From cosy pubs to stylish brasseries, we look back over a year of food reviews and choose our top 10 restaurants of 2017 (in no particular order)

The Bell at Ramsbury

Swindon Advertiser: The Bell at Ramsbury

NAMED pub of the year for England by the AA, we simply had to check it out. And what did we find? A delightfully friendly pub with a menu bursting with ingredients direct from the Ramsbury Estate. A bit on the pricey side but, while your wallet may wince, your palate will love you for it.

We said: Attention to detail is evident not just in the delicate balance of flavours but in the stunning yet simple presentation. No overfussy, foaming fads here — just sheer elegance.

Miller & Carter Steakhouse

Swindon Advertiser: Miller and Carter food feature. Pictured chef Laurentiu Branisteanu..26/09/17 Thomas Kelsey.

ONE of the new kids on the block, Miller & Carter has certainly taken Swindon by storm. OK so technically it’s a chain, but who cares when steak tastes this good?

We said: Almost full to bursting after finishing our mains in near-silence, we relaxed happily and I was pleased to hear my housemate say that the meal had surpassed the high bar I’d set by recommending it so enthusiastically beforehand

Los Gatos

Swindon Advertiser: Los Gatos cooked up a paella which was served up at The Old Bank in aid of the DEC's Haiti appeal

A PERENNIAL favourite which is rarely anything other than packed to the rafters, a gang of eight went along to check out the delicious tapas menu. And yes, Los Gatos remains as fantastic as ever. Just checking...

We said: As it was somewhat of a group outing, this style of menu was perfect for what we were after - the chance to try all sorts of different dishes, and particularly dishes out of our comfort zones that we wouldn’t normally try, but others in our group would

The Crown Inn, Broad Hinton

Swindon Advertiser: Stuart Harrison 21/7/14The Crown pub at Broad Hinton, Food review.  (31117433)

WE ventured out on a cold January evening just after Christmas to find a cosy pub with friendly staff and regulars. There’s everything to love here - perfect pub dishes, cooked to order and nicely presented and all at a reasonable price.

We said: I’m sure some would fail to see the attraction in driving out to the countryside on a cold January evening to sit in a quiet but cosy pub, eating dishes prepared fresh to order and making low-key conversation.... but if you like a decent plate of grub, this is the place for you

Yak Himilayan Kitchen

Swindon Advertiser:

ANOTHER newcomer which had everyone taving about how great it was. Authentic food, fabulous atmosphere and amazingly friendly staff, it’s one not to miss.

Attention to detail is evident not just in the delicate balance of flavours but in the stunning yet simple presentation. No overfussy, foaming fads here — just sheer elegance.

We said: We’d arrived feeling tense and tired from a week at work and left feeling relaxed and unhurried, as though we’d taken part in some sort of Buddhist meditation exercise

Siam Thai, Old Town

Swindon Advertiser: Pic - Roast Duck with Tamarind sauce.Date 4/8/17.Pic By Dave Cox.Food review at the Siam Thai restaurant Old Town...

AS soon as it opened its doors, Siam Thai set about giving the Thai Orchid and Old Town Thai a run for their money, scoring an impressive five star rating on TripAdvisor. Strikingly decorated in reds, pinks and gold, it serves up flavoursome, aromatic dishes and boasts an extensive seafood menu, not to mention a very warm welcome.

We said: If their opening month is anything to go by there is no reason to assume that Siam Thai will not go on to become a firm favourite

Dan’s Restaurant Marlborough

Swindon Advertiser:

IT opened to much excitement and it was hard to book a table — and when we finally got in, we could see why. This cosy little restaurant is oozing hygge - touches of copper and soft grey combine with a soft romantic glow making it the perfect setting to enjoy the incredibly fine fare on offer.

We said: I cannot recommend the experience highly enough and have no doubt Dan and his team will make sure you have an unforgettable evening

New Calley Arms Wanborough

Swindon Advertiser:

A PROPER, old-fashioned pub, with food that just tastes great, we got a warm welcome on a cold, rainy night — and so much food we had to ask for a doggy bag. And that fish pie? Surely the best in the world.

We said: It has steered a clear path between trendy gastropub and proper local boozer... and it’s run by proper, professional pub staff

The Red Lion Cricklade

Swindon Advertiser:

FAMED for its beer and twice named pub of the year by CAMRA in revent years, this inn is a stalwart of the Cricklade scene. Dating from the 1600s, it’s bursting with original features such as heavy wooden beams and exposed stone walls, but it’s the impressive array of real ales that will catch your eye before long. That and the delicious menu... and make sure you check out those legendary triple-cooked chips.

We saidI’ve said before that pubs need to stand out from the crowd in an age of such great expectations from diners and drinkers, and at The Red Lion, they’re trying to do just that

14Twelve at the Hilton

Swindon Advertiser: Food review at Double tree, Hilton. Pictured squid..30/01/17 Thomas Kelsey.

POPULAR and stylish with a classy, modern menu, the restaurant at the Hilton was so good we went back - the very next day, for breakfast! 

We said: Dinner at a hotel with easy access to the M4 and state of-the-art meeting rooms may sound like a corporate away-day nightmare, but for me and my out-of-town guest it proved to be quite the dining experience