Amaani at The Pumphouse
Farm Road, Durham DH1 3PJ
0191 384 0832
Whilst The Pumphouse has been around for a long time, Amaani has only recently taken over and they’ve quickly impressed diners. Offering their take on Indian fine dining, enjoy a menu that’s been carefully thought out, striking a balance between classic and contemporary dishes. Tuck into tandoori grill platters of succulent lamb tikka, or opt for pan-seared fresh scallops served with mustard, mint and pepper.
10 East Parade, Whitley Bay NE26 1AP
0191 447 0500
Discover the Geordie-inspired British menu at Hinnies, with dishes like Pan Haggerty with winter roots, mustard cream, and poached hen’s egg. The emphasis is on serving simple, freshly-cooked food in a relaxed and intimate setting, and we think they’ve hit the nail on the head. Owner Andy Hook also has Blackfriars and Dobson & Parnell in his portfolio, so you can be sure you’ve made a good choice should you opt for lunch or dinner here.
The Potted Lobster
3 Lucker Road, Bamburgh NE69 7BS
Sitting proudly in the picturesque, coastal village of Bamburgh, the recently expanded The Potted Lobster is an intimate destination that takes pride in serving quality dishes prepared using the freshest fish, delivered daily. As a stalwart of the Northumberland coast’s culinary scene, alongside seafood you can also expect a variety of dishes, including lamb and beef from Bamburgh and beyond, all prepared by their highly-skilled chefs. Just make sure you order the seafood platter – it’s a dish that has diners returning time and time again.
8 High Bridge, Newcastle NE1 1EN
0191 447 4464
Newcastle’s High Bridge is now home to several popular restaurants, with Kaltur leading the way. This intimate restaurant serves mouthwatering Spanish tapas and charcuterie, as well as an excellent selection of wines. With only a handful of tables and an ever-growing customer base, you’d be well advised to book in advance. You can also find them at Gateshead’s By The River Brew Co shipping container village, and they have plans to open a third venue in the city centre, so keep your eyes peeled.
1910 Steak & Seafood
Spanish City, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG
0191 691 7090
The rejuvenation of Spanish City brought several excellent restaurants with it, including 1910 Steak & Seafood. This beautiful restaurant offers stunning sea views, and an impressive menu. If you’re seeking something hearty, opt for the 1910 Fish Pie, or if you’re out to impress, the Chateaubriand is hard to beat. Start with a glass of fizz in the neighbouring Champagne Bar to really turn the evening into something special.
Flat White Kitchen
40 Saddler Street, Durham DH1 3NU
Following the success of their original café, Flat White Kitchen opened on Saddler Street with a more extensive dining menu. It’s a popular spot where they have their own house ketchup and serve small sharing plates – try Korean fried quail, or cheddar, honey and hazelnut gougères for something a little bit different. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking for somewhere intimate to kick back and catch up with friends.
139 Jesmond Road, Newcastle NE2 1JY
0191 281 4443
This cosy neighbourhood restaurant may look unassuming from the outside, but step inside and be blown away by the perfectly-cooked dishes and tastefully-selected wine list. Everything is made with passion, with chef and owner Nick Grieves heading up things in the kitchen. Dinner is a four-course affair, with dishes like rare breed pork belly, with Coco de Paimpol, January King cabbage and salsa verde.
Colmans’ Seafood Temple
Sea Road, South Shields NE33 2LD
0191 511 1349
With stunning panoramic views of the coastline, the younger, rather more grand sister restaurant to Colmans has reinvented the neoclassical ‘Gandhi’s Temple’ into an altar offering seafood excellence to the gods (and the South Shields locals). Divine.
St Mary’s Inn
St Mary’s Park, Morpeth NE61 6BL
The recently re-opened St Mary’s Inn is all about warmth and generosity – whether you come to eat, drink or stay, friendly hospitality, fabulous food and 11 wonderfully comfortable bedrooms await. With large, inviting, colourful spaces, as well as cosy corners next to log fires, it’s a relaxed, sociable environment with a real feeling of luxury, and since they’re a dog-friendly B&B, the whole family can enjoy the trip, whether on two legs or four.
Bistro Citron Vert
87 Elemore Street, High Pittington DH6 1BD
0191 372 0564
Diners rave about this fuss-free French bistro in the heart of a former mining village, and with good reason too. It’s all about simple French food, cooked really, really well. Expect thick slabs of properly seasoned pâtés, as well as bowls of French onion soup that have the depth of flavour you would find in a bistro in the heart of Paris. Decor is simple and smart, with plenty of candles creating an intimate atmosphere.
