To celebrate the city’s brightest and best eating spots, local food blogger Jeff Lyall picks out 10 of the best restaurants in Newcastle, for a variety of budgets.
After far too many years of being made-fun-of for its staunchly Northern food, the Newcastle restaurant scene has been experiencing a bit of a renaissance of late. From relatively inexpensive, cheap and easy street food to full-blown Michelin star dining, Newcastle diners are becoming ever more choosy – and catching up with all the latest trends from “down South”.
One might not expect to find the best pizza in Newcastle out in the suburbs of Heaton – never mind easily the best pizza in the entire region. But there’s serious dedication to the art of pizza baking here: ingredients are carefully sourced, and cooked quickly with skill and love. From the simple margherita to something with a bit of spicy Italian sausage, all the pizzas are of an immense quality, and way, way better than anything available nearby. Bring your own alcohol too, and share an 18″ pie with some mates.
207 Chillingham Road, NE6 5LJ (0191 2765298, www.calsown.co.uk)
The Bridge Tavern
This pub only opened last year but has already established itself as a favourite with the drinkers of Newcastle. The cracking selection of beers – many of which are made at the in-house micro brewery – is matched only by the quality of the food. From top bar snacks (think pig’s head croquettes, beer battered oysters, or haggis toasties) to more substantial offerings like their very good burger, or simply fish and chips, you can’t go wrong with a proper pint and some great value pub food.
7 Akenside Hill , NE1 3UF (0191 261 9966, www.thebridgetavern.com)
Rightfully renowned for its superb breakfasts – the eggs Benedict is amazing, or try Craster kippers, or french toast! – but this is more than just a breakfast hideout. Check out the awesome sandwiches, which include the eponymous local dish of slow cooked ham & pease pudding in a proper stottie. The fact that it’s a stone’s throw from the river make it a great place to sit with a cup of tea and watch the world go by. But be quick: there’s not many tables – and they get busy fast.
4 Queen Street, NE1 3UG (0191 4472327, www.quayingredient.co.uk)
Comfortably straddling the line between café, bar and restaurant, Ernest feels like the party room you wish you had at home – always casual, cosy, and just a little bit cool. A true one-size-fits-all policy, expect the menu items to be as diverse as the customers. All the food is home-cooked, served in decent portions, and never breaks the bank. Get in early for some really cheap scran, or check out their recently launched takeaway offerings if you’re in the area. Oh to be a student again, and spend every afternoon here…
1 Boyd Street, NE2 1AP (0191 260 5216, www.weareernest.com)
Peace and Loaf
A famous face in the toon, Dave Coulson is best remembered from his time on Masterchef, but now has his own restaurant, offering a “unique dining experience”. Open for less than a year but already popular with foodies and those looking for the place to be seen, dishes are playful, visually-striking on the plate, and very much ‘Masterchef’. Try the famous deconstructed chicken pie, and finish with the huge assiette of desserts.
217 Jesmond Road, NE2 1LA (0191 281 5222, www.peaceandloaf.co.uk)
One of Newcastle’s longest-running restaurants has maintained its high standards of quality cooking for 25 years. With father of the Newcastle food scene Terry Laybourne still at the helm, the cooking is always top drawer, and though this former Michelin star holder is now a more informal city centre bistro – the restaurant remains just as popular, and the food just as good. From the bread to the bill, everything is slick and to a highly polished standard. Ingredients always follow the seasons, and are cooked simply, but with a deft touch.
Trinity Gardens, NE1 2HH (0191 2220755, www.cafetwentyone.co.uk)
The Feathers Inn
An exemplary family-run gastropub just outside the city centre, with many, many awards for quality of cooking, sustainability, and championing animal welfare, its use of the best quality ingredients and good portion sizes make The Feathers hard to beat. Either take in a local beer or three by the fire, or sit down for some beautiful homemade black pudding, or various game and hearty meat dishes – they’re pretty much all winners. Try the charcuterie board, and the burnt Northumbrian cream.
Hedley on the Hill, NE43 7SW (01661 843607, www.thefeathers.net)
Jesmond Dene House
This grand county house has long been one of the plushest dining experiences in the city. Now offering a ten course tasting menu that’s taken a fair bit of inspiration from “best in the UK” L’Enclume, smart food shines in an environment that isn’t ever stuffy or pretentious. A great wine list and luxurious accommodation make this an easy choice for a special celebration, or perhaps just for their afternoon tea, which is one the best that the region has to offer.
Jesmond Dene Road, NE2 2EY (0191 212 3000, www.jesmonddenehouse.co.uk)
House of Tides
Previous two-time Michelin star holder and now celebrity chef – thanks to his Great British Menu appearances – local lad Kenny Atkinson has taken a majestic old building in the heart of Newcastle’s Quayside and transformed it into something really special. Teaming up with local veg-growing superstar Ken Holland means the produce is of the very finest quality and, cooked with Kenny’s imaginative but relaxed approach to fine dining, it makes it one of the most special restaurants in the city. From that truffle dish, to GBM classics, House of Tides is another place for special occasions that will leave a lasting memory.
28-30 The Close, NE1 3RF (0191 2303720, www.houseoftides.co.uk)
The Raby Hunt
The only Michelin star in the region is a little outside of NE1 city centre, but certainly worth the drive out. Self-taught head chef James Close conjures up truly unique dishes using seasonal ingredients with a motto of simplicity. Try the super rich chocolate bar, and the eel, parfait and cherry combination. There’s a decent wine list, and accommodation for the indulgent. A great-priced lunch menu is also available.
Summerhouse, DL2 3UD (01325 374237, www.rabyhuntrestaurant.co.uk)
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