1stPicasso

2ndSketch (The Lecture Room and Library)

3rdBerners Tavern

4th – The Moon

5thHelene Darroze at the Connaught

Best canapés:

A tasty set of canapés is the perfect way to lead you into an exciting meal.

1st – Restaurant Story (Head Chef: Sam)

2nd – Sketch (The Lecture Room and Library) (Head Chef: Pierre Gagnaire)

3rd – Vun (Executive Chef: Andrea Aprea)

4th – Librije’s Zusje (Executive Chef: Sidney Schutte)

5th – The Greenhouse (Head Chef: Arnaud Bignon)

Best amuse bouche:

Amuses bouches tend to come in wonderfully tiny dishes or shot glasses with gorgeously tiny spoons beside them. They are often purees or cold soups.

1st – Texture (Head Chef: Andrew Wandless)

2nd – The Greenhouse (Head Chef: Arnaud Bignon)

3rd – Vun (Executive Chef: Andrea Aprea)

4th – Restaurant Guy Savoy (Executive Chef: Julien Asseo)

5th – Gauthier Soho (Executive Head Chef: Gerard Virolle)

Best pre-dessert:

Pre-desserts can make the perfect palate cleanser to separate mains from desserts. They usually take the form of a sorbet or very light granita dish.

1st – Vun (Executive Chef: Andrea Aprea)

2nd – Mistral (Head Chef: Ettore Bocchia)

3rd – The Waterside Inn (Head Chef: Fabrice Uhryn)

4th – Restaurant Guy Savoy (Executive Chef: Julien Asseo)

5th – Gauthier Soho (Executive Head Chef: Gerard Virolle)

Best petits fours:

Petits fours are a great way to end a meal and a special set of petits fours can leave you appreciating the restaurant for longer. These particular restaurants offer an especially innovative and/or tasty range.

1stLibrije’s Zusje (Executive Chef: Sidney Schutte)

2ndAlain Ducasse at the Dorchester (Pastry Chef: Angelo Ercolano)

3rdThe Fat Duck (Head Chef: Jonny Lake)

4thRestaurant Gordon Ramsay (Executive Chef: Clare Smyth; Chef de Cuisine: Matt Abe)

5thMarcus Wareing at the Berkeley (Head Chef: Mark Froydelund)

46 thoughts on “Dining Owl Awards … get your claws out and your hoots ready

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