If you like: Small plates with broad horizons
Then try: Mr Petit, Newcastle
Despite being in the middle of the city, the louche, cosy, intimate feel here is very much in the bistro tradition. The menu manages to pull together small plates from across the world – try lemongrass and lime-marinated sea bream in coconut and coriander sauce from Indonesia, or West African spiced squid with paprika potato salad – without ever feeling disjointed.
If you like: Honest heartiness
Then try: 68 Café, Toft Hill
Out in the sticks to the west of Bishop Auckland, this is the little café that could: it does good quality, well-priced breakfasts, sandwiches, toasties, cakes (including a very, very good cheesecake), baked potatoes and more. You can get anything on the menu to take away too.
If you like: British classics and upmarket homebrew
Then try: The Hungry Bear, Leeds
Meanwood’s food scene is on the up, and this modern British place is right in the middle of it. The compact menu packs in the straightforward (brisket stew with dumplings), the charmingly retro (squash, parsnip sweet potato and red onion bake with hazelnut and pear salad) and the funkily continental (leek, mushroom, chestnut and blue cheese lattice). They brew their own beer at their 70-litre nanobrewery too: try the lemon and dill-accented Sorachi Ace single hop pale ale.