Six of the best restaurants to dine well – but not spend a fortune
Featuring a ‘rustic’ bistro in Dartmouth and a ‘lively’ restaurant on Margate’s Harbour Arm
Here’s a selection of restaurants newly awarded a Bib Gourmand in the 2022 Michelin Guide. The award is given to establishments offering good food at competitive prices.
Stone Pier, Margate
From the team behind east London favourite Brawn comes this “lively, simply decorated” restaurant on Margate’s Harbour Arm. The menu emphasises fresh ingredients cooked in a straightforward manner. Dishes might include smoked eel, bacon, watercress and radishes, or skate wing with brown butter, capers and monk’s beard. The terrace offers “great views”.
Lynn Road, Fakenham, Norfolk
This former mill, beside the River Wensum, has been turned into a “bang-up-to-date” hotel-restaurant, replete with “bright, beamed rooms and roaring fires”. Dishes are well-judged and flavoursome – and there’s a good choice for vegetarians. Come summer, the “waterside terrace with its outside kitchen is the perfect spot”.
5 Lower Street, Dartmouth, Devon
It “speaks volumes” that this “rustic, on-trend” small plates bistro often has a queue outside, said Michelin. Chef Luca Berardino – born in Paris, but from an Italian family – cooks in a modern European style, with an emphasis on bold flavours. Dishes include Brixham crab with apple, ginger and lemon sorrel, and stir-fried sprouts with miso caramel, chilli, garlic and ginger.
Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, London W1
Imad’s Syrian Kitchen
The life and times of Imad Alarnab, eponymous owner of this Soho restaurant, would make a great film: he was a top chef in Damascus before fleeing during Syria’s civil war. His “eagerness to please” underpins this venture, which has been hugely popular since opening last year. The generous, keenly priced sharing plates – such as Jaj Barghol grilled chicken thigh with bulgur wheat – “never fail to hit the spot”.
22 High Street, Waterford, Ireland
This unpretentious bistro in the heart of Waterford showcases the “best of the Irish larder”. In its “characterful” vaulted downstairs room, customers can enjoy “confidently crafted, flavoursome dishes”, such as braised shoulder of Comeragh mountain lamb with coco beans, carrot and smoked almond. Great care is taken with the cooking – and there’s real generosity in how it’s served.
11a North Hill, Colchester
Chef Paul Wendholt used to run the popular Grain on this site, before closing it during the pandemic. His new venture specialises in small tasting plates and snacks, often with a “subtle Japanese influence”. Dishes might include a lentil and chestnut mushroom slider with brioche and miso, or grey mullet with shitake mushroom and black garlic. Service is friendly and informal, and there’s a chef’s table for those who “like to see the kitchen action close up”.