The Avenue, Washington
0191 908 7621
This 400-year-old Grade II-listed building has been lovingly restored and is now home to this eclectic eatery, where you’ll find quality food – like pearl barley risotto with poached hen’s egg, foraged mushrooms and gremolata. It isn’t fancy or pretentious, it’s just good food served really well.
Dobson & Parnell
21 Queen Street, Newcastle NE1 3UG
0191 221 0904
This stylish eatery is tucked away beside Newcastle Quayside. Expect quality throughout – from a kitchen specialising in refined European dishes with ethically-sourced local produce, to their meticulous preserving techniques of curing and smoking.
Hillgate Quays, Gateshead NE8 2BH
0191 737 1120
Describing themselves as ‘a fiercely seasonal open-fire kitchen’ Träkol has received rave reviews from some of the country’s most respected 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.
24 Wretham Place, Newcastle NE2 1XU
Kimchi Planet have been a stalwart of the Newcastle street food scene for some time, but have recently opened their own bricks and mortar restaurant. Expect the same Korean specialities, from BBQ Kimbap – a sushi roll filled with pork belly, lettuce and Samjang sauce – to Kimchi pancakes.
11 Starbeck Avenue, Newcastle NE2 1RH
0191 261 6852
Sandyford is fast becoming a foodie hotspot in Newcastle, thanks to the influx of students looking for somewhere Instagram (and budget) friendly to spend their loans. Aidan’s Kitchen is one of the better places that has cropped up to meet this demand. Started up by a local graduate, this is the perfect spot to gather and tuck into delicious breakfasts and brunches, while dissecting the events of the night before. The full breakfast is a hangover saviour, and the harissa-spiced tomato and pepper stew is perfect for warming body and soul in the winter.
4 Hume Street, Newcastle NE6 1LN
0191 447 6868
One of the cooler venues cropping up in Newcastle’s trendy Ouseburn area, Kiln manages to strike the perfect balance between intimate, cosy and edgy. We love the thoughtfully-designed interiors, and the small garden space is the perfect place to enjoy a pint in the sun. In the evening, they transform into an informal restaurant, serving up original dishes including charcoal aubergine with walnuts and Douglas fir oil, with roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes.
Riley’s Fish Shack
King Edward’s Bay, Tynemouth NE30 4BY
0191 257 1371
We remain eternally thankful that Riley’s exists, and that – despite the fact that everyone and their mother knows about Adam Riley’s superb seafood spot – we can still find a seat at this small outcrop on King Edward’s Bay. We dream of their wood-fired monkfish wraps and its warming, briny hit too often to mention.
35 Side, Newcastle NE1 3JE
0191 222 0973
This casual bistro in the heart of Newcastle stands in the path of the former route from the castle to the Quayside, and while their interiors may feel minimalist, their simple yet flavourful British plates – recognised by a prestigious Bib Gourmand Michelin Guide 2019 Award – certainly pack a punch. With a regularly-changing menu offering unusual dishes – like butternut squash fondant with tartar, chestnut and smoked eel, as well as classics such as ribeye of saddleback pork with roast garlic, aioli and black pudding – and an impressive wine offering, it’s a perfect shout for an excellent quality, yet laid-back dining experience.
29 Broad Chare, Newcastle NE1 3DQ
0191 232 1331
Formerly the site of the much-loved Café Vivvo, the newest offering from Terry Laybourne’s 21 Group, St Vincent, is an atmospheric wine bar. There’s an impressive list of wines and cocktails, served alongside a range of small plates. Dishes are simple but seriously effective, using carefully sourced local ingredients, they pride themselves on being ‘big on flavours and low on fuss’. Whether you opt for the charcuterie offerings, or go for comforting mac n’ cheese with truffle, you won’t be disappointed.
Harissa Mediterranean Kitchen
31–33 Starbeck Avenue, Newcastle NE2 1RJ
0191 261 5501
Another addition to the increasingly stylish Sandyford, Harissa Mediterranean Kitchen is a light and airy space, that’s been decorated beautifully to reflect the style of the Mediterranean. Dine on a selection of chargrilled meats, homemade flatbreads, tagines and mezze, alongside fresh salads that are perfect to takeaway. Book a table for their Saturday brunch and start your weekend the right way – with orange blossom and pomegranate Bellinis, and authentic shakshuka.
