Despite three new entries and five climbers, Meeting House Lane’s 64 Degrees held on to its place at the top of Brighton’s restaurant scene for a second year last night, as the Brighton’s Best Restaurants awards announced its new Top 20.

Brighton restaurant awards 2017 64 degrees restaurant

Reflecting the dynamism and diversity of Brighton's thriving restaurant scene, Brighton’s Best Restaurants award’s Top 20 saw a lot of action at last night’s awards, held at Brewdog on Grand Parade. As the official media partners for the event, we were there to watch the evening unfold and end in triumph for 64 Degrees (pictured above).

Brighton Restaurant Awards event Squaremeal 2017

L-R: Patrick McGuigan, Sam Lambert, Michael Bremner and Euan MacDonald

“I'm totally blown away,” said 64 Degrees chef and owner Michael Bremner (pictured above with his head chef Sam Lambert and Brighton’s Best Restaurants founders Patrick McGuigan and Euan MacDonald) after receiving the top award. “I really didn't expect it again because Brighton has so many good chefs and restaurants. We eat out in this town all the time and we're constantly impressed with what everyone else is doing.” In our own list of the top 100 restaurants outside of London, 64 Degrees is currently the highest-placed Brighton restaurant. 

Brighton Restaurant Awards event Squaremeal 2017

L-R: Cin Cin owner David Toscano with the restaurant's general manager Fabrizio Manconi and chef Jamie Halsall

Bincho Yakitori, the hugely popular Japanese grill restaurant on Preston Street, leapt eleven places to take the number two spot, while Vine Street’s recently opened casual Italian Cin Cin was the highest new entry (pictured above), landing at number six. Fine dining also got the thumbs up from the awards' 150-strong panel of experts and enthusiasts, as Isaac At on Gloucester Street moved from 20 to 14, and chef Duncan Ray (formerly at The Fat Duck)  entered the top five for the first time, as his tiny Upper Market Street bolthole The Little Fish Market climbed to number four.

Enotriacoe's Paul Milne Bincho Yakitori chef and owner Dave Miney and Euan MacDonald Brighton Restaurant Awards 2017 Squaremeal

L-R: Award sponsor Enotria & Coe's Paul Milne, Bincho Yakitori chef/owner Dave Miney and Euan MacDonald

Commenting on Bincho Yakitori's meteoric rise, chef and owner Dave Miney put it down to Brighton diners' appreciation of bold flavours. “We are no frills, but people don't care,” he said. “They're not interested in the weight of the cutlery or having table clothes. They just want good food.”

Squaremeal's editor Ben McCormack was also on hand to present the first award of the night to Fourth & Church, at number 20 on the list.

64 Degrees Brighton restaurant bar
Here’s the 2017 Top 20 in full:

1) 64 Degrees (above)

2) Bincho Yakitori

3) The Chilli Pickle

4) The Little Fish Market

5) The Set

6) Cin Cin

7) Plateau

8) The Salt Room

9) Silo

10) Semolina

The Gingerman, Brighton

11) The Gingerman (above)

12) Terre à Terre

13) Curry Leaf Café

14) Isaac At

15) The Ginger Pig

16) Fatto a Mano

17) The Urchin

18) The Coal Shed

19) Riddle & Finns

20) Fourth & Church

Brighton Restaurant Awards event Squaremeal 2017

The awards also recognise achievements with an array of categories, which this year included Best Sunday Roast and Best OctoberBEST Dish for the first time. Check out the winners for each category below:

Best Sunday Roast: Dizzy Gull at The Brighton Beer Dispensary

Best OctoberBEST Dish: The Chilli Pickle, for its crispy pork knuckle vindaloo – this award recognises the best dish served during the OctoberBEST restaurant festival, also organised by Brighton’s Best Restaurants

Best Chef: Michael Bremner at 64 Degrees

Best Barkeep: Matt Ottley at The Salt Room

Best Welcome: Cin Cin

Rising Star: Bincho Yakitori

Highest New Entry: Cin Cin

Brighton’s Best Restaurants is the work of Andy Lynes, Euan MacDonald and Patrick McGuigan. Andy is a freelance food, drink and travel journalist and author and he’s part of the 60 Second Reviews team. Euan is co-founder of 60 Second Reviews, while Pat is a food journalist who writes for Squaremeal, The Telegraph, The Financial Times and Restaurant, among others.

“We’re delighted that the new Top 20 reflects Brighton’s always-improving, dynamic and fast-moving restaurant scene,” says Andy Lynes. “It confirms Brighton as one of the best dining destinations outside London, and one that can stand side by side with cities like Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester. There’s something for everyone from innovative small plates to fabulous pizzas and of course lots of great seafood.”    

The awards are voted for by a panel of experts, including food writers, chefs, restaurateurs, business leaders, critics and gourmands, all of whom boast an intimate knowledge of the Brighton and Hove restaurant landscape. Votes are hand-counted by the organisers and carefully monitored so that panel members cannot vote for any restaurants they own or invest in, ensuring the list’s integrity.  

Brighton's Best Restaurants Awards 2017 Squaremeal

Discover Squaremeal's full UK top 100 restaurants here

Event imagery courtesy of Roarke Pearce. This article was published 21 February 2017.