Review of the Year 2020: Part 1



2020 – Did Anything Happen?

Oh, yes, The Great Plague. And The Great Miracle is that so many restaurants are still going despite a combination of Government capriciousness and ignorance in treating them in the same manner as traditional pubs. In Part 2 we’ll consider those whom we have lost and, remarkably, those we have gained.

Tom Eats! in 2020

With all the privations the trade has suffered, this is not the time to dwell on the minor problems it gave to a restaurant reviewer. We managed 40 columns in total, 25 of which were reviews, ably assisted by guest reviewers David Dickson, Fiona Garwood (author of the most read review of the year), and, most prolifically of all, Miranda Heggie. Thank you all.

For obvious reasons, the range has been much more Edinburgh focussed, with only one outwith the UK. (That Vietnam trips seems a lifetime away.) Incredibly the average score is 19/25. Even allowing for the scoring generosity of most guest reviewers over the years, this is testament to the incredibly high standards we are blessed with. There were only two stinkers, ironically in two beautiful spots. Hang your heads, Edinburgh’s Café Royal Oyster Bar and The Ship Inn in Elie. Everyone else scored in excess of a pass mark.

This year I’ve decided to summarise the results in 2 parts, beginning with 13 – 25. The top 12 will feature next Wednesday.

*** Signifies Guest Reviewer***




One20 Wine Café, Edinburgh 19.5 Scoring 19.5 and yet in the bottom half? Crazy. Lovely father and son place, incorporating wine merchant and deli. Good simple Italian fare served in the back and downstairs.

The Räv, St Andrews 19.5 Visually stunning place. Owned by two lovely alumni of the Uni. Food combines Scottish, Nordic and Mediterranean in the best way.

Fabric, Dunfermline 19.5 The Dunfermline food scene has gone backwards in recent years. Charlie Mohammed’s Fabric is an exception. Still going strong and looking stylish, like the man himself.

The Townhouse Hotel, Melrose 19 Well worth a trip, but if you arrive by rail, take a map. The signposting to town is hellish, but your journey will be worthwhile.

Delta Indian Takeaway, Edinburgh 19 One of very few takeaways we ate in lockdown. My local Indian, regaining its mojo.

Whighams Wine Cellars, Edinburgh 19 A long time favourite. A little stiff when we visited just after lockdown 1, she is stretching her legs and returning to normal.

Whiskers Wine Bar & Bistro, Edinburgh 18.5 Great wee community bistro. A definite asset to Stockbridge.

Le Bistro by Patisserie Maxime, Edinburgh


18 Situated in the French Consulate building. A little piece of Paris in the Royal Mile.
Pizzeria 1926, Edinburgh 17 We’re now dropping below 70 percent. I expected more of a pizzeria run by proud Neapolitan Rosario Sartore, of Locanda de Gusti fame.

The Boat House, South Queensferry 17 After a wee while in the doldrums, this place has the wind back in its sails.

Duong’s Ho Chi Minh City 14 We had some fabulous meals in Vietnam. This was one of the less good ones.

The Ship Inn, Elie 12.5 Oh, how are the mighty fallen. A wonderful location in one of Fife’s prettiest coastal villages. And it used to be so good.

Café Royal Oyster Bar, Edinburgh 9.5 One of the prettiest dining rooms in the UK but, sadly, serving some of the worst food. Hide your heads in shame, Greene King.

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