Restaurants I Have Eaten In

Me and my family at Midsummer House in CambridgeThese are the most notable establishments at which I have dined as a paying customer, or eaten while employed in the kitchens. My list started quite slowly, but it's now expanding rapidly. That's partly because I'm really enjoying a variety of fine dining experiences and partly because I now understand what Ferran Adrià was getting at when, in an interview with John Carlin of Observer Food Monthly, he stressed the need to put yourself in the position of your customers: "The best chefs I know are the ones who most enjoy eating". The more I've developed as a professional chef, the more I understand the importance of this message. I try to eat at as many great restaurants as I can afford!

Of course there are many other restaurants whose food I have sampled, some of dubious quality and one or two that I am now ashamed to admit (when very young, I once held a birthday party in the local branch of a certain litigious US globally-branded fast-food outlet).

The best of the restaurants that I've experienced thus far are, in alphabetical order:

Àbac, in Barcelona, Catalunya
Alkimia, in Barcelona, Catalunya
Arrop, in Gandía, Valencia
Bacchus, in Hoxton, London
Bentley's in Mayfair, London
Boxwood Café, in Knightsbridge, London
Café Spice Namasté, in Aldgate, London
El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, Catalunya
Cinc Sentits, in Barcelona, Catalunya
Comerç 24, in Barcelona, Catalunya
L'Enclume, in Cartmel, Cumbria
Espai Sucre, in Barcelona, Catalunya
Ferrero by Paco Morales and Rut Cotroneo, in Bocairent, Valencia
Gabrielle's, in Westminster, London
La Gigantea at Hotel Mas Passamaner in Tarragona, Catalunya
Gresca, in Barcelona, Catalunya
Guggenheim Bilbao, in Bilbao, Euskadi
Me and my mum at Quique Dacosta Restaurante in Dénia, Valencia
Me cooking for my mum at Comerç 24Inopia, in Barcelona, Catalunya
Koy Shunka, in Barcelona, Catalunya
Landmark London, in Marylebone, London
Lasarte, in Barcelona, Catalunya
Midsummer House, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Morgan M, in Islington, London
Mugaritz, in Errenteria, Euskadi
The Providores And Tapa Room, in Marylebone, London
Quique Dacosta (formerly El Poblet), in Dénia, Valencia
St. John, in Smithfield, London
Sketch Gallery, in Mayfair, London
The Star, in Harome, North Yorkshire
Tamarind, in Mayfair, London
Torrijos, in Valencia, Valencia
Viajante, in Bethnal Green, London
Zuma, in Knightsbridge, London

El Celler de Can Roca is Michelin 3*.
ABaC, Lasarte, Midsummer House, Mugaritz and Quique Dacosta are Michelin 2*.
Alkimia, Arrop, Cinc Sentits, Comerç 24, L'Enclume, St. John, The Star, Tamarind and Torrijos are Michelin 1*.

More information about the best of the restaurants in which I've eaten, including links to my posts writing up the experiences where applicable, can be found in the Restaurants section of my blog.

R.I.P., Great Restaurant

The restaurants I've listed above are all famous - most if not all of them listed in Michelin, Zagat and other restaurant guides. For every "top" restaurant, however, there are thousands of lesser-known establishments and, while most of these are of unremarkable quality (and in many cases that's putting it politely), some of the unknown dining houses are truly splendid, with chefs working with dedication and passion to serve food that represents excellent value for money.

These are some London restaurants that are no longer with us, but which had a profound influence on me as I was growing up:

Eleganza, Stoke Newington
Falafel House, Haverstock Hill
Hodja Nasreddin, Newington Green