Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Very reliable and indispensable for sampling creative cooking
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.