Eldon Square, Newcastle NE1 7AP
0191 591 0998
The only independent eatery to be found in Eldon Square, Umai Mi offers pan-Asian dining and drinking in the heart of Newcastle. Paying homage to the many different dining traditions across Asia, the menu offers a range of dishes both to share and to enjoy alone. More unusual offerings include tofu dirty fries smothered in cheese and a spicy sauce, as well as the more traditional dishes like sweet ‘n’ sour chicken.
95 Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3DH
0191 222 1122
As you’d expect, this place does beef really well, but it also does a great selection of seafood, and its cocktail menu helps make Tomahawk a great spot for a catch up with friends. They’re well known for their excellent range of steaks, with choices like Yorkshire Wagyu, the 38oz Tomahawk, the Porterhouse, and Chateaubriand on the menu.
69 Grey Street, Newcastle NE1 6EF
0191 222 0125
Since opening its doors in December 2018, The Muddler has been our go-to for an imaginative fusion menu and tempting cocktails. Dishes are inspired by pan-Asian cuisine but the menu has a truly international feel. Expect artfully-presented dishes and unusual combinations, and a cocktail list that is equally as unique, with tipples like Zen Garden, an English cucumber gin-based cocktail with an Asian twist of lemongrass and cucumber foam.
The New New Bengal
232 High Street, Gosforth NE3 1HH
0191 284 1295
This hugely popular Indian restaurant re-opened in 2016 after a fire, with a new contemporary interior that makes for stylish dining – but it’s still all about the food here. The tempting menu of classic dishes is matched by a fantastic wine list and cocktail menu. It’s the kind of place where they’ll not only remember your name, but your favourite dishes and how you like them, too.
1 The Square, Sedgefield TS21 2AB
Take a seat in the restaurant, relax in the bar or settle down in the snug – this brand new pub with rooms is destined to become a firm favourite. The extensive à la carte menu serves up all the classics (with a twist) but also includes tempting modern dishes, like a sweet cured pork rack with truffle cauliflower purée and sour baby apples, and an oxtail and marrowbone pie. We also love their Sunday Roast & Toast: two roasts and a bottle of bubbly for £38.
The Curing House
21–23 Bedford Street, Middlesbrough TS1 2LL
A unique charcuterie bar and restaurant which serves brunches and dinners, and keep your eye out for their monthly special events too. Enjoy regional charcuterie, or a tempting selection of larger dishes. We particularly like the sound of the home-cured roast bacon chop, boulangère potatoes, black pudding, puy lentils and honeyed parsnip.
85 High Street, Yarm TS15 9BG
This modern Italian trattoria sits in the heart of Yarm, making it the perfect place to pause and relax following an afternoon of shopping. Unwind with a glass of wine (ours is the Il Caggio Pinot Grigio from Venezie) before tucking into classic Italian specialities with a twist, like black olive crumbed cod. Special mention must go to their extensive gluten-free and dairy-free menus, which receive rave reviews for offering diet-friendly food without any loss of flavour.
Fenwick Food Hall
Fenwick, Northumberland Street NE1 7AS
0191 232 5100
The Food Hall sneaks into our top picks with its eclectic mix of eateries, including the ever popular Mediterranean-style tapas bar and restaurant Fuego, the Saltwater Fish Bar, and Porterhouse Grill – a relaxed dining spot with a modern butchery attached.
Fork In The Road
133 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough TS1 5DE
This former derelict warehouse is now home to a unique concept. The Fork in the Road restaurant is primarily staffed by individuals who have gone through the social enterprise programme here, helping those who are recovering addicts, ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed regain a place in society. The food is fantastic and although the menu is not huge, it covers all the basics brilliantly. One word of advice – save room for dessert.
The Brierley Restaurant at Acklam Hall
Hall Drive, Middlesbrough TS5 7DY
One of Middlesbrough’s hidden gems, this stunning Grade I-listed building has atmosphere aplenty and is the perfect place to escape and enjoy some of the region’s finest cuisine. Settle down in the sumptuously-appointed dining room and enjoy everything from a quick bite to eat, to an elegant three-course dinner. Their afternoon tea offering is excellent too, and why not add a glass of fizz for some extra indulgence?
FORGE at Middleton Lodge
Kneeton Lane, Richmond DL10 6NJ
Executive Chef Gareth Rayner has created a unique nine-course tasting menu at Forge, which focusses heavily on ingredients found in the estate’s Kitchen Garden, produce from the local farming community, and ingredients which can be foraged from nearby woodland. Dishes are cooked on open fires and menus change on a daily basis, depending on which produce has been picked from the estate that morning. There’s also optional wine-pairing available, with the estate’s sommelier selecting the finest drink to complement every dish.