Discover our guide to the UK's best artisan bakeries, then discover the UK's best chef's table restaurants, the UK’s best showstopping restaurants to impress and then the UK's best outdoor restaurants and terraces. Find out our favourite informal dining spots.


Arguably, the best investment you can make in eating well is buying good bread. A super sourdough loaf can provide you with a week’s worth of pleasure, often for less than the price of a pint, it is a rare affordable luxury. We pay tribute to the artisan bakeries that, in their devotion to craft skills, patient proving, ancient grains and modern flavours, make that deliciousness possible. Not just in bread but viennoiserie, cakes and savoury bakes – from buttery croissants or kouign-amann to cinnamon knots and next level sausage rolls. Olive has selected a variety of spots – a baker’s dozen, in fact – where incredible quality is baked in.

Farro, Bristol

Bradley Tapp is so committed to exceptional bread that he stone-grinds half of Farro’s flour on site using an imported granite mill. The grains used include the ancient wheats emmer, spelt and einkorn – collectively known as farro. Grinding and sifting UK whole grains in this way, Bradley is able to retain varying proportions of the flavour-packed wheatgerm and bran in his flours, and use them at their freshest. “Much like coffee, as soon as grain is milled it starts to lose flavour compounds,” he explains. Farro’s pastries are thoughtful and creative, not least Bradley’s West Country take on Brittany’s kouign-amann: “In essence, a salty, sweet, caramelised croissant, filled with Bramley apple butter. It’s got serious tarte tatin energy.” Limited seating, mainly takeaway. Instagram @farrobakery

Hero bakes: emmer sourdough; einkorn loaf; pastéis de nata; West Country queen; chocolate babka.

Star shaped pastries at Farro bakery in Bristol

Twelve Triangles, Edinburgh

This benchmark bakery, which has seven Edinburgh outlets, including its Kitchen Table café, is all about artisan craft. Both in its baking and the way – in homemade pickles, ricotta, cultured butters, ice creams or house condiments – it builds superior flavour into every element of its work. Baking-wise, check TT’s miche-style rye starter sourdough, its twice-baked pain au chocolat (topped with a brown sugar, ground hazelnut and toasted sourdough breadcrumb frangipane) or its croissant dough kimchi swirls. “There’s something about the funky, sour spiciness of kimchi mixed with a strong cheddar that’s truly delicious,” enthuses co-founder Emily Cuddeford.

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Hero bakes: miche sourdough; mixed-seed house loaf; sourdough hot cross buns; kimchi swirls; twice-baked pain au chocolat.

Arôme, London

At two central London bakery-cafés, co-founded with Singaporean restaurateur Ellen Chew, French pastry ace Alix André delivers classic croissants and pain au chocolats, while also exploring how that repertoire might evolve using East Asian flavours. His miso bacon ‘escargot’ (so-called for its coiled, snail-shell shape) neatly deploys sweet and savoury flavours. “Spring onions and a citrus syrup glaze add a touch of acid to cut through the fat,” explains Alix. Arôme’s popular honey butter toast (a thick slice of fluffy Japanese shokupan bread in a crunchy honey crust) was inspired by Alix’s experiences in Japan: “I was taken by the craftsmanship I experienced there, the dedication to perfecting even the simplest steps.”

Hero bakes: shokupan honey butter toast; croissant 1930; egg custard tart; miso bacon ‘escargot’.

Interior of Arôme bakery London

Lovingly Artisan, Kendal and Altrincham

At its outlets in Kendal and Altrincham, Lovingly Artisan spreads the mantra for slow fermentation, lactic sourdough starters and organic British flours. Beneath chewable, rustic crusts, baker Aidan Monks’ breads are springy, glossy loaves with incredible depth of flavour. The five-grain rye is an olive fave, while a malted barley sourdough (made with brewer’s malt) is a “distinctive, bold” creation “loved by grown-ups”, says co-owner Catherine Connor. Bread is the star attraction but Lovingly’s scones (made with kefir, cranberries and einkorn), Northern Bliss cheese biscuits and brioche saffron buns also excel. Takeaway only.

