UK chefs on the restaurants they can’t wait to visit in 2023

Looking for restaurant inspiration in 2023? Why not gather tips from those most in the know? We ask nine top UK chefs to share the restaurants they're most excited to dine at this year

Words by Isabelle Aron

uk chefs adriana cavita, luke french and james cochran

It’s safe to say that the last few years have been challenging in the world of hospitality. That’s why it’s so great to see that 2023 is set to be an exciting year for new restaurants. But what sort of new openings can we expect this year?

If anyone has the inside knowledge, it’s chefs, so we asked 9 of them from around the UK to share the places that they’re most looking forward to visiting this year. Covering London, the UK and a few suggestions further afield, their recommendations include the much talked about AngloThai in London, where the menu will fuse British and Thai flavours, Gwen by Gareth Ward in Wales, and the new branch of Noble Rot in Mayfair. 

So, if you’re looking for some inspiration on where to go for some really special meals this year, we’ve got you covered. Read on for 2023 restaurant recommendations for top UK chefs.

9 chefs on the restaurants they can’t wait to visit this year

James Cochran

James Cochran

Chef and co-owner of 12:51 and Valderrama’s

‘There are so many new openings to be excited about – AngloThai in Fitzrovia, the new Noble Rot in Mayfair.

‘However, it’s not just London – there’s so much talent flying about in the UK. I’m buzzing for the opening of Gwen by Gareth Ward in Wales and The Beckford Canteen in Bath. I like to escape to the Cotswolds when I can get out of London, and George Barson’s menu sounds up my street: the monkfish with cauliflower and curried butter for example – it’s a riff on a classic combo. Catch me there once it’s open…’

adriana cavita

Adriana Cavita

Chef-owner, Cavita

‘I am really keen to visit Gareth Ward’s new restaurant Gwen in Wales, it’s going to to be a super-tiny, cosy place with room for about ten diners only. I’ve followed him for a while and I’m sure it will be as exceptional as Ynyshir.

‘The next place I am looking forward to visiting is the new Darjeeling Express in Soho. Asma Khan is one of my idols, I love the way she runs her kitchen and her food is always delicious.

‘Finally, my friends at Makan are relocating their Singaporean restaurant to a new site in Mexico City their food is so vibrant.’

David Taylor chef Grace & Savour

David Taylor

Head chef at Grace & Savour

‘There are some places I’m really excited about this year. James Goodyear is a good friend of mine who was previously at Maaemo, Le Manoir, Mugaritz and Hide. He’s just finished up as head chef of Adam’s in Birmingham and is moving to Evelyn’s Table in London to take over from the Selby brothers. I’m really excited to see him express himself and his food there.

The openings from last year in London I am still excited about are The Ledbury, Alex Dilling at Café Royal and Studio Frantzen.

Alex Bond has just opened Mollis Chicken in Nottingham, his fried chicken looks super-delicious.’

chef pip lacey

Pip Lacey

Chef-owner, Hicce Hart

‘I’d like to go to St Barts. The fact that it’s been opened by a group of friends that are living their dream makes me smile. It’s daunting opening a restaurant in the current climate. But doing it with a friend or friends can deliver aspirations. The interiors from the photos look great – I’m loving the furniture. And I’m sure the food will match up.

‘I still haven’t made it to Sessions Art Club. The food looks unpretentious and very tasty. I could eat everything on the menu. Hopefully you can get a table now, I gave up when it first opened as it seemed impossible.

‘Now that we’ve opened a pub, I’m always on keen to see what others are up, so I’m also keen to visit The Baring and The Audley Public House.’

Dipna Anand at Somerset House

Dipna Anand

Chef-owner, Dipna Anand at Somerset House

‘I love trying new places. I fully appreciate the amount of hard work and passion that goes into opening up a new restaurant and always try to show my support by visiting new eateries. 

‘One I really cannot wait to visit is Socca by Claude Bosi and Samyukta Nair, who will be dishing up French Riviera classics in Mayfair. You just know it’s going to be class from this esteemed French chef.

