The re-openings of cafes, restaurants and eateries across the UK was welcome news to budding foodies, fans of fine dining and just about anyone else who loves sampling the best of the British Isles’ culinary scene.

With restrictions having relaxed and the festive season just around the corner, planning a day trip, weekend break or a staycation around some of the UK’s most delicious grub is no longer a distant dream. It’s something we can all enjoy once again.

So, if you’ve been chomping at the bit to explore Britain’s cuisine post-lockdown, the results below are sure to whet the appetite that little bit more. After getting to grips with some thorough research, The Brindley Group can now reveal the best and worst cities across the UK for eating out – as well as the locations that cater best for today’s modern dietary needs.

Planning a culinary weekend away? We’ve separated the slap-up meals from the slapdash to make things easier for you when you’re on your travels.

What We Did

To find out what the best and worst UK cities for eating out are, we took data from TripAdvisor and sought out which locations offered the most highly reviewed establishments for different diets.

For each city, we researched the number of:

  • Top-reviewed restaurants (4-star and higher)
  • Vegetarian restaurants
  • Vegan restaurants
  • Gluten-free restaurants

We then balanced the number of restaurants against each city’s population. This gave us comparable per capita results to help us identify the best and worst cities for dining in each of the above categories.

Key Findings

  • Taking the top spot, Bath is the UK’s best city for eating out overall, boasting the largest number of highly rated restaurants per capita.
  • With just three 4-star+ rated restaurants for every ten thousand residents living there, both Coventry and Lancaster were the worst cities for eating.
  • A good outing for the city, Bath is also the best area for vegetarian and gluten-free restaurants, with Coventry faring the worst for both.
  • Plant-based diners take note: both Chester and Bath came joint first for vegan restaurants, while Bradford and Coventry shared bottom in the same category.
  • Regionally, Scotland is home to the greatest number of highly rated restaurants per capita – while the West Midlands has the fewest.
  • As if that wasn’t enough, Scotland is also the best part of the UK for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets – with the highest number of restaurants catering to each per capita.

Best and Worst Cities for Highly Rated Dining


With twenty 4-star+ restaurants for every ten thousand residents, Bath is the UK’s best city for highly rated dining, outdoing other cities in the South West (Exeter, Plymouth, Bristol and Gloucester) by some margin.

For hungry holidaymakers on a city break, Bath’s culinary offerings are varied, and clearly, come highly recommended. From the Michelin-starred Menu Gordon Jones to the likes of Italian, Turkish, and Philippine fare to sample while you’re here, a weekend break has something in store for appetites of all stripes.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for Coventry and Lancaster. With just three 4-star+ restaurants per 10K to their names, truly great food is seemingly in short supply here.

Best and Worst Cities for Vegetarian Diners


In another great showing for Bath, the south-western city notches up 19 vegetarian restaurants per 10k people. From dedicated veggie places to eateries with strong meat-free options, vegetarians are well catered to here, with TripAdvisor’s top-rated restaurants displaying everything from Indian and Mediterranean fare to Thai treats and good old pub grub.

Heading to the north? You’d do well to visit Chester and York. With 17 veggie restaurants each, the two cities came joint second, while even further north, Edinburgh’s strong 16 vegetarian restaurants per 10K standing makes it a top choice for anyone looking to sample Scotland’s non-meat fare.

With just three vegetarian restaurants per 10k, the options in Lancaster and Coventry may be few and far between. But the former’s famed Whale Tail café and the latter’s veggie-friendly options mean there’s still something for meat-free diners journeying to this neck of the woods.

Best and Worst Cities for Vegan Diners


There’s never been a better time to be vegan than right now. The amount of choice available to vegans in supermarkets up and down the country is better than ever, and restaurants have been steadily following suit.

Leading the pack in our results, Chester and Bath boasted 13 restaurants per 10K people, making both areas an excellent choice for vacationing herbivores looking to broaden their palates for a few days.

Coventry and Bradford, meanwhile, took joint bottom with just two vegan restaurants per ten thousand residents. If it’s a culinary weekend you’re planning, it might be best to steer clear of these two cities.

Best and Worst Cities for Gluten-Free Diners

For those with a gluten intolerance, finding fare that won’t trigger their symptoms can sometimes be frustrating. So, if you’re heading on a city break sometime soon, you’d do well to venture to the likes of Chester, Edinburgh and York, all of which fared well in our gluten-free rankings. In a move that shouldn’t be all that surprising, Bath took the top spot once again, with 15 gluten-free restaurants per 10K people.

Coventry, Bradford and Lancaster, meanwhile, all shared the bottom spot, with just two gluten-free restaurants for every ten thousand residents.

Explore Our Findings in Full

​From Aberdeen to York, you can explore the results of our culinary jaunt up and down the UK in full below. Is your city renowned for its feast of appetising, mouth-watering delights that caters to all tastes and diets? Or does its reputation need work? Take a look to see where your city placed.

Looking for more from the Brindley Group? Click here to check out all our news from the motoring world, or if you’re in the market for a new car, see how we can help at our homepage.