Our Pick of the Top Places to Dine This Christmas in the North East
You won’t be disappointed by our pick of the top places to celebrate the festive season
Barrasford, Hexham NE48 4AA
elebrate the most wonderful time of the year at award-winning country pub and restaurant, The Barrasford Arms. There are few places as good to cosy up next to the open fire for a festive feast. The food here is traditional but not just any ‘pub grub’, with every dish homemade, freshly cooked and elevated to the highest standards. For their seasonally changing menu, owner and chef Michael Eames champions local suppliers, and picks produce from the pub’s poly tunnel in the back garden to use alongside that from local suppliers across the North East.
Wynyard TS22 5NF
From an intimate evening of private dining, to enjoying a merry get-together with friends and family to round off the year, Wynyard Hall is the perfect place for your celebrations. Choose fine dining in The Glass House, where a carefully-curated menu features classic dishes with a distinctive seasonal twist, or a festive afternoon tea packed full of wintery flavours and Christmas treats, and a delicious glass of mulled wine to wash it down.
11 Main Street, Ponteland NE20 9NH
This neighbourhood restaurant is a sure bet for an informal-yet-refined dining experience. Ingredient-led and flavour driven, the food here is relaxed, modern and hyper-seasonal, with the menu reimagined each week. Foraging for a lot of what goes into their dishes from the surrounding area, Eleven introduces diners to new ingredients and techniques but with a familiar feel, providing real value for money found in few other places.
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The Jet Miners Inn
61 High Street, Great Broughton, Middlesbrough TS9 7EF
With an old world charm, the historic Jet Miners Inn offers everything you could hope for in a traditional country restaurant and pub – a warm welcome, hearty pub meals and a selection of local tipples on draft. Add to that a special Christmas menu and what more could you want? Begin with a panacalty terrine with homemade pease pudding and piccalilli, before tucking into traditional roast turkey or smoked honey-glazed ham served with all the trimmings and real pan gravy. Room for dessert? Their crema Catalana infused with cinnamon and orange is up there with the best.
The French Quarter
Arch 6, Westgate Road NE1 1SA
0191 222 0156
If you’re dreaming of somewhere with that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ this holiday season, then look no further. Celebrate at this authentic French restaurant and wine bar in the heart of Newcastle. Challenging perceptions that French dining is formal or fussy, French Quarter offer a regularly updated small plates menu with classic dishes such as escargots, boeuf bourguignon and crème brûlée, as well as popular tipples including Beaujolais, Kir Royal, 1664 and Laurent Perrier.
260 Chillingham Road, Newcastle NE6 5LQ
0191 276 1112
Born from a shared love of good food and wine, NEST is a neighbourhood restaurant located in Newcastle’s up-and-coming suburb of Heaton. Believing indulgent dining doesn’t need to be daunting, NEST offers a warm, informal atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy honest, humble dining without compromising on quality. Their tasting menus tell a story, with each dish having a meaning behind it and using the best seasonal produce and local suppliers
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Vallum Farm, Military Road, East Wallhouses NE18 0LL
Set in an old barn overlooking the sloping Tyne Valley landscape, Michelin-starred Restaurant Pine is the debut restaurant of Cal Byerley and his partner Siân Buchan. The definition of relaxed dining, expect an intimate setting with a warm, inviting feel throughout. Watch the skilled chefs work their magic in the open kitchen before enjoying a generous tasting menu, made using ingredients foraged from the surrounding countryside or grown in the onsite kitchen garden. The menu may change on a daily basis but it always celebrates the finest British ingredients for an exceptional dining experience.
29 Queen Street, Newcastle NE1 3UG
0191 261 4277
Inspired by India’s extraordinary culinary evolution, Khai Khai’s menu is a melting pot of distinctive regional food traditions and cultural heritage. At their Quayside restaurant, dishes are prepared over hot stones, coals and wood fires, in the revolutionary josper or the age-old tandoor oven. Each dish follows the original recipe, with nothing spared in the pursuit of authenticity. Perfect for a festive feast with family and friends, heritage mains of Old Delhi butter chicken, rara gosht and prawn alleppey are served for the table to share, along with a selection of sides.
Gilesgate, Hexham NE46 3NJ
For an informal, friendly dining atmosphere look no further than Bouchon in Hexham. This bistrot brings the culinary delights of the French countryside to the North of England at extremely reasonably prices. Serving straightforward country-style French cuisine, each dish is prepared and cooked in a simple fashion yet still remains full of flavour. Try a French take on a Christmas menu with dishes such as comté cheese soufflé, turkey cordon bleu, crispy duck confit and white chocolate and clémentine bûche de Noël.
