New Scoring System

Trusting to hearsay can prove very costly these days. A restaurant’s sound reputation, once established, may cling on undeserved through years of decline. Guiding to the best is the purpose of this new scoring system – but so is protection from the second rate.

In a major departure from the previous scoring of 1-10, entries to The Good Food Guide will now be rated ‘Good’, ‘Very Good’, ‘Exceptional’, and ‘World Class’. This simplified system serves to enhance consumer understanding of the Guide’s ratings. It also promotes a more democratic assessment of ‘good food’ in Great Britain.

Scoring system breakdown

Readers Recommend

Direct quotes from our reader feedback, highlighting places that have caught the attention of our loyal followers.  

Local Gem

Neighbourhood restaurants, cafés and pubs; the places that sit happily on your doorstep offering value for money and good, freshly cooked food.


‘Good’ represents a reliable combination of good food (showing sound technical skills and good quality ingredients), warm service, and a pleasant atmosphere. These restaurants will be the best in the locality, definitely worth seeking out if you are nearby. At their best they act as the hub of the local food economy, establishing a reputation for local produce.

Very Good

‘Very Good’ marks a high level of ambition and individuality. From attention to the smallest detail, via accurately cooked and vibrant dishes and excellent service, to a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, these will be the best places to eat in the county or region.


‘Exceptional’ equals cooking that has reached the pinnacle of achievement, making it a highly memorable experience for the diner. The whole restaurant will be operating at the highest level: not only perfect dishes, showing faultless technique at every service, but also superb service, a high level of comfort, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. These are the best places to eat in the country.

World Class

Once derided for its lack of food culture, Great Britain today boasts one of the most eclectic dining scenes in the world. At the very top a few extraordinary chefs are having a seismic impact on British dining. These astonishing restaurants are redefining the profession, pushing the boundaries of what eating in a restaurant is all about. It’s the stuff of bucket lists, the vision and talent drawing not just national but international recognition – especially from chefs world-wide. In any given year, there will only be two or three chefs and restaurants operating at this level. The best of the best.

Our overall scores are judged by way of a four-part ratings structure. Restaurants are assessed on their uniqueness; the deliciousness of their food; their warmth, providing a broad scope to incorporate both atmosphere and service; and strength of recommendation, which is a simple and grounded way to measure value – whether a £150 tasting menu or a £20 per head bistro.

Rating system breakdown


How unique is the establishment in the context of its location?

Does it stand out in the local area, for history, location, local hub, good value?

Is it considered to be among the best in the area?

Long established or new, is it well regarded locally?

Is it considered to be among the best restaurants in the region, succeeding at every level?


How delicious is the food?

Is this good, steady cooking of well-sourced ingredients that delivers food good enough to eat regularly?

Is it an exciting proposition?

Impeccable ingredients cooked with flair and imagination, from a kitchen at the start of a journey towards the top.

Cooking close to or at the top of its game?

Highly individual with impressive artistry, rarely disappointing in any department.


How warm is the service and the hospitality in general?

How memorable is the experience?

Is the dining room efficiently run by staff who are attentive and responsive?

Does service radiate confidence from start to finish?

Do staff contribute substantially to the atmosphere – to a warm and convivial buzz?

Does the restaurant succeed at every level, with professional, richly satisfying service and ambiance completing the package?

Strength of recommendation

How enthusiastically and widely would you recommend the establishment?

Did you enjoy eating here: was food, service and atmosphere of a sufficiently high standard to make you want to return?

Would you urge friends to go if in the area?

Was it a hugely memorable experience, value for money whatever the cost?

Would you recommend to friends as worth going out of their way to visit?