‘Another place that I am excited about is AngloThai, said to be opening up in the summer of 2023 by John and Desiree Chantarasak in London. It’s a fusion of Thai and British flavours and that alone just gets the taste buds tingling! 

‘And then I am looking forward to trying the ham croquettes and other Iberican dishes at Joia in London by Portuguese chef Henrique Sa Pessoa, who is famous for his restaurant Alma in Lisbon. It will open in the new Battersea Power Station development and showcase the chef’s unique heritage from Catalonia and Portugal alongside British and Iberian produce.’

chantelle nicholson

Chantelle Nicholson

Chef-owner, Apricity

‘I’m most excited about Rambutan from Cynthia Shanmugalingam and also AngloThai from John and Desiree Chantarasak. Both promise incredible food, and are being run by wonderful people.

‘I’m also super-excited to try the newly opened Sichuan Fry – the food looks amazing, and again, it’s from a team of great people.’

Luke French, JÖRO

Luke French

Chef patron of JÖRO

‘There are so many new openings I’m really looking forward to for this year. Gwen in Machynlleth, Wales, is the new opening by Gareth Ward of Ynyshir. The talented Corrin Harrison is heading up the kitchen, and it’s going to be a mega little restaurant. I can’t wait to visit when they open soon.

‘There’s also Grass Fed, which is opening in London and is being headed up by Paul Foster from the incredible Salt in Stratford Upon Avon, who will be cooking grass-fed beef over fire. It will be epic.

‘Another London destination I’m looking forward to is the return of David Thompson with Long Chim – this is going to be a guaranteed mega Thai restaurant, which will slap hard.

Giovann Attard, Executive Head Chef of Norma

Giovann Attard

Executive head chef, Norma

‘Towards the end of last year, I kept hearing about Saltie Girl. I grew up on the island of Gozo in Malta, so I really love my seafood – and the offering is very intriguing, with dishes like the lobster waffle. It also has a tin list on the menu, including tinned mussels, sardines and squid, which I’m excited to explore, so I will definitely be giving this restaurant a try this year. 

‘I’ve heard great things about Straker’s by Thomas Straker as well, another restaurant I’m longing to visit this year. The menu here is the kind of food I love to eat – proper comfort food!

Cycene by Blue Mountain School headed by chef Theo Clench is another place I’d like to go. Although it is fine dining, I read that the atmosphere he has tried to create is like dining in a private home, which I really love. It’s a unique experience that I’m keen to try.

‘I’m also looking forward to a few restaurants which are opening in the next few months, particularly Archway by Chef Alex Owens – she described the food as “honest without any frills” and I value that kind of cooking, where the produce and dishes speak for themselves. 

‘Further afield, I’ve always been intrigued by Josh Niland’s fish butchery. He’s opening Petermen, a new restaurant over in Sydney, which I would really like to try. I love the idea of using everything with little to no waste.’

Sameer Taneja, Benares Mayfair

Sameer Taneja

Executive chef, Benares

‘I’m really looking forward to visiting Ynyshir this year to sample Gareth Ward’s dishes for myself. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few months ago and was impressed by his dedication and hard work – it seems like he’s doing great stuff there.

‘There are so many others I’d like to try too but some stand-out restaurants are Studio Frantzen (at the top of Harrods) and Ikoyi in London.

‘I’d love to try some international gems like Enigma in Barcelona and Azurmendi in Spain, too. There’s so much talent in the industry at the moment and it’s great to see.’

Lewis de Haas CRISPIN

Lewis de Haas

Head chef, Crispin

‘I’m most looking forward to eating at The Barley Mow in Mayfair or The Princess Royal in Notting Hill. I have been a big fan of Ben Tish for a long time now and still haven’t made it to one of the Cubitt House restaurants or pubs where he now oversees the food. Ben’s cooking is always packed full of flavour and every menu is so moreish, so they are firmly on my list to try this year.

‘And, I’m sure this will be on lots of people’s lists, but Quo Vadis in Soho is always a favourite. I’m so looking forward to revisiting it after the refurbishment. I love Jeremy [Lee]’s approach to food and his passion and approach are a source of inspiration for me.’