It’s the prestigious foodie bible whose recommendations can help make or break a restaurant’s hard-won reputation.
This year sees two new Scottish eateries – Inver in Argyll and Bute and Cail Bruich in Glasgow – in The Good Food Guide 2020 top 50 UK restaurants for the first time.
The guide names Inver’s Pam Brunton as UK chef of the year.
Inver is ranked in 33rd place, with Cail Bruich 43rd.
However, the Scottish restaurant taking the crown for coming highest in the top UK 50 is the two-Michelin star Restaurant Andrew Fairlie in Gleneagles Hotel, near Auchterarder, Perth and Kinross.
The guide, by Waitrose and partners, published today lists it in 14th place, two places down from 2019.
Praising Fairlie, who died from a brain tumour in January, and his legacy, Elizabeth Carter, the guide’s editor, said: “Established by one of hospitality’s very good guys, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie now continues in the chef’s honour after his death.
“As one would expect at the heart of the Gleneagles resort, the dining room speaks the language of international luxe, all low-lit comfort, high ceilings and heavy drapes.
“In the gloaming, a talented service team works hard to give every diner a memorable experience, making once-in-a-lifetime customers feel like regulars.
“The chat is easy but the knowledge of each French-Scottish dish is brilliantly sharp.”
The other four Scottish restaurants in the top 50 are The Peat Inn in Fife in 23rd place, The Kitchin in Edinburgh, 25th, Restaurant Martin Wishart in Edinburgh in 46th place and Castle Terrace, also in Edinburgh, in 50th place.
Speaking of her accolade, Ms Brunton said: “Being quite removed from the big city community, an award like this feels like you’ve been given a place at the table, so to speak.
“Being a chef in your own restaurant can feel a little like being trapped in a strange little world of your own creating, so it is also nice to be reminded that others share that world with you, and even like being there too.”
Fifteen newcomers from north of the Border, in a separate category from the top 50, include both Six by Nico restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow, which offer diners a different themed six-course tasting menu every six weeks .
Their current “guilty pleasures” menu includes a kebab course whose ingredients are spiced lamb belly, roasted onion and rose harissa and lamb bacon choucroute.
Other restaurants in the 15 range from Edinbane Lodge, on the Isle of Skye, and Botanica at the Barn, Tighnabruaich, Argyll and Bute, to The Hoebridge in Gattonside, in the Borders, and The Bonnie Badger in Gullane, East Lothian.
This year’s best local restaurant in Scotland is Number 16 in Glasgow.
Owner Joel Pomfret said: “This is especially rewarding given the rapidly growing competition within Glasgow and Scotland’s exciting food scene. Our focus has always been to provide customers with the very best dining experience by offering quality food and friendly service in a relaxed atmosphere, so we are extremely proud to be recognised for this.”