Hero bakes: five-grain rye; chocolate malt and Mediterranean orange sourdough; einkorn scones; cinnamon twists; saffron buns.

Slices of sourdough at Lovingly Artisan

Nova Bakehouse, Leeds

Down on Leeds Dock by the River Aire, Sarah Lemanski and Hannah Mather’s bakery draws a crowd for everything from its sourdough loaves to Saturday’s pizza slice options, such as fennel salami with fermented hot honey. There is a bench on which you can perch, nibble and watch the open-plan bakery at work. Alternatively, potter with your cinnamon-dusted madeleines, knock-out salted caramel brownie or, that Nova classic, the morning cake. Nova’s take on a light, US-style soured cream coffee cake, the morning cake features a tonka bean infused layer of cocoa powder and an almond crumble top, memorably stencil dusted with icing sugar sunrays.

Hero bakes: country sourdough; toasted sesame and honey sourdough; cheese rye scone; morning cake; cornetto alla crèma (caramel custard croissant).

Bread with sunrise in flour at Nova Bakehouse

Cosgriff & Sons, York

Talented, innovative baker Paul Cosgriff’s fans include such local luminaries as chef Tommy Banks. As well as breads, pastries and doughnuts (including a breakfast doughnut filled with a cereal-infused custard), Cosgriff & Sons serves superb sandwiches of, say, ox cheek, cheddar and celeriac remoulade on a light, resilient hybrid sourdough focaccia. Don’t fancy a sandwich? Then try the sweet and savoury interplay of the coffee bacon scroll, in which laminated dough is spread with a smoked bacon, black coffee and mustard seed jam, and a coffee butter cream, then rolled and baked. Mostly takeaway, very limited seating. Instagram @cs_sourdough

Hero bakes: house sourdough; sourdough fruit loaf; Guinness-fermented oat loaf; raspberry rice pudding danish; coffee and bacon scroll.

Lannan Bakery, Edinburgh

Stockbridge is a rising foodie hot spot, particularly around Hamilton Place (Smith & Gertrude wine bar, restaurant Eòrna, etc). Darcie Maher’s handsome takeaway bakery, Lannan, is also big news. Expect to queue on Saturdays for its revered viennoiserie or cardamom buns. Lannan’s crème brûlée danish, an upmarket croissant pastry custard tart, is a must-eat if available. “The custard has to be just set, glossy, super-wobbly, and the sugar on top torched a deep, amber caramel,” says Darcie. Lannan’s savoury items are gorgeous, too. Merguez, braised fennel and Monte Enebro cheese sausage rolls arrive in an ornate croissant pastry lattice. Instagram @lannanbakery

Hero bakes: croissants; cardamom buns; crème brûlée danish; coffee and caramelised white chocolate pain suisse; Kissabel apple pies.

Crème brûlée pastries at Lannan bakery

Oast, Margate

Be it stone-ground heritage wheat flours from Kent’s Nonington Farms or skills honed at Scotland’s Twelve Triangles, baker Will Moss and co-founder Charlotte Keeys have drawn on the best from near and far to create their hit bakery-café. Sourdough breads are forefront but Will’s baguettes, made using a starter and fresh yeast, are prized among Margate’s French community. “Sourdough provides flavour, fresh yeast a light soft crumb,” says Will. There is a distinct Swedish influence in Oast’s knotted buns and sandwiches. The buns are often flavoured with buttery cinnamon or cardamom, then glazed with syrup and pearl sugar. But flavours can broaden to include, for example, chocolate, orange and cardamom, or seasonal fruits and custard.

Hero bakes: baguettes; croissants; cardamom buns; seeded sourdough tin loaf; stem ginger cake.

