18 amazing Birmingham restaurants you need to eat in according to Harden’s Guide 2019

Seven Birmingham restaurants have been named among the best in the UK by Harden’s Best Restaurants Guide 2019.

In total there are 18 Birmingham establishments listed in the guide.

The yearly guide is based on one of the country’s most detailed surveys of regular restaurant-goers.

According to the guide, Michelin starred eateries Adam’s in Waterloo Street, Simpsons in Edgbaston and Purnell’s in Cornwall Street are ‘the best of the best’ – among the top 100 places to eat in the UK.

Making the overall UK top 250 list were Carters of Moseley, Lasan and The Wilderness – in the over £60 category.

Harborne Kitchen in Harborne was the only restaurant in Birmingham to make the guide’s top UK scorers in the under £60 category.

According Harden’s, Birmingham has the UK’s second largest number of high scoring restaurants outside of London (behind Edinburgh) and the 3rd highest number of restaurants listed in the guide.

Amongst England’s cities, Brighton just edged out Birmingham to receive the highest ranking this year in terms of the number of top-scoring establishments.

Private dining room at Adam’s restaurant

Of the Harden’s 100 Best UK Restaurants, the No. 1 slot went to Casamia in Bristol. With tickets to eat in the restaurant sold four months in advance, the Harden’s review applauds “an attention to detail you don’t see in other fine dining restaurants.”

Adam’s was Brum’s highest ranking eatery in the UK coming 22nd in the list.

Roscoff onion, heritage carrot, smoked mash potato, onion and minus 8 vinegar at Harborne Kitchen
Roscoff onion, heritage carrot, smoked mash potato, onion and minus 8 vinegar at Harborne Kitchen

Edgbaston’s Simpsons is next (at 42) praised for its “first class food and outstanding service from wonderful staff”.

Purnell’s (at 59) is extolled for being “stunning…, fantastic…, exceptional every time…” with diners “blown away by the innovative cuisine produced by TV-chef Glynn Purnell’s luxurious 45-cover HQ”.

Owner Andreas Antona and Chef Director Luke Tipping inside the refurbished Simpsons
Owner Andreas Antona and Chef Director Luke Tipping inside Simpsons

The yearly guide is based on a poll of 8,500 participants who contributed 50,000 reviews. These nominations, form the basis for the inclusions and ratings in the guide.

Glynn Purnell
Glynn Purnell outside Purnell’s ranked 59 in Hardens’ top 100 restaurants

Peter Harden, the guide’s editor and co-founder, told BirminghamLive: “Over the last seven years, Birmingham has become well known for having a high quality restaurant scene.

“What surprised me is that the city is keeping its lead against the regional cities very comfortably. The likes of Manchester and Leeds are still lagging way behind.”

“Birmingham out-did every other city in England this year, other than London, in terms of the number of Harden’s 100 restaurants it has to offer – the culinary crême de la crême.

“And for top-scoring restaurants in general it punches well above its weight, ranking 4th in the UK as a whole.”

Vegan eatery 1847 in the Great Western Arcade was also recognised in the Hardens Guide

The other Birmingham restaurants recognised in the guide were Original Patty Men in Digbeth, Sabai Sabai on Waterloo Street, The Plough in Harborne, San Carlo on Temple Street, Asha’s Indian bar and restaurant, Joyoti’s vegetarian on Stratford Road, Opheem on Summer Row, Opus on Cornwall Street and Great Western Arcade’s vegan eatery 1847.

Here are Birmingham’s top six restaurants according to Harden’s and a round up of what the reviewers said:


Adam's Restaurant, New Oxford House
Adam’s Restaurant, New Oxford House

‘Certainly Birmingham’s No. 1 restaurant” – Adam & Natasha Stokes’s shining star of the city’s dining scene occupies a contemporary looking, peaceful and calm site that’s classy and comfortable, and – if lacking a picturesque view – buoyed by the happy contentment of diners’.

