Review of the 2023 Part 1: 16 – 36

As ever, we finish with our end of year review. 36 places sampled for your delight in 2023. While this is the lower half, bear in mind that a mark of 17.5 or over is 70%, no mean score in anyone's system. It's been odd year overall. At the top end the scores have been a lot lower than last year. We'll look at that more next week.

Tom's Food! wishes all of you a very happy Christmas. We have rather cut back on the cards this year, but as you've had over 100 columns from me, you're not doing too badly. Have fun.

16= Dakota Grill Glasgow 18.5 Good food in a very stylish basement restaurant. You know what you're going to get at a Dakota. Didn't disappoint.
16= La Lanterna West End Glasgow 18.5 The newish West End offering from the folk who have this Glasgow classic in town. You get what you'd expect, and nothing wrong with that.
16= Lokál Dlouhááá Prague 18.5 On our first visit to Prague 20+ years ago, this was a decidedly scuzzy bar. Now a bustling local with good Czech food, great beer and a terrific atmosphere.
19= The Voyage of Buck Edinburgh 18 Good quality seasonal Scottish fare. Eliminate some silly mistakes and this could have been in this year's top 10.
19= Glaschu Glasgow 18 Place with a stupid unpronounceable Gaelic name, located in The Western Club. The market menu was pretty good: the ALC looks very tempting.
21= The Walnut Edinburgh 17.5 Attractive little place on Leith Walk, popular with locals. Small menu, good food, great value.
21= Mia Italian Kitchen Dalry Edinburgh 17.5 Good, honest, no frills middle of the road, neighbourhood Italian.
23= Bridges Amsterdam 17 Stylish hotel restaurant in what was once a 15th century monastery. As is so often the case in such places, the food was a let down.
23= Zizzi Edinburgh 17 Loved the pizza; hated the prices.
23= Wahaca Edinburgh 17 Mexican chain founded by MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers. Good fun, reasonable food, but has the same problems as all chains with consistency.
23= Valvona & Crolla Edinburgh 17 Am I the only person to feel that V & C (both deli and restaurant) is (a) overrated, and (b) overpriced?
23= Locanda De Gusti Edinburgh 17 Another place going down hill. I fear not all is well in the house of Sartore. Wine & Peach closed; Pizza 1926 under new management; service here flat. A pity.
23= the butterfly and the pig Glasgow 17 Good pub style food served in an eccentric style and setting. Improve the service and you're in the top half.
23= Haar Restaurant with Rooms St Andrews 17 Is Dean Banks spreading himself too thinly? Food good as ever, but ruined by an all time low (1/5) service score.
30= Kanpai Edinburgh 16.5 Sushi great; most other food just OK; service dire. Don't miss the miso aubergine.
30= The Kirklands Hotel Kinross 16.5 Once a coaching inn on the old Great North Road, this is let down by chef's eccentric love affair with his deep fryers.
32= David Bann Edinburgh 16 How are the mighty fallen. This vegetarian place used to enjoy a fabulous reputation. Very ordinary when we visited.
32= Pound Kyoto Ekimae Kyoto 16 Japanese steak house with very fine beef and very weird service.
34= Hamiltons Edinburgh 14.5 Disappointing Stockbridge offering from the same team who have The Voyage of Buck (see above).
34= Langan's Brasserie London 14.5 Ground breaking when it opened in the 1970s. Now stuck in a time warp (apart from the prices).
36 Hicce London 12.5 A very disappointing rip off in Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross. About to close permanently. Can't say I'm sad.


  1. Janet Hood on 22nd December 2023 at 5:01 pm

    Love your blogs Tom

    Merry Christmas to you and Lesley


    • Tom Johnston on 22nd December 2023 at 5:28 pm

      Thank you, my lovely. Same to you. Tom x

Leave a Comment