Jesmond Dene House
Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle NE2 2EY
0191 212 3000
Whether you’re dining at Fern, an upmarket neighbourhood dining room serving contemporary meals created by head chef Danny Parker and his team, or taking a break from Christmas shopping by indulging in afternoon tea in the Great Hall, Jesmond Dene House is the place to be this festive season. Running alongside his seasonally changing, a la carte menu, the Masterchef the Professionals finalist will be offering a set menu with all the trimmings – we’re talking Champagne cocktails, mince pies and a whole lot of festive spirit – as well as afternoon tea with seasonal treats.
Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG
0191 691 7090
Experience the magic of Christmas at one of the North East’s most iconic venues. Over the festive period Trenchers comes alive with Christmas cheer, making it the perfect setting for a celebration. Order from a festive set menu with dishes such as Scottish smoked salmon, turkey escalope with glazed brie and cranberry relish and sherry trifle, or why not get up early to enjoy breakfast with Santa instead? Visit Santa’s grotto to make it an extra special treat, as well as having fun at an interactive disco for the kids.
Black Horse Beamish
Red Row Estate, Beamish DH9 0RW
Christmas is a special time at Red Row Estate – the fires are lit, the Champagne is on ice and the decorations are sparkling. Looking across the Beamish Conservation Valley, this glorious 37-acre sprawl is home to the Black Horse Beamish Restaurant where the Christmas spirit continues. The epitome of a relaxed dining experience, there’s a range of festive dining options available here, from a three course menu to afternoon tea, so all you need to do is sit back, relax and let the team of creative chefs do all the hard work.
The Impeccable Pig
Front Street, Sedgefield TS21 3AT
Christmas is the time of year for pigging out big style, and what better place to do it than The Impeccable Pig? The atmosphere is light, cosy and welcoming while the bistro-style food is hearty, honest and delicious. Alongside their a la carte dishes, they will be running a Christmas Fayre menu this festive season too. Expect the likes of smoked mackerel mousse or roast pork belly to start, and traditional roast turkey or venison and root vegetable cassoulet to follow. Not to mention a carefully-selected and extensive wine list.
Gainford, Darlington DL2 3HA
There are few better places to celebrate the festive season than Headlam Hall. An authentic 17th century country house retreat, good food is at the heart of what they do here. Their kitchens produce modern British food that reflects the fabulous produce of the region, including the Hall’s own kitchen garden. Plus, with a working farm they also understand the importance of strong relationships with local suppliers and provenance. Offering festive lunches and Christmas afternoon tea throughout December – what are you waiting for?
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The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall
Hurworth on Tees, Darlington DL2 2DU
For culinary confidence head to The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall, where a brigade of chefs create a fine-dining experience at its best; always different, always memorable. Ever-changing a la carte and tasting menus feature show-stopping dishes carefully crafted using the finest seasonal produce and what’s more, an estate-to-plate ethos means that many of the dishes feature ingredients foraged or grown in their own kitchen gardens. Add to that, cocktails created by expert mixologists and a wine list featuring more than 400 exceptional examples from around the world, and dining in The Orangery is an experience you won’t forget.
11 Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RF
Found within Houndgate Townhouse hotel, Saltfish is a beautifully refurbished seafood restaurant and wine bar where exceptional food, service and surroundings go hand in hand. There are so many ways to dine here, from indulging in freshly shucked oysters at the bar, to unwinding with friends and family over afternoon tea, or even just full-on feasting on the mouth-watering seafood dishes from their à la carte menu, fresh fish specials board and charcoal grilled fish selection. Pair that with organic and natural wines produced from artisan winemakers and what more
5–7 Side, Newcastle NE1 3JE
0191 222 1722
If fine dining is what you’re looking for this Christmas, then 14-cover Solstice is a must try. Located on Newcastle’s historic Quayside and a stone’s throw from the iconic Tyne Bridge, the newest venture from House of Tides’ Kenny Atkinson and his wife Abbie offers an elegant and intimate dining experience in the chicest of settings. The single 15–18 course tasting menu focuses on quality ingredients, emphasising simplicity, seasonality, and sustainable practices, demonstrated through a series of snacks, savoury dishes from land and sea, selection of desserts and petits fours.
Bewicks Kitchen & Coffee House
Church Street, Rothbury NE65 7UP
A gem of a restaurant in the heart of Northumberland, Bewicks Kitchen & Coffee House offers modern British cuisine in a cosy, informal atmosphere. Owner and executive head chef Kevin Mulraney was classically French trained before spending a career climbing the culinary ladder, and now focuses on sustainability, fresh produce and in-season ingredients when crafting his menus. While the offering may change with the seasons, keeping dishes simple but well-executed remains the same, so for a reliable festive feast this is a safe bet.
