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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 November 2013
There is no denying that this guide has its faults. For example, the rating of some restaurants seems to be stuck in a time warp. On the other hand, I am pleased to see that some places have been rightly struck off the role. I'd be happier for more evidence of impartial vetting. When all is said and done, though, this is still probably the best of its sort.
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on 5 March 2014
I love cooking at home, and love discovering new approaches to food and flavour at creative restaurants. My wife and I travel frequently to visit ailing family in the north of England, and eat out in central Scotland and further north. We've also been to a few events in London recently.

We've used the Good Food Guide to select over forty different restaurants so far. The Guide rates from 1 to 10, and also includes some 'Also Recommended' (by inspectors) and some 'Readers Recommend'. We've eaten at a '10' (L'Enclume) down to a 'Readers Recommend' (Lake of Menteith Hotel - now dropped out of the Guide), and all ratings in between apart from '8' and '9'. The rating system is very clear, and well explained at the front of each (annual) issue.

The Guide has proved extremely reliable on creativity, flavour, flair and service, atmosphere and wines. Descriptions give a real sense of the context and history of each restaurant, of how things change and develop, or not. (We find it far more reliable and helpful than Michelin, and far more insightful and measured than sites like TripAdvisor.)

Each entry also lists the range of prices, and details of seat numbers, separate bar, parking, wheelchair access and child age welcome. It used to also mention mobile phone ban, air conditioning, and music, but has stopped including these - so I would suggest finding a used copy from a few years ago if these are concerns for you.

The only factor I would suggest the Guide hasn't got quite right is that we've found there is an issue of inconsistency in cooking precision at restaurants rated 3 or 4, as well as at 1 and 2 (which latter the Guide allows for).

Notwithstanding this one quibble, I love the Guide so much I/we regularly give it as a Christmas present to some of our family and friends! If you travel around the UK, and/or just want to discover creative cooking more locally, I can't recommend it highly enough.
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on 4 November 2013
What you look for in a critical guide is coverage and reliability. This venerable annual has both. Reviews are submitted by readers and followed up by experienced inspectors. Looking for a good lunch in a location half way between you and a friend who lives a distance away? Are you attending a meeting in a town that you have not visited before and need a decent dinner? Do you want to stay in a hostelry that will feed you well? Buy the GFG for the price of a typical main course. Don't travel without it.
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on 20 November 2013
I have been a regular reader of the Good Food Guide for decades. I still have my first copy of the guide from 1979. In my humble opinion, it is the best food guide in the UK but it isn't without its faults. Although it claimed to want reviews from the public, all of the reviews I submitted disappeared into "cyber-space" without a trace or acknowledgment. I didn't cry myself to sleep over this, I just wanted to help out but if my reviews were not of the required standard, so be it. Also, better to iron out reviews that damned an entire evening over some imagined rebuttal, inferior table allocation or any other "Winneresque", (Is that a word? It is now!), slight.

New guide, new owners but it seems - same problem. In her introduction, the associate editor lays out her vision for the new guide and ends with a section headed, "Tell us about it". The problem is that there doesn't seem to be any mechanism for telling her "about it". There's a link to a video and there's a generic address for the Consumers Association but that's it.

The strength of the Good Food Guide lay in its giving the ordinary diner, a voice. There is something to be said for the professional critic but they all seem so bored by writing about food, that three quarters of their columns are usually filled with something else. Not everyone is a hip "metrosexual", bored with concepts and Michelin stars, who longs for "honest" food - whatever that is. I want to know can they cook, is the place pleasant, how many limbs will I have to shed, in order to eat there?

If the new GFG is simply going to rely on a few professional and semi-professional critics, then it will become indistinguishable from other dull tomes, or the review section of your newspaper of choice. As for this edition, it's as good, (or as bad if you didn't like it), as before. I just wonder how long it will remain such.
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on 30 November 2013
Generally the book has been very, very good. We have yet to be disappointed by any of the restaurants that have been recommended by the guide. We find it very useful when visiting new places and not always sure of where to stop for meals.

The money off vouchers are also a bonus; it is worth getting the guide early so you get a whole 12 months out of it. If you use the vouchers 3 times or more it virtually pays for itself.
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on 27 March 2014
This Guide is especially useful when we go down to London. We're aware of the top Michelin restaurants but if, for example, we 're in north London it's so useful to be able to look up decently rated restaurants etc in areas like Hampstead and Camden.

I look forward to getting more use out of it when we're in Cornwall later this year.
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on 15 October 2013
We have subscribed to the GFG for over 20 years and never travel in the UK without it. (As such in previous years have got a discount and early arrival on credit from the bookstore.)

Was concerned this year when ownership changed to Waitrose. As it happens the book and reviews are as they always were. Rang Waitrose about a "special offer" , but no use. E-mailed the editor and she advised me to purchase it from Amazon!!

Never disappointed. The recommendations are sometimes expensive but ALWAYS good value for money considering location and what is being offered.
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on 29 November 2013
I need this for presents for my middle-aged offspring, who are at the stage of life when dining out is the way to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, being alive, as well as wanting to try the latest fashion food.
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on 19 October 2013
Always value the GFG ratings as pretty fair and reliable. I like the fact that actual diners send annoymous feedback too. Bit concerened about the commercial sponsorship creeping in this year, but still a trusty guide.
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on 8 December 2013
I have been buying the GFG since the 1970s. It is the most useful of the guides and always has been. The GFG 2014 is no exception.
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