21 Restaurants to Try in 2021
From Michelin-starred magic and Scandi-inspired suppers to simple seasonal cooking and pizza perfection, here are 21 foodie spots to add to your list
We flocked to the pub when they started pulling pints again, and tried to save our favourite foodies by eating out to help out. In short, the landscape of how we enjoyed food changed dramatically, but it’s still been with us every step of the way. Whilst takeaways may be as close as we’re getting to our much-loved local independents for now, we’re hoping that in 2021 they’ll welcome us back again. That’s why we’ve rounded up 21 spots to try, when we finally can…
The Raby Hunt, County Durham
Dining here should be on every true foodie’s bucket list – the restaurant is the North East’s first and only two-Michelin star establishment, and has been named in the Top 50 Restaurants in the Good Food Guide. Chef James Close is hailed as ‘a food visionary’ and his tasting menus celebrate the wealth of fresh, local produce in the North East, with theatre and presentation to the fore.
Black Swan Oldstead
This family-run Yorkshire inn holds a Michelin star and four AA Rosettes, and their menu is packed with creativity and what Tommy Banks (Britain’s youngest Michelin-starred chef) can forage from the garden. Offering just one menu allows the team to bring together an experience you won’t forget. It’s a real find and an outstanding chef is at work here – one for true gourmands.
The word ‘skosh’ comes from the Japanese ‘sukoshi’, meaning ‘a small amount’. It’s a small plates place, basically, but very much upscale: Grade II listed building, bespoke dining room, open-plan kitchen, the whole shebang. In two words: eclectic internationalism.
Barrio Comida, Durham
Yet another of the North East’s successful street foodies to go bricks-and-mortar, Barrio Comida sling authentic Mexican tacos inspired by the amazing taquerias dotted all over Mexico and California. Be sure to try their rare-breed pork belly tacos with guacamole, salsa habanera and pink onions, and the ceviche prawn tostada – we like washing ours down with a classic margarita.
Although this new restaurant hasn’t physically opened its doors for dining in yet, their at-home offering has been nothing short of impressive – think purple sprouting broccoli and black garlic, salt beef, buttermilk potatoes and roscoff onions, and brown butter custard with baked apple and maple syrup. With that in mind, we’re hotly anticipating their regularly-changing five course fixed dinner menu when they do finally welcome diners inside. That, and their promise of a complex wine list which ranges from the classics to the crazy.
Describing themselves as ‘a fiercely seasonal open-fire kitchen’ Träkol has received rave reviews from some of the country’s most discerning food critics since its opening. There’s a real emphasis on nose-to-tail dining, and they use only rare and heritage British breeds to produce their menu (which is heaven for carnivores). Booking is essential and demand for tables is high, but when the food’s as good as this, it’s worth the wait.
Tommy Banks’ York outpost follows the same farm-to-fork ethos as his Michelin-starred Black Swan. Their new tasting menu adopts a different style to reflect each of the growing groups defined in Tommy’s cookbook, Roots. Tommy and his team work around these (The Preservation Season, The Hunger Gap and The Time of Abundance) and the dishes change as the availability of ingredients come and go.
Cook House, Ouseburn
What started as a supper club in a pair of converted shipping containers in Ouseburn, run by former architect and foraging fanatic Anna Hedworth, is now one of Newcastle’s most notable dining destinations. Pop in for breakfast, lunch or an evening of sharing small plates and see why there’s such a fuss over her simple, elegant, and subtly luxurious dishes.
Pablo Eggsgobao, Whitley Bay
Breakfast meets bao buns at this popular new spot, which recently made the move from Chillingham Road to Whitley Bay. Think fluffy and giant Chinese buns filled with crunchy hash browns, melted cheese, egg and a sausage patty, all topped with sriracha and burger sauce. It’s the combo you never knew you needed until you take your first bite.
All about keeping things simple, Kevin Tickle’s new venture, Heft, is a dining experience inspired by the Cumbrian land. Underpinned by his intimate knowledge of the local environment and landscapes (he grew up in the countryside, hunting and fishing from an early age) he’ll be creating modern, British and seasonal small plates and snacks, based around awareness of what grows where and when.
