The best reviewed restaurants of 2013

Each week, we pull together the review scores awarded by the nations best restaurant critics and add them to our reviews section.

As the year draws to a close we've taken a look back at a year's worth of national critic reviews and pulled together the restaurants that were best reviewed throughout the year. Restaurants had to have opened in 2013 and earned a minimum of three reviews to make the cut (we've also listed a prominent few that just missed out) - so here's what turned critics' heads this year...

PLUS - if you rate any of these restaurants yourself - don't forget to vote for it as Best New Restaurant of 2013


Gymkhana - overall score 8.5/10

"With every bite of rich, light, soft, crispy, deep, shallow, high, low, spicy, bland, sweet, sour mouthful my palate was revitalised, my enthusiasm for the fray revivified." Giles Coren - Times

"Give thanks, then, for Gymkhana, the new Mayfair restaurant from Karam Sethi of Trishna in Marylebone, which manages to be glossy and yet still deliver food with a serious kick and intent." Jay Rayner - Observer

See all the Gymkhana reviews

LeCoq - overall score 8.5/10

"...add in the expertly-judged sides, the interesting (and resolutely British) starters and the finest roast potatoes in town you have yourself a real gem of a place." Chris Pople - Cheese & Biscuits

"(The chickens') habitat is made manifest in texture, flavour and appearance — fat, shiny cushions merrily revolving. The meat is tender but agreeably confrontational, the taste lends positive definition to the phrase old-fashioned. A little jug of the juices described as “unadulterated” comes with the serving and only a mug would not order the potatoes and garlic cloves that roast in the dripping chicken fat." Fay Maschler - Evening Standard

See all the LeCoq reviews

Peckham Bazaar - overall score 8.5/10

"There is verve and seasoning knocking on palate’s door in the crisply fried red lentil kofte that perch beside a heap of shiny pomegranate seeds and a swirl of butternut squash purée." Fay Maschler - Evening Standard

"John is cooking the kind of food he likes to eat, and as has been proved time and time again, this is the one surefire way of making the kind of food other people want to eat too. Trust them, and trust me - this is food that's worth travelling for." Chris Pople - Cheese & Biscuits

See all the Peckham Bazaar reviews

The Dairy - overall score 8.5/10

"The Dairy really is an unusual place; it looks like an ordinary bar, pretty cool, a bit New Yorky; the food is Strada-ly priced (yes, that is a word) but genuinely experimental." Zoe Williams - Telegraph

"This is fantastic, creative cooking – reasonably priced, served in an unpretentious fashion with passion and professionalism, in a fun, low-key setting. Here’s hoping the locals like sharing their good fortune." Joe Warwick - Metro

See all the Dairy reviews

Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel - overall score 8/10

"When I went I ate a perfectly good skirt steak with dripping chips and an onion fritter, a cobnut salad (which comes with salad cream, of which I’m a shameless fan), plus a date pudding with marmalade ice cream and treacle sauce. ‘Yes’ to all of this." Grace Dent - Evening Standard

"This is, indeed, how hoi polloi should eat: unfussy and surrounded by warmth. Goodness knows what Thucydides would have made of it, but I shall be coming back time and again." Amol Rajan - Independent

See all the Hoi Polloi reviews

Marianne - overall score 8/10

"The cheese board included a brie truffled on the premises, which pretty much sums up Lumb's attention to detail. Her food isn't grabby, or agenda-setting, but it's terrific, and there's a novelty factor to Marianne which could well make it A Thing for wealthy west London types." Tracey MacLeod - Independent

"Despite having her name above the door, on our visit Marianne resisted the urge to come out and gladhand the room into declaring her cooking wonderful. Which is a pity, because it was. Wonderful." Tania Ballantine - Time Out

See all the Marianne reviews

Mayfields - overall score 8/10

"The simple interior has been enlivened by a pine feature wall with architectural-salvage lighting but it’s really all about the friendly service, cosy vibe and, of course, the food. I can’t wait to try the other half of the menu." Andy Lynes - Metro

