/ Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

Award-winning food – long live local restaurants!

It has been so exciting to be part of The Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year award, and to be at the Which? Awards when our winner was announced. What makes an award-winning restaurant?

We were so pleased to announce the winner of The Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year award – the fantastic Van Zeller in Harrogate.

For those who don’t know, the Which? Awards are our way to reward and champion those businesses that have done well over the last year – going that extra mile to provide great service and, in the case of The Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year award, great food.

The taste of victory

It’s great to be involved in an award that galvanises The Good Food Guide readers – especially this year when we have seen a record-breaking number of nominations flood in – a whopping 45,000 in total.

For all of us who work at The Good Food Guide, and the winning restaurants themselves, the fact that these awards are led so much by members of the public, telling us where they really like to eat out, is one reason they feel so special.

The aim of the awards is to champion local eateries, celebrating those small businesses that deliver great food and service at restaurants, pubs and cafés around the UK.

Many of the places that have won awards in the past have gone on to experience a significant rise in bookings and takings in their establishment (as much as a 40% increase!), so it’s gratifying to know that the awards have a genuinely positive effect – especially in these tough economic times.

Great local businesses

Of course the larger brands are in there as well, such as Aldi, Canon, Samsung, Kia, Lush and Bosch – Which? is reviewing and investigating them throughout the year, so we want to praise those who are listening to customer feedback, providing great service or innovative new products. But it was good to see other local businesses being recognised too – carpet and upholstery cleaners Advanced Clean (London) won ‘Local business of the year’ as voted by Which? Local users.

Supporting great local businesses is really important, especially in the current climate, and we see these awards as a chance for great neighbourhood eateries to shine.

Long live great local restaurants!

This year’s Good Food Guide winner, Van Zeller in Harrogate, triumphed over very stiff competition from the other shortlisted restaurants and is undoubtedly a worthy winner. Praised for its vibrant and ambitious cooking with exceptional attention to detail, it really is a lesson in how a small restaurant should be run.

Tom Van Zeller, chef patron at Van Zeller, came to accept his award from Angela Hartnett, The Good Food Guide Chef of the Year for 2012. It was fantastic to have such a world-class chef involved in our awards and who knows, maybe Tom Van Zeller will be presenting the award to the next up-and-coming raft of great chefs in the future!

Huge congratulations from everyone at The Good Food Guide to Van Zeller, and of course to our other shortlisted restaurants. We also thought this would be a good opportunity to ask you what makes a great local restaurant – are there any pubs, cafes or restaurants in your area that you think go above and beyond to provide great food and service?

Tom van Zeller says:
20 June 2012

Wow ! What a day ! Running my restaurant is an amazing job and I am absolutely delighted for my staff an customers because I know they will all be thrilled with our good news too.

LUSH winners!!
The biggest stink on the high street, have Which no sense of smell? You cant shop in malls for the stink from their shops. They must have done something very good to make up for polluting the High St.

Carl Hubbers says:
17 July 2012

We went to Charlotte’s Place last night because the were a Which? local restaurant finalist.

The food, wine, presentation, decor and service were all excellent.

Bonus points because this is the first restaurant I have ever been to they has complimentary filtered sparkling water. Also we booked for 7pm so qualified for an early dining special of three courses for under £27 which we weren’t expecting so the night was very great value for money as well.

Thanks Which!