Reviewed by New_Mama
Coming from a foodie family, I am always keen to try new recommendations for restaurants of a great standard. I have never used the AA food guide before so was excited to be picked to review the new 2023 version.
The guide itself stands out with the simple yet effective yellow and black branding we are used to from AA. I liked its simplicity, and it certainly stands out so is easy to find on the shelf when you need it! The guide is a fairly standard size (A5) of most paperbacks making it easy to store, hold and read. Part of me did wonder however whether there could be other options such as a hard back coffee table edition as well. It was delivered in simple yet sufficient paper packaging which is recyclable and no excess packaging required.
The guide starts with an overview of how the guide works and is laid out, making it very comprehensive for any reader or foodie. It highlights the new additions to the list in this year’s book, as well as having a separate section for those restaurants awarded multiple rosettes (‘cream of the crop’)- making it extra easy if you are really wanting to push the boat out and only choose from the very best. There is then a section of those awarded wine awards which I hadn’t realised was part of the guide but is great for those foodies who are also wine enthusiasts. A further section is dedicated to those restaurants which stand out in growing their own produce and the introduction section of the guide suggests this environmental factor section is only going to become a bigger valued part. Further one off awards are also given to certain categories such as a ‘lifetime achievement award’ and ‘restaurant with rooms award’ (which seems so much more important now post lockdowns people are embracing the staycations far more). This section also includes an AA college restaurant of the year award. I liked the nod given here to the future generation of chefs and future talent.
As you’d expect before the main bulk of the guide, there is a section explaining how rosettes are awarded from 1 to 5. It explains how within the UK approximately 10% of all restaurants are worthy of 1 rosette, which gives you a useful indication and certainly demonstrates the calibre of those gaining multiple awards.
The guide is then laid out alphabetically for each area of the UK. This makes it incredibly easy to look up restaurants in a specific location or just browse. Many of the restaurants listed have beautiful clear photographs of either the venue or a dish and are a great addition to wet any appetite as you flick through considering all your options. I liked the internal styling and layout as it is so clear and easy to follow.
I enjoyed looking through and gaining ideas on future dining options near where I live as well as those further a field that are clearly worth the travel. I would certainly recommend this as a must buy Christmas gift for any food lover as it provides a clearly laid out and comprehensive guide to the best restaurants the UK has to offer.
Available to buy via the AA website once released and the link takes you to amazon where free delivery is an option. https://www.theaa.com/books/the-restaurant-guide-2022 currently for last year’s version or direct from amazon via https://www.amazon.co.uk/Restaurant-Guide-2023-Lifestyle-Guides/dp/0749583118/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1HL5ACXPIWC05&keywords=aa+restaurant+guide+2023&qid=1665604885&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIwLjc2IiwicXNhIjoiMC44MSIsInFzcCI6IjAuNzIifQ&s=books&sprefix=aa+resstripbooks113&sr=1-1