CN Traveller assures us that hospitality has emerged ‘from its post-lockdown convalescence with renewed enthusiasm’, but we can’t help feeling that the restaurant scene needs our support more than ever. It goes without saying that we don’t want to waste our time or money on mediocrity – so how can we avoid disappointment when dining out? Here are the sites, apps, podcasts and Insta feeds to use when you next go to pick a restaurant.


The incredibly energetic and cool restaurant recommendation website and Instagram account TOPJAW (@topjaw) describes itself as ‘the only true travel resource’. It comprises a series of short film guides to the best things to eat, drink and do in cities around the world, created by friends Jesse Burgess (a former model who presents) and Will Warr (who films). You’ll go for the recommendations and stay for the vibe. Follow.

Out To Lunch With Ade Edmondson

Each episode of this gripping interview-style podcast, formerly hosted by Jay Rayner, takes place in a different restaurant with a different ‘fascinating’ celebrity. Via Edmondson’s weaving conversational style, you learn as much about the restaurant as you do about his guest. We particularly love the episode with Chrissie Hynde at her favourite restaurant, The Wolseley. For a small fee, the extra Digestivo segment sees his guests list their five favourite restaurants in the world. Listen.


Launched by a pair of school friends as a print guide in 1990, SquareMeal is now the nation’s leading independent restaurant guide. This stalwart site offers reviews you can trust, enticing articles and an extensive list of venue ideas. Plus, if you book a table through SquareMeal and join its loyalty programme, you can earn points every time you eat. Visit.

Harden’s Bites

The Instagram account from Harden’s Restaurant Guides, which was established by brothers Richard and Peter Harden in 1991, is a solid, trustworthy source of the best places to eat as well as all the most pressing news from the restaurant scene. To follow these guys is to know that your finger is on the foodie pulse. Follow.

Grace Dent On Restaurants

Grace Dent’s weekly restaurant review column in The Guardian, which she has been writing since 2018, is fabulous and free. Though her style is upbeat, she takes no prisoners and can be trusted to tell the truth. For more from this important voice on the British food landscape, read her award-winning 2020 memoir, Hungry. Read.

By Becky Ladenburg
March 2024