IT'S the award all chefs crave. 

And while there may not be any Michelin star restaurants right on our doorstep, foodies in the area don't have to travel for more than an hour to find a gastronomic experience. 

Of the 5 three star restaurants, 20 two star restaurants and 155 one star restaurants in this year's guide, we have picked out five which are not too far from the town. 

Commenting on the 2019 selection, Rebecca Burr, director of the guide said: “Everyone is aware of the obvious challenges currently facing the industry but we’ve been encouraged by the number of new stars that we’ve awarded in the 2019 edition.

"What is particularly pleasing is seeing the number of simple little places with great food achieving a star and joining the Michelin family."

Fraiche, Birkenhead - One star

Created with a theme of natural elements inspired by the shoreline, chef 

Marc Wilkinson and the team say they strive to create a relaxed and less formal approach to service offering guests a warm welcome and a personal touch, while giving a professional and yet unobtrusive experience. 

A spokesman added "Each season in nature offers a subtle guideline to give him direction and inspiration drawing out the finest ingredients and nuances that reinforce the seasons, which is translated through his cuisine."

The restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday and for lunch on Sunday.

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Simon Radley at Chester Grosvenor - One star

This restaurant has held a prestigious Michelin star since 1990, in good company beside 4 AA Rosettes, an AA Notable Wine List Award, recommendations in the Waitrose Good Food Guide and recognition as 'Best Hotel Restaurant' at the European Hospitality Awards.

Simon joined the team at The Chester Grosvenor in 1986 and apart from a few years gaining experience in London, has been at the helm of the operation for more than 20 years.

His food stems from a classical French training but he says has a firm stamp of the north west.

A spokesman added: "He championed regional produce a long time before it became en vogue, preferring a personal relationship with producers and a control on the quality of his ingredients."

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Pic credit: Chester Grosvenor Facebook page

Northcote, Blackburn - One star

Described as 'elegant, stylish and sophisticated', the restaurant has views of the garden and hills of the beautiful Ribble Valley.

Northcote menus are by executive chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen with wines selected by Craig Bancroft.

A spokesman added: "Fine dining with professional but true Northern hospitality."

The dress code is smart and informal but the restaurant does not allow sports wear, ripped denim or shorts.

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Pic credit: Northcote Facebook page

White Swan, Fence in Lancashire - One star

Among one of three pubs in England entering the guide with one star for the first time, staff say it's a 'small menu but it's proper'. 

A spokesman added: "The White Swan in Fence is a local pub that serves food, Timothy Taylors award winning real ales & wines so fine that you will probably do a little dance of delight when you sample them.

"For us, it's about just doing everything the best we can - sending out the best food; pouring the finest drinks; making people feel at home - ultimately sending you away as happy as we can."

Chef Tom Parker is at the helm of this one. 

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Pic credit: The Swan Twitter 

Moor Hall, Aughton in Ormskirk - Two stars

Set in a grade II listed building steeped in history dating back to the thirteenth century, the site was acquired by Andy and Tracey Bell in 2015 and has since undergone a major renovation and refurbishment.

Chef Mark Birchall's menus showcase his own style of modern British cuisine wherever possible using produce grown on the 5 acre Moor Hall site or from local suppliers.

The restaurant is one of three new two star restaurants in this year's guide. 

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