Shelves of bread at Oast bakery Margate

The Wild Loaf, Liverpool

From its fruit loaf (as lauded on the BBC’s The Hairy Bikers Go West) to its epic grilled cheese sandwich, there are many good things emerging from Jessica Doyle and Emily Sandeman’s bakery-café. Its sourdoughs of spelt and rye utilise various sustainable UK-grown grains, with many flours sourced from Yorkshire Organic Millers. Elsewhere, the duo executes traditional (rich, spiced ginger or carrot cakes) and modern bakes with confidence. Their take on bostock dispenses with the brioche in favour of thick slices from a croissant loaf (created from croissant offcuts) topped with homemade jam, frangipane and nuts, then oven baked. Instagram @the_wild_loaf

Hero bakes: organic sourdough; seasonal fruit loaf; cinnamon buns; carrot cake; apple and panela sugar cake.

Landrace, Bath

This hip Walcot Street bakery, deli and café is on a mission to promote high-quality grains grown in the UK and, specifically, the South West, which it stone-grinds locally to produce flours for its cakes and sourdough breads. Typically, flours made from British grains are lower in protein than those used in French patisserie. Rather than making croissants and the like, Landrace created a fluffy, Scandi-inspired dough as the backbone of its sweet buns – which, of course, include a take on the cinnamon bun. Elsewhere on its counters you might find anything from semlor or Seville orange cream buns to top-rank sausage rolls and a swish custard tart made with Westcombe Dairy buttermilk. Café open mornings only.

Hero bakes: country loaf; cinnamon buns; eccles cakes; custard tart; Pump Street chocolate cookies.

Fortitude Bakehouse, London

Time is a key ingredient at Dee Rettali’s fascinating mews bakery off Russell Square. Doughs and cake batters are designed to ferment in stages, between making, rolling and baking, to enhance their complexity. “We make a fermented brownie using a liquid starter and cultured butter which sits for four days before baking,” explains Dee. From Guinness cakes to lunch sandwiches of zaalouk, aged feta, preserved lemon and parsley, flavour inspiration is drawn from Dee’s Irish background and her love of Morocco. A viral hit, Fortitude’s beignet might feature a rhubarb cream filling and crumble topping: “The dough is a fermented, fried brioche, not typical doughnut dough.”

Hero bakes: natural yogurt soda bread; beignet; double-fermented cinnamon or chocolate buns; various loaf cakes.

Cream-filled buns at Fortitude Bakehouse London

Depot Bakery, Sheffield

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Depot has been pivotal in raising the Steel City’s baking game. Based in post-industrial Kelham Island, now an up-and-coming food and creative hub, Depot’s bakery and canteen serves banging brunches (for example, french toast, eggs florentine, salt beef and swiss bagels) alongside A1 breads and pastries. Depot’s classic sourdough recipe is unchanged in a decade – why mess with perfection? Elsewhere, its range takes in everything from focaccias to frangipane-filled almond croissants and its much-loved honeycomb-dipped vegan chocolate cake. Depot has a second Hillsborough Park café.

Hero bakes: sourdough; New York deli rye sourdough; croissant; cinnamon brioche knot; chocolate honeycomb cake.

Honeycombe-dipped vegan chocolate cake at Depot Bakery Sheffield

Pollen Bakery, Manchester

With its rich, caramelised crust, Pollen’s 28-hour sourdough was a game changer when it hit Manchester in 2016. Pollen’s Kampus and Ancoats Marina bakery-cafés, both stylishly functional spaces, maintain similar standards in their stellar brunch dishes (think eggs benedict with smoked ham hock, brown butter hollandaise and crispy kale) and pastries ranging from cinnamon morning
buns, made using laminated croissant dough, to seasonal specials such as light joconde sponge cakes, topped with pistachio and Yorkshire rhubarb.


Hero bakes: 28-hour sourdough; French rye sourdough; Basque cheesecake; cinnamon morning buns; weekend cruffins.

Interior of Pollen Bakery Manchester

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