Guide

Cheshire’s Top 5 Restaurants

Here are the Top 5 restaurants in Cheshire, as voted for by our panel of Top 100 judges, taking into account our own review scores and other guidebook scores, plus any rosettes, stars, plates, forks and all that stuff…

  • 30 Book Now Cheshire

    Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor

    Modern British

    This sumptuous restaurant has held a Michelin star since 1990 thanks to the sparkling imagination of head chef, Simon Radley. A la carte, tasting and vegetarian menus are available with matched wines from an internationally acclaimed cellar of more than 1000 bins, which has secured an AA Notable Wine List Award. Radley doesn’t fear flavour and the menu is littered with the likes of sweet and sour mackerel, black garlic scallops, barbecue sweetbread and punchy desserts featuring liquorice or Calvados toffee. Experiential collages pay homage to various parts of the world, often returning to the region as in menu standards like ‘Edge’s Rare Breed’ (charred beef sirloin, cured cheek and smoked onion pickles) or Two Hens, comprised of buttery Black Leg chicken and native lobster, finished off with Perigord truffle. Dessert could include a ‘Piña Colada’ themed coconut blancmange with elements of golden pineapple or a Catalan-inspired combination of preserved tomato, fruit candy and goat’s curd. Heaven for the armchair tourist and ideal for that milestone birthday.

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    Chef’s Table

    European

    This independent, 30-cover restaurant in Chester is the brainchild of local chef, Liam McKay. Sourcing is a priority with 90 percent of veg supplied by the Natural Veg Men and a list of fully local and British suppliers for everything else, alongside a commitment to using only sustainable palm oil. But when it comes to what’s actually on the plate, the confident European influenced creations are anything but worthy. Expect a mix of the familiar – homemade focaccia, chicken wings with blue cheese sauce, roasted lamb rump – and unexpected. Salt-aged duck with honey and lavender peaches, for example, or crispy frogs with pea hummus and broad beans. Food you’re really going to want to eat, at an excellent price. Lunch at Chef’s Table is good value (typically under £20 for two courses) while a clever wine list and casual, woody interior makes good times inevitable.

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    Joseph Benjamin

    European

    Michelin-rated brasserie in Chester city centre.

    Quality ingredients are among the reasons why this smart-casual eatery has become one of Chester’s smash hits alongside a perfectly pitched wine list that begs to be drunk with food or alone. Paper-thin Serrano ham and cured brill in blood orange opens a menu that combines brasserie classics with gourmet snacks. Selections could include cod loin with langoustine bisque, Goosnargh chicken supreme with mushroom fideuà (a kind of vermicelli paella), and fresh gnocchi with sage butter and kale crisps. Sweet and savoury endings like Cheshire ice cream Affogato, fruitcake with Colston Bassett Stilton and a lively bottle of Picpoul round off an extremely reasonable meal at this repeat Michelin Bib Gourmand winner. Excellent tapas place, Porta, is under the same ownership next door and there’s a well-received branch in Altrincham too.

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    The Allotment

    Modern British

    Five star vegan fine dining in Stockport’s atmospheric Old Town. The seeds of Matthew Nutter’s fine dining adventure were sown when he set out to “make veg taste better than steak”. And the menu at The Allotment, Nutter’s first restaurant exceeds this ambition. True: words like ‘steak’, ‘chorizo’ and ‘scallop’ are bandied about, but the kitchen largely avoids aping meat food. Rather plants and nuts are recalibrated into the likes of chargrilled aubergine topped with rosehip ketchup, almond béchamel and basil salt for the fries, or a dessert of braised rhubarb and sweet potato custard. There’s no dairy involved, despite the meal ending with the house ‘cheeseboard’ hewn from fermented nuts, purees and fruits. Feast on homemade oatcakes and perfect fresh beetroot chutney. Generous portions mean no going home hungry – or thirsty, for that matter, thanks to a compact new winelist. Following a bit of interior TLC, The Allotment is a cool space with folliage-themed decor and a friendly vibe. Opening times are currently in flux – watch this space – and there are rumours of a Manchester city centre move too…

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    Sticky Walnut

    European

    Brilliant bistro fare from crowd-funding expert, Gary Usher. Located in Hoole, just outside Chester, this contemporary bistro falls under the Elite Bistros empire of chef-turned-restaurateur, Gary Usher. Having trained at The Chester Grosvenor, Chapter One and Chez Bruce, Usher is a chef with a passion for getting things just so – and he’s hired likeminded talent, Richard Sharples (Aumbry) as co-conspirator and group executive chef. Usher is also something of a social media and crowd-funding hero whose fourth bistro, Wreckfish, opened in 2017 with more branches planned for Prescot and Manchester’s King Street in 2018. Classic French techniques – and mentor Simon Radley’s passion for citrus – are an influence while exposed brick and heavy oak tables smarten up the townhouse space. Dishes could include charred salmon with ceviche, or braised featherblade with truffle and Parmesan chips. The vanilla crème brulee or richly spiced coconut rice pudding with poached pineapple and sugared hazelnuts make romance somewhat inevitable. A healthy international wine list raises the bar further.

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