Hear from the editor and the judging convenor
Having a meal prepared for you by someone else is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It’s a treat we sometimes take for granted: the generosity and care poured into every roast potato, sushi roll or slice of woodfired pizza. The planning of the dish, sourcing of fresh ingredients, the prep behind the scenes, the precise cooking and eventual presentation of what’s on the plate so that it lives up to what’s on the menu, each and every time you ask for it – that is something worth acknowledging.
The 500 restaurants in this issue are the establishments that take us – for just an hour or two – out of our busy lives and make us feel at home, offering warm service and a comfortable setting and, most importantly of all, delicious food. They're special-occasion spots, or the places we don’t have to save up for, the neighbourhood gems we pop into on a whim, the casual eateries where the staff might know our names and favourite orders.
I am grateful to all these chefs, managers and waiters for looking after us and cooking for us, for these repeated acts of kindness, hundreds of times a day. And I’m delighted that our critics can share with you, dear reader, what these restaurants do so well, and that we can celebrate them in this guide. Happy eating!