The Lord Crewe Bamburgh
Front Street, Bamburgh NE69 7BL
In the heart of Bamburgh village, and just a stone’s throw away from the iconic castle and award-winning beach, The Lord Crewe is perfect for anyone serious about food. With a strong focus on high-quality, local produce, the menu has something for everyone. Choose from dishes which include 28-day-aged ribeye, and garden pea and mint risotto, or luxurious seafood dishes such as Lindisfarne oysters and lobster thermidor. Plus, dog-friendly seating areas within the restaurant mean four-legged friends are welcome here too.
1–3 Market Lane, Newcastle NE1 6QQ
0191 261 7222
At Horticulture they’re passionate about fresh, organic, locally-sourced produce, and you can taste it throughout their menu. At this independent bar and restaurant, you’ll find unique, tasty, forward-thinking dishes. Choose between a variety of small plates from the earth, land and sea, such as barbecued aubergine, octopus tagine, and crusted duck breast. Pair your choice with something from their divine selection of cocktails – they have the world’s biggest espresso martini menu!
69 Grey Street, Newcastle NE1 6EF
0191 222 0125
Offering a selection of pan-Asian cuisine and an array of unique cocktails, you can dine and drink in style at The Muddler this Christmas. On Grey Street in the heart of Newcastle, the luxurious, intimate interiors and friendly, relaxed atmosphere make it hugely popular year-round, but their festive set menu brings the best of their small plates together – duck gyoza, Japanese prawn tempura, bulgogi pork belly and crispy chilli squid. Paired with exclusive drinks such as a blueberry tea cocktail and a Japanese Roku gin, you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven.
Newcastle, Jesmond and Sunderland
Built from the ground up by brothers Filip, Viktor and Yusuf, the inspiration for Acropolis was to bring authentic Greek street food to the North East and there’s no doubt they’ve done just that. Now serving their food regionwide (in their various permanent cafés and street-food stalls including Grainger Market, Hoults Yard and Stack Seaburn) there’s always a high chance of passing the award-winning Acropolis team as you head around the North East. Offering an extensive menu of delicious Greek dishes, such as chicken gyros wraps and fried halloumi bites, you can enjoy an authentic taste of Greece. We recommend the homemade tzatziki dip – you can thank us later!
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Newgate Street, Newcastle NE1 5RE
0191 466 1730
From a sit-down meal in the restaurant to Christmas cocktails and festive bites in your own private room, you can celebrate in style this year at The Hustle. Alongside their ever popular American-themed offering, they will be serving a seasonal menu packed full of winter warmers to tempt your tastebuds. Expect dishes such as braised beef, poached cod, rump steak and Cambodian-style veggie curry, not forgetting their own twist on a festive favourite with turkey ballotine. For those looking for a less traditional option they are also offering a festive bottomless brunch, as well as Christmas cocktail masterclasses.
Judges Country House Hotel
Kirklevington Hall, Kirklevington, Yarm TS15 9LW
With the halls decked and the trees sparkling, there are few better places to celebrate at this time of year. New head chef Paul Bussey and his team have created a selection of amazing seasonal menus, from festive afternoon tea to delicious lunch and dinner options. From classics such as mince pies and mulled wine, to original dishes such as crispy Durham camembert, locally-shot pheasant pot roast, venison osso bucco, beetroot Wellington and orange and gingerbread cheesecake, there is so much to choose from and something to suit every palate.
With restaurants all around the North East, Tomahawk Steakhouse is a specialist steak restaurant serving the finest Himalayan salt dry-aged steaks, alongside Wagyu and other meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. Throughout December, enjoy a Christmas menu including garlic bread, crispy squid, prawn cocktail or Parma croquettes to start, followed by traditional roast turkey, Korean fried fish, dry-aged rump steak or the festive Parmo. Round your meal off with a delicious seasonal dessert – we’d choose gingerbread crème brûlée with cinnamon shortbread.
Kneeton Lane, Middleton Tyas, Richmond DL10 6NJ
The 200 acre privately-owned Middleton Lodge estate is home to two award-winning restaurants, making this lovingly restored Yorkshire retreat a must visit for festive dining. At The Coach House, a relaxed all-day dining restaurant, chefs work closely with the gardening team to serve estate-to-plate dishes, such as garden squash and ricotta ravioli, or garden beetroot risotto. Meanwhile, the recently opened Forge will be holding tasting evenings on weekends in December, where you can expect to find specialist dishes such as Paris market carrot tarlet, Jorvik blonde bread and dry-aged roe deer.