"The cliché would be to describe Mayfields as a neighbourhood restaurant. And yes, it is in a neighbourhood, but it's so much more than that. I imagine that, in years to come, all the people involved here will go on to much bigger things. I doubt, though, that any of those things will ever be quite as exciting as Mayfields." Jay Rayner - Observer

See all the Marianne reviews

Casse Croute - overall score 8/10

"I'd come here weekly if I could. This is reasonably priced food designed to deliver pleasure from chaps who know how to have a good time. They've recreated a France viewed through rosé-filled glasses. Santé." Marina O'Loughlin - Guardian

"London’s been blessed with some great new restaurants this year, including chef Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store (my favorite so far); Jason Atherton’s Little Social and Social Eating House; and Eric Chavot’s Brasserie Chavot. This tiny bistro is up there with those big beasts." Richard Vines - Bloomberg

See all Casse Croute reviews

Otto's - overall score 8/10

"The wine list is of the kind written by a man who wants you to share his enthusiasms. It's full of big sexy names priced according to cost plus a fixed margin, so it's also full of big sexy bargains. Have I sold it to you? Do you want to go? No? Then clearly you have no soul." - Jay Rayner - Observer

"...the experience really is made by the presence of Otto himself. We have barely spoken to him, yet on leaving it feels like we know – from his food and his brow – a great deal about this charismatic man. And his passion makes me want to come back." Amol Rajan - Independent

See all the Otto's reviews

Story - overall score 8/10

"...'and this is our famous rabbit sandwich,' said our waitress. Holy mother of not-swearing, it was amazing – the size of a cocktail sausage, shredded rabbit in the middle, a maizey carapace, scented with tarragon and with three particoloured slices of carrot, pickled in bergamot, across the top." Zoe Williams - Telegraph

"This is a very, very good lunch and I will forgive it its little jokes, like serving three-bears porridge — too sweet, too salty and just right — because they were all interesting and the children thought it was simply brilliant that a grown-up dining room would bring their stories to life." AA Gill - Sunday Times

See all the Story reviews

Cafe Murano - overall score 7.5/10

"I don’t want to review my spinach and ricotta tortelli as much as compose a hymn to it. When I finish the dish, I feel like shouting ‘encore’. I should probably calm down – it’s just a plate of pasta, after all. But there’s just something thrilling about the little parcels of ethereally light cheese and veg in their gossamer-thin wrappers anointed with a simple butter sauce." - Andy Lynes - Metro

"...am I daft to rattle off an almost entirely uncritical review? I used to work 100 yards from Café Murano and it was impossible to find a wonderful plate of pasta anywhere. For that alone, it deserves our love." Lisa Markwell - Independent

See all the Cafe Murano reviews

Foxlow - overall score 7.5/10

"I’m a person of enthusiasms. I’ve been going back to Foxlow almost as much as to Gymkhana, my favorite new restaurant of the year. Richard Vines - Bloomberg

"Also available as a side, starter or main, they’ve decided to rescue the concept of the salad bar from sneeze-guards and mass-market chains. Lemon-roasted carrots and fennel, and little gem with Parmesan dressing, were the standouts in our five-strong selection plated by the kitchen." Joe Warwick - Metro

See all the Foxlow reviews

Kirazu - overall score 7.5/10

"...everything we try from karaage and chicken teriyaki to the Osaka-born speciality that is takoyaki (octopus-filled balls of batter) are accomplished reminders of why I love Japanese food." Joe Warwick - Metro

"Kirazu is popular with young hip Japanese. There is a feeling of fun — not always on the menu at Japanese establishments — and when the chef emerges from his kitchen at the back he looks to be enjoying himself. As you do when you achieve a place of your own and it is mainly word-of-mouth that fills it from the start." Fay Maschler - Evening Standard

See all the Kirazu reviews

Smokehouse - overall score 7.5/10

"A chopped brisket roll with gochujang (spicy Korean pepper condiment) is outrageously good. Crisp, complexly flavoured crumb, soft shredded meat inside and a piquant but not eye-melting sauce. One of these, with that salad and a glass from the ace wine list would make a lunch worth crossing town for." Lisa Markwell - Independent

