Last year’s Number One restaurant has done it again in 2023 with Bincho Yakitori’s take on Japanese barbecue proving irresistible to our voters.
Diners are transported to a Tokyo backstreet at this authentic izakaya style diner that, since opening in 2015, has become a Brighton institution.
Chef Dave Miney began his career working for the likes of Rick Stein, Simon Hopkinson at Bibendum and Henry Harris at the Fifth Floor at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge before spending three years in Japan. His intention was to learn about kaiseki fine dining, but found himself drawn to the more casual izakaya restaurants, the Tokyo equivalent of a gastropub.
Now, whenever Bincho Yakitori (bincho is a Japanese charcoal grill and yakitori translate as ‘grilled bird’) is open, Dave is there manning the grill, preparing signature dishes including skewers of chicken and spring onion, slow-cooked pork belly skewers and the addictive kara age (Japanese fried chicken) that customers book weeks ahead to eat and return for time and time again.
63 Preston Street
Brighton BN1 2HE
Sponsored by Blakes
Little Fish Market chef/owner Duncan Ray has clinched the award for the fourth year running. The Surrey-born chef has worked in some of the best kitchens in Europe, including L’Ortolan, The Fat Duck, Lettonie and the three-Michelin starred Georges Blanc in eastern France. After several years travelling, he returned to the UK at the age of 23 to take the head chef role at Penny Hill Park Hotel, before spending several years as a private chef, cooking for A-listers and royalty. He then ran The Five Alls in the Cotswolds, before opening The Little Fish Market in 2013.
The Little Fish Market
10 Upper Market St, Hove BN3 1AS
Sponsored by Bewdog
Best Front of House
“Comfort, tradition and warmth” are the watchwords of this welcoming bistro on Church Road, which opened in 2018 and became an instant hit for its warm, intimate vibe that demonstrates classic hospitality exactly as it should be. Attentive without ever being intrusive, Faye and James Thompson make guests feel like diners at the home of an old friend, expertly working the room with an ease and comfort that encourages locals to return again and again.
Add in Brighton’s Best Wine List (as decided by our panel of wine experts at this year’s awards) and an excellent-value midweek lunch, and you have the perfect neighbourhood restaurant that ticks all the boxes.
42 Church Road
Hove BN3 2FN
Sponsored by Moth
Best New Opening
This tiny 20-seater restaurant on Western Road has made a stunning debut on our Top 20 list by taking second place in its first year of trading, and earning it the Best New Opening award in the process.
It’s a remarkable achievement for owners and chefs Kanthi Thamma and Diego Ricaurte. The pair, who hail from India and Ecuador, respectively, skilfully blend the different cuisines of their countries on the often-changing menu of small plates. South American-style crab empanadas with tamarillo chilli could be served alongside Keralan stew of pollock, squash and leek moilee, and the two just seem to work together thanks to a shared love of fragrant spices.
A buzzy atmosphere, sweet service and great music (a record player is often spinning next to the open kitchen) are further reasons to visit.
16 Western Rd
Sponsored by Enotria
Best Sunday Lunch
The Ginger Pig
Listed as one of the ten best pubs in the UK by GQ Magazine in 2020, the Ginger Pig serves up traditional food sourced from some of Sussex’s best suppliers. The a la carte Sunday lunch here could begin with Irish rock oysters and shallot vinegar, followed by roast sirloin of beef or a chicken and ham hock pie. It’s a Sunday pub lunch with bells on.
The Ginger Pig
3 Hove Street
Hove BN3 2TR
Sponsored by The Cheese Man
Best Wine List
Wild Flor has made this award their own in recent years, and 2023 is no different. By far and away the most popular choice among voters, Wild Flor’s wine list is cleverly constructed with a focus on key regions, including Burgundy, Rhone and Piedmont, alongside international wines in similar styles. There are also plenty of one-offs, rare bottles and idiosyncratic choices from Wild Flor co-owner and wine expert Rob Maynard, who works with numerous suppliers to secure unique and hard-to-find labels.
Add in fair pricing and the option to bring your own bottle for a reasonable corkage fee (£20), plus a large choice by the glass or carafe, and there are multiple reasons for wine lovers to visit.
42 Church Road
Hove BN3 2FN
Sponsored by L&S Printing
Best OctoberBest Menu
This terrific taqueria on Preston Street was a huge hit with diners during our annual OctoberBest restaurant festival, who booked in their hundreds to try its special seven-dish menus at £25 a head.
Modern Mexican small plates and tacos offered up in three bespoke menus – meat, fish and vegan – proved to be a winning combination, including (respectively) such dishes as short rib and brisket tacos; pan-fried mackerel (caught that morning on the beach) with smacked cucumber, and barbecued tenderstem with ancho satay sauce. The extensive margarita menu, enthusiastic FOH and lively Mexican playlist added to the fun, and diners were even sent home with a bottle of Halisco’s homemade chilli sauce.
To top it off, the restaurant ran a hugely successful charity night with Gung-ho bar during the festival, raising £1400 for Chomp – a local charity that provides free school holiday lunches for families on low incomes.
64 Preston St
Sponsored by Artelium