Martin Burge is head chef of The Dining Room at Whatley Manor, which has earned a second star
A record number of restaurants have earned a coveted Michelin star, according to the latest edition of the influential guide.
Four new restaurants get two stars but there are no new additions to the UK's three-star eateries.
Women chefs also make a strong showing in the 2009 food bible, with 10 now running starred restaurants.
The top restaurants are Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, London, the Fat Duck and the Waterside Inn, both in Bray, Berks.
The new guide, covering the UK and the Irish Republic, goes on sale on Friday.
Sixteen restaurants across the country are now on two stars - three in London and one in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, have joined the list.
But 12 have lost their single star. That dozen includes the London landmarks Mirabelle and L'Escargot.
A record 26 restaurants were awarded a single star for the first time.
Guide editor Derek Bulmer said: "We have never awarded so many stars in a single year before. These new stars have been awarded to a host of establishments from gastropubs and family-run locals to country hotels and fashionable London restaurants.
THE FOUR NEW 2* RESTAURANTS
The Dining Room (at Whatley Manor) - Malmesbury, Wiltshire
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester - Mayfair, London
Hibiscus - Mayfair, London
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Covent Garden, London
"We have also seen an increase in the number of refreshingly informal restaurants where the cooking is very good."
Significantly, women have begun to challenge male dominance in the industry with a record 10 female head chefs at starred restaurants, up from six last year.
"For the first time we are seeing women reach the top jobs in starred restaurants. Ten years ago we would not have seen this," said Mr Bulmer.
"If it continues on at the same rate, it's no longer going to be the male-dominated industry that it traditionally has been."
This year the guide has made new awards for Chinese, Italian, French and British cuisine, although Indian restaurant Tamarind in Mayfair was one of those to lose its star.
Mr Bulmer said while London could boast "one of the most varied and diverse restaurant scenes in the world", the top venues were more evenly spread across the UK this year, with four Scottish restaurants gaining a star for the first time.
The year ahead would bring "challenging times" for hotels and restaurants, he added.
The guide was due to be launched on Wednesday but details were leaked early, reportedly after an inquisitive chef found the details online.