INTERNATIONAL - The U.K.’s most expensive restaurant is also its best, according to a new ranking of the top 100 places to eat in the country.
The only option at the Araki, a London sushi establishment that seats 10 diners, is a set menu that costs £300 ($400) per person, before drinks. The Mayfair restaurant topped the Harden’s 100 list, which reflects about 50,000 reviews submitted by 8,500 contributors.
Chef Mitsuhiro Araki opened the restaurant in 2014 and was awarded three Michelin stars this year. Celebrity David Beckham appears to have eaten there this week.
Harden’s is just one of several competing U.K. lists. These include the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards, which are based on the votes of 180 chefs, restaurateurs and food writers, including me. Araki doesn’t feature in that Top 100, possibly because so few people can afford to eat there, much less secure a table.
You can spend a considerable amount of money at several of the restaurants near the top of the Harden’s list, such as No. 5, chef Heston Blumenthal’s experimental restaurant the Fat Duck. A meal there is £275 and will rise to £325 in April. But Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, where the 10th Anniversary menu costs £280, doesn’t even register in the Harden’s rankings.
Restaurants from around the U.K.—in Bristol, Port Isaac, Bray, Oldstead and Edinburgh—all appear on the list.
“The excitement of the London restaurant scene has spilled over into the rest of the U.K. in the past five years,” said Peter Harden, who co-founded the guide with his brother Richard. “Most large cities now have nationally notable restaurants.”
The Harden’s Guide has been published for 25 years. Anyone can register and submit reviews. The rankings vary widely: The Black Swan, named the world’s best restaurant on TripAdvisor, places at No. 8 on Harden’s and at 58 in the National Restaurant Awards.
The Harden’s 100:
The Araki, London Casamia, the General, Bristol The Ledbury, London Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac The Fat Duck, Bray Marianne, London Waterside Inn, Bray Black Swan, Oldstead Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh The Clove Club, London Gidleigh Park, Chagford Fraiche, Oxton Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham Ormer Mayfair, London Gareth ward at Ynyshir, Eglwys Foch Sushi Tetsu, London Story, London L'Enclume, Cartmel Yorke Arms, Ramsgill-in-Nidderdale The Greenhouse, London Midsummer House, Cambridge Le Gavroche, London Pied à Terre, London Sketch, Lecture Room, London Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Great Milton Umu, London Bubbledogs, Kitchen Table, London The Five Fields, London Raby Hunt, Summerhouse Moor Hall, Aughton Bohemia, Jersey Adam's, Birmingham Texture, London Estiatorio Milos, London Andrew Fairlie, Auchterarder Morston Hall, Morston Hélène Darroze, London Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo The Box Tree, Ilkley Le Cochon Aveugle, York Pétrus, London Hedone, London Hambleton Hall, Hambleton The Neptune, Old Hunstanton The Ritz, London Roux at Parliament Square, London The Kitchin, Edinburgh Murano, London Llangoed Hall, Llyswen Paul Ainsworth at No. 6, Padstow 108 Garage, London Hakkasan Mayfair, London Chez Bruce, London Lympstone Manor, Exmouth Jamavar, London Hunan, London The Forest Side, Grasmere The Art School, Liverpool André Garrett at Cliveden, Taplow House of Tides, Newcastle Upon Tyne Artichoke, Amersham 5 North Street, Winchcombe Goodman City, London Trishna, London Wilks, Bristol Norn, Edinburgh One-O-One, London The Three Chimneys, Dunvegan Elystan Street, London Typing Room, London La Trompette, London Where The Light Gets In, Stockport The Man Behind The Curtain, Leeds Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth Marcus, The Berkeley, London The Whitebrook, Whitebrook Pollen Street Social, London Gauthier Soho, London Zuma, London La Petite Maison, London Locanda Locatelli, London Northcote, Langho The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, Marlborough The Woodspeen, Newbury The Sportsman, Seasalter The Glasshouse, Kew Wiltons, London Purnells, Birmingham Coya, London La Dame de Pic, London Roka, London Seafood Restaurant, Padstow The Seahorse, Dartmouth The Peat Inn, Cupar Scott’s, London Stovell's, Chobham Trinity, London Portland, London Min Jiang, London Medlar, London.