The very best of Brighton and Hove’s food scene was celebrated at Brighton’s Best Restaurants awards on Monday night (February 20).
The Top 20 restaurants were announced at a packed ceremony held in central Brighton and attended by the cream of the city’s dining scene.
Brighton restaurant 64 Degrees held on to the number one spot for a second year despite three new entries and five restaurants improving on their 2016 standings.
Bincho Yakitori, the popular Japanese grill restaurant, leapt 11 places to take the number two placing, while the recently opened Italian Cin Cin was the highest new entry, bursting into the listings at number six. Fine dining got the thumbs up from the awards’ 150-strong voting panel of experts with Isaac At moving from 20 to 14 and former Fat Duck chef Duncan Ray’s Little Fish Market entering the top five for the first time at number four.
“I’m totally blown away,” said 64 Degrees chef and owner Michael Bremner, after receiving the top award. “I really didn’t expect it again because Brighton has so many good chefs and restaurants. We eat out in this town all the time and we’re constantly impressed with what everyone else is doing.”
Dave Miney, chef/owner of Bincho Yakitori, put the restaurant’s meteoric rise down to Brighton diners’ appreciation of bold flavours. “We are no frills, but people don’t care,” he said. “They’re not interested in the weight of the cutlery or having table clothes. They just want good food.”
Individual awards went to Michael Bremner for Best Chef; Matt Ottley of The Salt Room, who won Best Barkeep; and Cin Cin owner David Toscano did the double on his Brighton’s Best Restaurants debut by scooping Best Welcome and Highest New Entry (no 6). “We opened in November, so I’m speechless to have been recognised so soon,” said Toscano.
Andy Lynes, along with fellow Brighton-based food journalist Patrick McGuigan and 60 Second Reviews supremo Euan MacDonald co-founded and organised the awards. The awards are voted for by experts including food writers, chefs, restaurateurs and business leaders in Brighton and Hove.
Mr Lynes said: “We’re delighted that the new Top 20 reflects Brighton’s dynamic and fast moving restaurant scene. It confirms Brighton as one of the best dining destinations outside London, and one that can stand side by side with cities like Bristol and Edinburgh. There’s something for everyone from innovative small plates to fabulous pizzas and of course great seafood.”
The Top 20, in order, are as follows:
1) 64 Degrees
2) Bincho Yakitori
3) The Chilli Pickle
4) The Little Fish Market
5) The Set
6) Cin Cin
8) The Salt Room
11) The Gingerman
12) Terre a Terre
13) Curry Leaf Cafe
15) The Ginger Pig
16) Fatto a Mano
17) The Urchin
18) The Coal Shed
19) Riddle & Finns
20) Fourth & Church