Restaurant Pine, Northumberland
This intimate new Northumberland restaurant was unable to open its doors last year as planned. Instead, they’ve been busy adapting to offer at-home tasting menus – and there’s even a sommelier on hand to offer advice on wine pairings. When dining out does recommence, expect foraged ingredients and dishes inspired by the surrounding environment from local chef, Cal Byerley, with a healthy dose of pine too, of course.
House of Tides, Newcastle
The reputation of Kenny Atkinson’s Michelin-starred restaurant goes before it. The rustic interior of this beautifully-restored townhouse and its multi-course seasonal tasting menu and wine pairings make a visit to House of Tides an experience that can’t easily be replicated. Expect a range of delicious flavours, from venison and lamb to monkfish and cheeses.
The Truffled Hog, Stokesley
Whether it’s a catch up with friends or a special celebration, you’ll be taken on a culinary journey here with delicious dishes and adventurous tipples. As the name suggests, you can expect the finest meat, including pork favourites including pigs in blankets. Don’t miss the chance to treat yourself to the melted brie or camembert small plates.
Restaurant Hjem, Wall
Alex Nietosvuori brings his Scandinavian flair and exceptional culinary skills to Hjem, and has captured the attention of critics nationwide. Along with his partner, Northumberland-born Ally Thompson, they’ve created a destination restaurant which brings together the very best of their respective backgrounds. Their tasting menu is created from ingredients sourced from the surrounding farms and gardens of Northumberland, and whether it’s quail egg, lamb tartare or Lindisfarne oyster, all of the food is cooked with Scandinavian precision and techniques.
Scream For Pizza, Sandyford
The pizzas they serve here are second to none, and it’s their joyous experimentation which really sets Scream For Pizza apart. Take the Why Aye Sweetie Pie with blue cheese, cranberries, parma ham and honey for example, or the Mimosa with cream sauce, roast ham, sweetcorn and parmesan. Of course there are classics in there too, so there’s something for everyone to indulge in.
The Yan at Broadrane
The Yan is a truly special place at the heart of the Lake District. Their licensed bistro with beds promises a delicious seasonal menu inspired by the farm’s history, with rustic Cumbrian classics and nostalgic British favourites. Dining here is a great way to get set for a day of exploration, or to relax after a day on the fells.
The Violet Green, Norton
You'll have a truly unique dining experience at The Violet Green, which is housed in the basement of the old village bank in Norton. You'll find dishes including crispy hen's egg with chorizo and tomato jam, and chateaubriand to share within the cosy atmosphere. Plus, all of their meat is supplied by Blackwell’s of Norton, which is just a stone’s throw away, and their fish is from local fishmongers Hodgson’s of Hartlepool.
The Angel at Hetton
Having built a reputation for gaining and retaining Michelin stars across the country, Michael Wignall took on the challenge of running The Angel at Hetton, and of course they were awarded a Michelin star in the 2020 Michelin Guide. Their loin of Scottish venison, butternut squash, pumpkin, teriyaki shiitake, pak choi, cocoa and brioche is a must-try.
This urban restaurant is influenced by nature, and with AA Rosettes and a score of 5 in The Good Food Guide for its forward-thinking small plates and tasting menus, you can be sure of great food here. Mixing true innovation and the finest available native ingredients, Jöro epitomises modern dining.
The Alice Hawthorne Inn, Nun Monkton
The chefs here have a vast experience creating flavoursome, imaginative dishes with a strong Yorkshire influence using fresh and seasonal favourites. Their kohlrabi, garden pea and avocado ravioli is a great example of this, accompanied by lemon mayonnaise, apple and caramelised pecans – and better still, it’s vegan.
The recently-opened Rafters boasts unique tasting experiences which are designed to take diners on a culinary journey that encapsulates a nostalgic love of food. Their three-course Sunday lunch offers a unique and luxurious take on the classics, but there are treats awaiting you on every day of the week.
Some of the restaurants listed above are currently closed in line with government guidelines, whilst others remain open with takeaway and delivery offerings. Please check with the individual restaurant for the most up-to-date information.