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Time Out reveals the 20 best places to eat in UK cities, from Southampton to Edinburgh

The 20 best UK city restaurants have been named by Time Out – and the list includes an eatery in Cardiff run by prisoners, a spot in Bath that serves only plant-based fodder and a medieval friary in Newcastle.

The list, says Time Out, celebrates ‘the very best places to eat in UK cities right now, from cheap and innovative new restaurants to fine dining establishments’.

Scroll down if you’re hungry to find out more. The cities are listed in alphabetical order…

The 20 best UK city restaurants have been named by Time Out - is your favourite on the list?

The 20 best UK city restaurants have been named by Time Out - is your favourite on the list? 

Aberdeen – Nargile

An Aberdeen institution, Nargile is home to ‘delicious Turkish cuisine’ says Time Out, with highlights including the meze platter, baklava and ‘impressive vegetarian dishes – a perhaps surprising addition to the kebab-heavy menu’. The guide adds: ‘It is a popular spot to visit before a show at Her Majesty’s Theatre.’

Bath – Acorn

Vegans, vegetarians and meat-lovers alike will need to book ahead for this 100 per cent plant-based, ‘100 per cent delicious’ restaurant’s affordable set lunch menu or the ‘highly-Instagrammable five-course taster menu’, says Time Out.

Belfast – James St

Time Out says of James St: ‘This contemporary restaurant with a focus on classic cooking is perfect for special occasions, with dedicated graduation and pre-theatre menus packed with fresh game, steaks and fish, followed by a range of dessert cocktails including a lemon meringue martini.’

Birmingham – Adam's

Adam's in Birmingham, pictured, 'has a cult-like following, taking diners on a contemporary fine dining adventure'

Adam's in Birmingham, pictured, 'has a cult-like following, taking diners on a contemporary fine dining adventure'

This Michelin-starred eatery, says Time Out, ‘had humble beginnings as a pop-up in a former sandwich shop in 2013’. Now, says the guide, ‘it has a cult-like following, taking diners on a contemporary fine dining adventure with its eight-course menu featuring Orkney scallops and Anjou pigeon with wine pairings’.

Brighton – Food For Friends

An award-winning vegetarian restaurant in the South Lanes specialising in dishes to be shared with the whole table, is how Time Out sums up Food For Friends.

It adds: ‘Food For Friends has become as much of a hit with meat-eaters as vegetarians. From porcini mushroom arancini and king oyster ‘scallops’ to tarka dahl and bao buns, there is something for everyone here.’

Bristol – The Ox

The Ox is cosy but upmarket despite its location below a Wetherspoons, says Time Out

The Ox is cosy but upmarket despite its location below a Wetherspoons, says Time Out

The Ox, says the guide, is ‘a go-to joint for steak and cocktails’.

It adds: ‘The Ox is cosy but upmarket despite its location below a Wetherspoons. For cheaper eats, guests should visit between 5pm and 7pm Monday to Saturday to enjoy a 6oz rump steak, fries, sauce and a glass of house wine for just £15.’

Cambridge – Trinity

This high-end venue will give visitors a taste for the high life: think champagne, oysters, meat, game and more. So says Time Out.

It adds: ’It is a popular spot for those celebrating their academic achievements and other special occasions.’

Cardiff – The Clink

The Clink, explains Time Out, can be found at HMP Cardiff, where prisoners training to work in the hospitality industry turn top-quality local Welsh produce into fine dining dishes. It adds: ‘Run by The Clink Charity, this isn’t just a place to eat great food, it is a place that is doing great things too.’

Edinburgh – Aizle

At Aizle you'll encounter 'bistronomy' - 'a tasting menu featuring fresh local food in an informal atmosphere'

At Aizle you'll encounter 'bistronomy' - 'a tasting menu featuring fresh local food in an informal atmosphere'

Since opening in 2014, Chef Stuart Ralston and front-of-house Krystal Goff have been purveyors of the ‘bistronomy’ concept, the guide explains, showcasing a tasting menu featuring fresh local food in an informal atmosphere, where the latest ingredients Chef Ralston will be working with are detailed on the wall.

Glasgow – Alchemilla

Time Out is full of praise for Alchemilla, not least because of its all-round good looks.

It says: ‘Local restaurateur Fergus McVicar and former Ottolenghi chef Rosie Healey set up this seriously cool Glasgow spot that looks as good as the food tastes. The Mediterranean-inspired small and medium sharing plates are ever-changing, with a menu based on what’s fresh and available, including shaved kohlrabi, fennel and herbs and sea bass carpaccio, orange and chilli.’

Leeds – Aagrah

Britain isn’t short of curry houses, but this one stands out from the crowd.

Time Out says: ‘Part of a Yorkshire chain, this legendary curry house has been family-run since the late ’70s and has become a staple of the Northern dining scene. It is known for its best-in-class Kashmiri dishes, including the exceptional Hyderabadi chicken.’

