However, we do have some truly excellent restaurants here in the north. Places that would more than hold their own if they were located down in the capital. Here's my pick of 10 of restaurants that I've visited in the last year or so. (And a few to come next year where I've eaten the food of the head chef). It's certainly nowhere near a definitive list, I've still not been to Fraiche in the Wirral, and I've not even touched the North East (The House of Tides & The Raby Hunt) and North Yorkshire (The Star Inn at Harome and The Pipe and Glass). But this is a pretty good start if you're visiting Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria or Yorkshire as a tourist. (Click on link for full reviews).
1. L'Enclume. Cartmel, Cumbria.
Perhaps an obvious choice but simply one of the best restaurants in the country, so it had to be number one. It gets better each time we've visited too.
We were blown away by this place hidden behind a department store. Inventive, stylish and truly excellent.
3. Lake Road Kitchen. Ambleside, Cumbria.
Superb quality cooking and the very best produce.
4. Sticky Walnut. Chester, Cheshire.
Known to many by the most entertaining twitter account in the business but food this good yet so simple, is something that's deceptively hard to pull off.
5. The Parkers Arms. Newton-In-Bowland, Lancashire.
People flock here for Stosie's wonderful food and AJ's brilliant service. The perfect country pub.
The Forest Side opens in Summer next year with the super talented young chef Kevin Tickle from Rogan and Co and L'Enclume. I'm confident that it will be at least as good as our meal at Rogan and Co in the Spring.
7. The Old Stamp House. Ambleside, Cumbria. Faultless and beautiful cooking.
8. The French. Manchester. Like L'Enclume's baby brother, the best restaurant in the city.
9. Albina. Crosby, Merseyside.
We loved it when it first opened as the Albion, but the impressive photos of new dishes head chef Steven Burgess is putting on twitter demand a re-visit.
10. El Gato Negro. Manchester.
Another new opening in 2015 that's bound to be a hit as they currently run a Michelin rated restaurant in Ripponden.