There’s always a reason to splash the cash on a classy feast in sophisticated surroundings, and why not go all out by indulging in a Michelin-worthy meal? Here’s the ultimate guide to exceptional Michelin-starred places to treat yourself or a loved one this festive season.
The Dining Room at Whatley Manor, Wiltshire
This Grade II listed manor house in the folds of stunning Cotswold countryside offers the stuff of gastronomic dreams. The chef’s tasting menus will take you on a culinary journey that showcases the very best of seasonal ingredients, combined with a series of highly accomplished cooking techniques. Providing unrivalled service, superlative food and a setting among the finest the English countryside has to offer, Whatley Manor is a place for the most special of occasions.
Alyn Williams at The Westbury, London
The elegance of restaurant Alyn Williams at The Westbury promises a special dining experience. Its delicate lighting and cherry wood panelling suggest an executive gentlemen’s club, only without the exclusivity or stuffiness. From the à la carte menu, roasted scallops with herb risotto, English pigeon, and stem ginger parfait sound delightful. Exceptional food and a memorable experience are guaranteed here; you’ll be blown away by the style, flavours and expert service.
Gidleigh Park, Devon
Set in an idyllic location on the banks of the North Teign River, Gidleigh Park is a beautiful Relais and Châteaux property nestled in 107 acres of parkland within the natural beauty of Dartmoor National Park. The style of Michael Wignall’s cuisine is classic and highly innovative, yet remains firmly rooted in the West Country with locally sourced ingredients used wherever possible. Sample the tantalising festive six-course lunch menu, which features contemporary interpretations of the finest seasonal flavours for only £55.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London
Heston Blumenthal and Ashley Palmer-Watts have worked with food historians and used research from The British Library to rediscover recipes from our celebrated British culinary history. The result is a contemporary menu offering dishes inspired by recipes dating as far back as the 14th century. While innovative, the restaurant interior is mindful of tradition and combines a magical array of bespoke historic detail to match the superb menu.
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall
Situated at the top of the village of Port Isaac with panoramic coastal views, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw is the only eatery in Cornwall to hold two Michelin stars. Here, chef-proprietor Nathan Outlaw specialises in modern British seafood cookery, relying heavily on Cornish seafood and local produce. The kitchen prepares quality ingredients with precision, and diners are taken on a journey exploring different flavours, textures and cooking methods, with seafood as the shining star.
The Park Restaurant, Wiltshire
Bath is renowned as the one-time home of Jane Austen, and to step inside nearby Lucknam Park is almost to stride right into one of her 19th-century classics. The timelessly luxurious surroundings and utterly seamless service of The Park restaurant will make you feel right at home, even in the midst of such prestige. Executive chef Hywel Jones has held a Michelin star at The Park restaurant since 2006, and his menu includes the likes of Cornish day boat hake, braised fillet of turbot and slow-roast belly of Roundway Hill pork.
Restaurant James Sommerin, Wales
Having just won a shining Michelin star and recently been named Best Restaurant in Wales and 34th in the UK by The Good Food Guide in 2017, Restaurant James Sommerin has made a big impression on the Welsh dining scene since opening. The 70-seater restaurant, which includes a private dining room and chef’s table, is sophisticated yet relaxed, allowing the diner to focus on the beautifully presented dishes. For those who don’t want to rush home after dinner, Restaurant James Sommerin has nine well-appointed en-suite rooms, five of which boast wonderful views over the sea.
Casamia is very much a narrative – it’s personal, it’s immersive and it’s gentle. The brand-new, custom-built open kitchen is clearly visible and the chefs working within it are completely absorbed in their craft. There’s no drama, simply quiet concentration. The ten-course menu changes four times a year in accordance with the season. Autumn, for example, features dazzling dishes such as brown trout loin with shiitake and ginger dashi; butternut squash with caramel sauce, brown butter and orange, and damson and bay leaf Turkish delight.
Yorke Arms, Yorkshire
Sitting peacefully beside Ramsgill village green in Yorkshire’s picturesque Nidderdale, The Yorke Arms embodies a charming image of country life. Game season is an absolute delight here, thanks to the abundant natural larder of Yorkshire moorland, and you can witness the wonders that chef Frances Atkins works with pheasant, grouse, teal and partridge. Whatever time of year you choose to take pleasure in the charming tranquillity of The Yorke Arms, you’ll find only the finest cuisine, quality wine and heavenly hospitality.