Liverpool – The Art School Restaurant

The Art School Restaurant is the perfect spot for a pre or post-cultural meal, says the guide

The Art School Restaurant is the perfect spot for a pre or post-cultural meal, says the guide

Housed in an old Victorian ‘home for destitute children’, The Art School Restaurant is the perfect spot for a pre or post-cultural meal, given its proximity to both the Liverpool Philharmonic and the Everyman theatre, says Time Out.

It adds: ‘Its masterfully prepared British menu includes twice-baked cheese soufflé and roast breast of Scottish grouse with thyme-scented honey.’

London – Kiln

Kiln, says Time Out, is a simple and stripped-back Soho spot serving a menu of exciting Thai barbecue dishes

Kiln, says Time Out, is a simple and stripped-back Soho spot serving a menu of exciting Thai barbecue dishes

London is one of planet earth’s greatest foodie cities, so Kiln should be rather proud to have been picked out for this ranking.

Time Out says: ‘This simple and stripped-back Soho spot serves a menu of exciting Thai barbecue dishes, with quality British-sourced meat and fish chargrilled in front of diners who brave sitting at the counter in front of the furnace. Hits include the tender, Burmese-spiced short-rib curry and the nightly specials.’

Manchester – Where The Light Gets In

Where The Light Gets In is off Greater Manchester’s beaten track, but well worth a visit

Where The Light Gets In is off Greater Manchester’s beaten track, but well worth a visit

This one is apparently worth a diversion – if you don’t live in Stockport.

Time Out says: ‘Located in the loft of a restored Victorian coffee warehouse in Stockport, Where The Light Gets In is off Greater Manchester’s beaten track, but well worth the visit. Many ingredients featured on the outstanding seasonal tasting menu are sourced from the proprietors’ nearby farm, and everything is complemented by an impressive wine list and top-notch service.’

Newcastle – Blackfriars Restaurant

At Blackfriars diners can enjoy a whole suckling pig with all the trimmings

At Blackfriars diners can enjoy a whole suckling pig with all the trimmings

At Blackfriars Restaurant, diners can go full medieval-themed banquet (for large groups booking in advance), says the guide, or simply enjoy fine European dining in a unique setting: a 13th-century friary. 

It adds: ‘Those going all-out can enjoy a whole suckling pig with all the trimmings, or simply the rare-breed pork belly, black pudding mash, leeks and apple gravy.’

Nottingham – Sat Bains

One of the dishes diners can enjoy at Sat Bains
Forge Bakehouse offers a ‘creative brunch menu, monthly supper clubs and themed evenings, cocktails and more’, explains the guide

One of the dishes diners can enjoy at Sat Bains (left). Pictured right is an example of the fodder on offer at Forge Bakehouse in Sheffield

The location is edgy – the food at this two-Michelin-star restaurant exquisite.

Time Out says: ‘Diners might not expect to find this once-in-a-lifetime seven-course tasting experience – one of the fanciest entries in this list – on the edge of an industrial estate by the River Trent. Highlight dishes include veal croquettes and Anjou pigeon.’

Oxford – Oli’s Thai

A dish served up at Oli's Thai in Oxford, which Time Out says is 'super-affordable'

A dish served up at Oli's Thai in Oxford, which Time Out says is 'super-affordable'

‘It may be no surprise that the best restaurant in Oxford is also one of the hardest to get a table at, but it may shock some that it is a super-affordable suburban Thai spot taking the accolade,’ says Time Out. After booking weeks in advance, diners can enjoy ‘hero dishes including a signature chickpea salad and duck massaman curry’.

Sheffield – Forge Bakehouse

Forge Bakehouse offers a ‘creative brunch menu, monthly supper clubs and themed evenings, cocktails and more’, explains the guide. It adds: ‘This humble bakery is home to some of the best bread in the city, baked fresh every day next to the cafe, which makes the best bed for its Mexican-style huevos rancheros.’

Southampton – Dancing Man Brewery

Nothing fancy here, just top-end comfort food.

Time Out says: ‘Bringing the Deep South to Hampshire, brewpub and restaurant Dancing Man serves Southern-style comfort food – pickled okra and pork crackling cornbread, cherry cola-glazed wings, succotash beans and gumbo – to accompany its hoppy, house-brewed beer.’

York – Skosh

Skosh specialises in 'small plates from around the world'. Time Out recommends the buttermilk fried chicken thighs

Skosh specialises in 'small plates from around the world'. Time Out recommends the buttermilk fried chicken thighs

The chefs here are clearly worldly.

Time Out says: ‘Specialising in small plates from around the world, this York restaurant invites diners to take a seat at the bar to watch chefs create dishes from Japan, the US, the Middle East and Spain. Try the buttermilk fried chicken thighs with aerated hollandaise.’

To see more of the best restaurants in dozens of cities around the world, visit timeout.com/eatlist.

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