"Stovies are a Scottish dish of leftovers, a bit like bubble and squeak. Here, a very superior version uses flavoursome lamb rather than ‘mystery meat’. Pit-roasted corn on the cob, slathered with a buttery smoked béarnaise sauce, shows that a real barbecue expert doesn’t just sear flesh." Guy Dimond - Time Out

See all the Smokehouse reviews

Toasted - overall score 7.5/10

"Toast is resolutely, recognisably Modern British in the Clove Club/Dairy mold, and draws its influence from that new wave of thrusting new London brasseries rather than anywhere on the continent." Chris Pople - Cheese & Biscuits

"In a typical dish, fresh English peas are dressed with garlic butter and topped with raw egg yolk drizzled with lemon oil, then garnished with toasted almond. The result is dramatically colourful and savoury." Guy Dimond - Time Out

See all the Toasted reviews

Grain Store - overall score 7.5/10

"But it was damn good. Really, a great big hairy serious bloody French chef turning his hand to foragey-woragey Nordbrit diddy-plates in a graphic designer’s orgasm of architecty steel and glass with lashings of top-quality booze. Probably one of the places of the year." Giles Coren - Times

"Much has been made of Grain Store’s emphasis on vegetables and the idea of making them, as is currently fashionable, the star of the show. Animal protein is cast in a supporting role. For the most part it works wonderfully well." Joe Warwick - Metro

See all the Grain Store reviews

The Clove Club - overall score 7.5/10

"It might all sound a bit too fashion-forward but it’s not. Restaurant trends come and go but old-fashioned hospitality, of which there are large helpings on offer here, never goes out of style." Joe Warwick - Metro

"...Clove Club is above parody, mainly because what it does, it does very well indeed. Take it with a pinch of artisanal salt, because it’s one of the restaurants that will define this year." Guy Dimond - Time Out

See all the Clove Club reviews

Little Social - overall score 7.5/10

"Slow-cooked egg, mushrooms and croutons recline in a bowl and at the table are covered in a cashmere pouring of Parmesan and squash soup — extraordinarily cosseting." Fay Maschler - Evening Standard

"It's not every day you can give a restaurant five stars for design and atmosphere, but Little Social's intimate room is irresistible. The food nearly gets five stars for invention, polish and presentation; and the sausage-and-beefburger heartiness that robs it of top billing is, paradoxically, one of its great attractions." John Walsh - Independent

See all the Little Social reviews

Social Eating House - overall score 7.5/10

"It's a punchbowl of different ingredients that manages to end up being quintessentially Soho, with warm, assured service and wonderful food." Marina O'Loughlin - Guardian

"Back in the restaurant, with its mirrored ceiling, there’s a well-travelled playfulness and pomposity-free creativity to the menu, which doesn’t make a meal out of making a meal of British ingredients – a welcome antidote to the current fashion for reheated French bourgeois classics and po-faced ‘local’ provenance." Joe Warwick - Metro

See all the Social Eating House reviews


Honorary mentions

There were a couple of restaurants that just missed the list because they didn't have enough reviews, but they are so highly rated that we must mention them...


Rita's Bar and Dining - 8/10

"Star of the show is miso-grilled aubergine and mushroom toban. In his bread-and-butter email my companion refers to this assembly — where vegetarians take on meat eaters on their own terms — as “a roarer and piss-head noodling good” Fay Maschler - Evening Standard

See all the Rita's reviews


Koya Bar - 8/10

"If it’s udon you’re after and you don’t fancy waiting in line at Koya, you don’t have to – the noodles at Koya Bar are every bit as good, judging by the Kinoko Hiya-Atsu I tried – my favourite cold-udon-meets-hot-broth combination, made with mushrooms and walnut miso." Joe Warwick - Metro

See all the Koya Bar reviews


Prawn on the Lawn - 8/10

"...it’s a treat of a place, a real lobster and champagne treat if you fancy that, with positively affectionate service — plus that ever- so-close encounter with a whole lot of fish out of water." David Sexton - Evening Standard

See all the Prawn on the Lawn reviews


PLUS - if you rate any of these restaurants yourself - don't forget to vote for it as Best New Restaurant of 2013

To see how more restaurants are rated, view all our restaurant reviews.