Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel voted UK’s number 1 restaurant in Harden’s national diners’ poll

Simon Rogan at L’Enclume

L’Enclume in Cartmel voted to number 1 spot in Harden’s Top 100 Best UK Restaurants, followed by Outlaw’s New Road in Port Isaac, and Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland.

Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria has been voted the UK’s best restaurant in the carefully curated annual Harden’s Top 100 Best UK Restaurants diners’ poll.

The Lake District dining destination has featured in the Harden’s Top 100 every year since the list first launched in 2011, but this is the first time it has reached the top spot. Feedback from diners hailed it as “a completely faultless experience” marshalling the finest local produce – much of it from Simon’s ‘Our Farm’ on the surrounding hillsides – to provide “a symphony of beautifully orchestrated food”. Click here to read about our visit.

Peter Harden, co-founder of Harden’s, comments: “L’Enclume has always been consistent in its top quality offering and it was wonderful to hear the recent news that Paul Burgalières, who has been a key figure in L’Enclume’s evolution over the past six years, has now been appointed Executive Chef. Coming in at £300+ including drinks and service, it’s certainly one of the higher priced restaurants in our listings, but we see none of the resistance from diners with regards to paying those prices that we’ve witnessed at other top establishments. Those who’ve made the pilgrimage think it’s money very well spent.”

Simon Rogan at L’Enclume

Chef Owner Simon Rogan says: “My team and myself are honoured that L’Enclume has been rated the number 1 restaurant in the UK by diners on behalf of Harden’s. To have been featured in Harden’s Top 100 every year since its inception in 2011 is an amazing achievement and being awarded the top spot for the 2024 edition is a testament to the amazing year we’ve had.”

A total of 30,000 reports are submitted from a survey of 2,500 diners. Restaurants at all price levels are included: from street food vendors to the country’s most ambitious dining rooms, with 2,800 restaurants listed in total.

Newcomers Solstice (Newcastle), Grace & Savour (Hampton in Arden) and Ugly Butterfly (St Ives) are some of the UK’s newest eateries to have swiftly hit this year’s list, along with Bouchon Racine, Restaurant St Barts and Alex Dilling in London.

Strikingly, the number of Top 100 restaurants based in the capital has fallen to an all-time low. Usually expected to make up between 45-50% of the final rankings, this year only 36 of the UK’s best restaurants are located in London.

Peter Harden comments: “London’s grip on the Top 100 list is the weakest that we have ever recorded (the lowest previous figure was 41 in the 2020 guide). Whilst 12 months is too little data for firm pronouncements, this swing to the shires may reflect the increasing excellence of dining out across the country.”

Yet it is not regional cities that are driving any swing from London, but destination dining in scenic locations as demonstrated by this year’s top placed establishments.

“Unlike in other European countries, our greatest cities still tend to lack depth when it comes to quality restaurants at the top end,” says Peter. “The closest any city comes to London’s 36 in the Top 100 is Edinburgh and Cambridge with just 3 apiece.  England’s largest cities like Birmingham and in particular Manchester have a large number of total entries in the guide, but proportionately fewer at the top end in the Top 100 or Top 500.  With 8 entries in the Top 500, Brighton beats either location in this department.  Top dining in the sticks is often just that, with Top 100 restaurants outside London often to be found in leafy touristic locations such as this year’s winner, L’Enclume in The Lake District; or the number 2 on the list: Outlaw’s New Road in scenic Port Issac.

Harden’s Restaurant Finder can be downloaded from the Apple or Google App stores. The app is free, but full functionality can be purchased for an annual subscription of £8.99.

Harden’s Best UK Restaurants 2024, £20, is available in all good bookshops, including Waterstone’s and Amazon.com, and from www.hardens.com.

Emma

Emma

Hello!

I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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