An increasing number of rural pubs are producing high quality food, shedding their image of microwaved steak and kidney pies, the latest Which? Guide has suggested.
But the Which? Pub Guide 2005, published today, also warned that the improvement was patchy and there was still a long way to go before pubs serving good food stopped being a minority.
The guide said it was seeing a definite trend towards better food in pubs, both in rural and urban gastro-pubs.
Its findings echo that of the Michelin guide, Eating Out in Pubs, also published this month.
Pubs offering high standards, good drinking and eating were on the increase, said the Which? Guide, despite negative headlines about binge drinking, alco-pops and anti-social behaviour.
Gastro-pubs were also increasing in number, with London having 17 new entries this year, bringing the total in the capital to 67.
A further three had opened in Manchester and two in Cardiff and Brighton, it added.
Guide editor Andrew Turvil said people were sick of "identikit mass market boozers".
He added: "The number of pubs serving good food is steadily increasing, but these are still the exception rather than the rule. It speaks volumes that in a city the size of Birmingham, we've yet to find one that makes the grade. There's still a long way to go."
by Nic Paton
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