If you had to describe a restaurant declared the best in the world, you might think of somewhere distinctly glamorous.

I’ve eaten at six establishments that have held that title. My travels have taken me to glorious locations, from a hillside villa overlooking the sea in Catalonia to the back streets of Modena, Italy.

I never expected to journey to a village pub deep in the countryside of northern England—reached by a narrow and winding road—where the first thing you see when you finally arrive is a group of locals enjoying a pint of beer on a bench outside.

The Black Swan at Oldstead scooped the title last week in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Restaurants awards in the fine dining category. That is rather different and (let’s face it) much less prestigious than the title handed out annually by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, closely watched in the restaurant industry.

But it’s not a meaningless accolade, and don’t knock it just because it’s from a mass-market online travel site.

In fact, it looks like it may be almost life-changing for chef Tommy Banks and his family.

“If I’m honest, when someone told me, I thought it sounds like a bit of a spoof, someone pulling our leg or some sort of scam,” Banks said in an interview in the stone-paved bar, with a log fire, paneled walls and a blackboard listing cocktails. “We never imagined quite how big it would become. Things just went crazy. The phone rang off the hook, and e-mails, e-mails, e-mails. We took 1,200 bookings in four hours, and that has filled us up for the rest of the year. There were reporters outside when I came in the next morning to cook breakfast and we had TV trucks all day. We had 90,000 people on our website in one afternoon.”

He said the reaction was much bigger than when he first won a Michelin star in 2013 at age 24, or more recently when his business got a bump after he appeared on the BBC television show, the Great British Menu.

I would argue TripAdvisor is not the best guide to eating out. Many of the reviewers know little about food, which can result in unusual recommendations.

For example, the site’s London Top 10 features some unlikely restaurants. First place is taken by The Peninsula, a hotel dining room in Canary Wharf. I have never been, so I am not criticizing it, but I’ve never even heard it mentioned. It’s a similar story for Gastronhome, a French bistro on Lavender Hill, which is placed third. I had to Google that one. The Foyer at Claridge’s places sixth, outranking the hotel’s Fera restaurant, which features on most lists.

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