‘The outstanding food continues to impress, with superb flavour combinations, high quality sourcing and real innovation – without resorting to gimmicks – to focus on letting ingredients shine.’

Adam and Natasha Stokes outside Adam's on Waterloo Street
Adam and Natasha Stokes outside Adam’s on Waterloo Street

‘An excellent wine
list contains many top growths but also good wines at reasonable prices.’

‘Service too hits
 a utopian balance of being professional but approachable and engaging. Its most dedicated fans are furthermore amazed that it doesn’t have another Michelin star.

‘The chef’s table again comes recommended: “a magical experience.’


Vegan dish at Simpsons restaurant
Vegan dish at Simpsons restaurant

‘A Midlands institution which has spent 25
 years at the top of the gastronomic tree – this Edwardian villa is still the place to go for a real treat with first class food and outstanding service from wonderful staff.

‘A number of long-time customers rather regret the change to a simpler format: the relaxed formal restaurant has been replaced by an OK Brasserie – come on Simpsons, put back the white tablecloths!’


One of the main dining areas at Purnell's Restaurant
One of the main dining areas at Purnell’s Restaurant

‘Stunning. fantastic, exceptional every time… folks continue to be blown away by the innovative cuisine produced by TV-chef Glynn Purnell’s luxurious 45-cover HQ in the smart city-centre business quarter. There are an array of menus on offer, with just tasting options available Friday lunch and Friday & Saturday evenings.


‘Not your typical curry house: this is fine dining Indian food!” – Jabbar Khan’s contemporary Indian in the Jewellery Quarter may have lost its charismatic frontman Aktar Islam (see Opheem also recognised in the guide), but, boosted by its 2017 revamp, continues to win impressive ratings across the board.’

The Wilderness

Alex Claridge of The Wilderness, shot in the new location for the restaurant
Alex Claridge of The Wilderness, shot in the new location for the restaurant

‘A unique experience – provocative chef Alex Claridge’s dimly lit and theatrical venue in the Jewellery Quarter could be a star in the making.

‘The food is absolutely stunning, and the drinks pairing innovative – not just wines, but a selection of cocktails and other beverages to create the best food/drink matches’.

Carters of Moseley

Chef Brad Carter and Carters front of house Holly Jackson
Chef Brad Carter and Carters front of house Holly Jackson

‘By all accounts 100% worth the trip to Birmingham, Carters’ pleasant informality but serious 13-course tasting menus – birch sap water , anyone? – always make for a great night out (kudos goes to the charming staf”).

‘When it comes to Brad Carter’s cuisine: so much work goes into each detail, and yet this is not style over substance: the core is original food, that works at every level. Taste, texture, visually, aroma. Course after course looks beautiful, but more importantly tastes unbelievably good!’

In the under £60 bracket:

Harborne Kitchen

Chef Owner Jamie Desogus at Harborne Kitchen

‘Fabulous, fun and inventive meals appear from the open-to-view kitchen” at Jamie Desogus’s two-year-old in a former butcher’s shop in a residential area.

‘It’s run by a young but knowledgeable team whose enthusiasm is infectious” – and their ambition is clear
 in the multi-course tasting menus on offer, including an ‘express’ lunch consisting of a mere five courses, plus bread and snacks.’

The other Brum restaurants recognised in the guide:

Original Patty Men

9 Shaw’s Passage, B5 5JG

Asha’s Indian bar and restaurant

12-22 Newhall Street, B3 3LX

Jyoti’s vegetarian

1045 Stratford Road, B28 8AS

Sabai Sabai

7 Waterloo Street, B2 5PG

The Plough

21 High Street, Harborne B17 9NT

San Carlo

4 Temple Street, B2 5BN


65 Summer Row, B3 1JJ


54 Cornwall Street, B3 2DE

1847 vegan eatery

26 Great Western Arcade B2 5HU

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