Just like the county of Essex will forever be associated with the gleaming veneers of the TOWIE cast, the city of Newcastle’s reputation has eternally been tainted by the success of controversial reality show Geordie Shore. Trust us when we tell you though that there is far more to this exciting city than just bad fake tans and buckets of cheap hair gel.
Firstly, for history buffs there are plenty of historical sites to visit in Newcastle, including the 12th century castle which gives the city its name and a shopping arcade that dates back to the Edwardian era. A visit to Newcastle wouldn’t be complete without stopping off to admire the Angel of the North either, while fans of architecture and engineering will delight in a visit to the Quayside, where you can spy all seven of the bridges dotted along the River Tyne.
Of course, another thing that Newcastle is famous for is its hospitality and friendly residents. When the sun goes down, the city comes alive with its famous nightlife scene that sees the streets often abuzz with partygoers strolling in and out of trendy nightclubs and fun cocktail bars. Remember the importance of lining your stomach though, so after you have done all of your daytime exploring and before you head out on the toon, it would probably be wise to fit a meal into your Newcastle schedule.
Luckily for you, there are a whole host of vibrant, delicious and great value Newcastle restaurants for you to choose from. The city’s diverse collection of casual restaurants, cafes and fine-dining haunts means finding somewhere to enjoy a good meal is easy as pie (with extra lashings of gravy, please). Check out our pick of the best Newcastle restaurants below and don’t forget to book ahead where you can to avoid any disappointment.
Peace & Loaf
Why: Owned by Masterchef: The Professionals star David Coulson, Peace & Loaf’s homey atmosphere and enticing menu have made this restaurant a must visit for diners looking for classic British dishes with a twist. The menu changes regularly and makes use of local produce, as well as ingredients Coulson himself has grown or foraged for. Look out for quirky dishes such as a black pudding macaron and carrot with watermelon and feta, while petit fours may arrive on a makeshift tongue.
Where: 217 Jesmond Road, NE2 1LA
Why: Apparently the oldest dining room in the UK, Blackfriars has been taken over by Andy Hook (formerly of Sidney’s restaurant) where it now serves up British classics including gin cured salmon, lemon sole and a good old fashioned sticky toffee pudding. The restaurant pays homage to its rich history with plush red chesterfield seating and original dark wood features. We say, if it’s good enough for King Henry III (who is said to have visited circa 1200) it’s good enough for us.
Where: Friars Street, NE1 4XN
House of Tides
Why: Serving up beautifully presented dishes in a traditional 16th century townhouse, House of Tides prides itself on its casual, informal take on fine-dining. Although this isn’t a stuffy restaurant, dining here is best reserved for romantic date nights or special occasions. Menus change regularly, but you might come across lithe likes of venison tartare with blackberry, beetroot and lovage. House of Tides is also Michelin approved, boasting one of the guides coveted stars.
Where: 28-30 The Close, Quayside, NE1 3RF
Why: This modern bistro, located in the heart of Newcastle Quay, does what it says on the tin - serving 21 dishes made using seasonal ingredients. The offering changes with the seasons, but at any time of the year you can expect to see various global influences, with dishes ranging from crispy tempura with oyster mayonnaise to a Mediterranean vegetable tart. First opened in the Quay area way before it became the fashionable district it is now, 21 is a popular dinner spot in the city for intimate and group dining alike.
Where: Trinity Gardens, NE1 2HH
Dobson & Parnell
Why: Specialising in casual fine dining, Dobson & Parnell's modern and homey restaurant is great for special occasions or date nights. Choose between a five- or seven-course tasting menu of exquisitely prepared dishes, where courses such as lobster with grapefruit or Hereford beef with crispy potato and truffle are followed by cherry and almond choux buns for pudding. Just a stone’s throw from the river, it’s perfect if you fancy a romantic stroll afterwards too.
Where: 21 Queen Street, NE1 3UG
The Broad Chare
Why: Serving up good old fashioned British pub grub and just a stone’s throw from the Quayside, The Broad Chare is a great spot for a pint and a hearty, carb-heavy meal. The menu labels the dishes here as ‘proper food’, which means you will come across the likes of a chicken, leek and mushroom pie to share between two or smoked haddock fishcakes with chips and tartare sauce. Desserts are just as indulgent, with our top pick being the chocolate loaf that’s lashed with warm butterscotch sauce.
Where: 25 Broad Chare, NE1 3DQ
Why: Curry houses in England often get a bad rep for serving stodgy dishes overloaded with heavy sauces, but at South Indian restaurant Ury, you will find it’s quite the opposite. Dishes here are delicately spiced and have a real depth of flavour, with signatures to try including a range of Keralan curries and moreish dosas. Prices are very reasonable too, while the three-course set lunch is a particular steal.
Where: 27 Queen Street, NE1 3UG
Why: Arguably the most unique Indian restaurant in the city, Valley Junction is housed inside a former railway carriage that dates back to 1912, and was originally intended to be hired out by the wealthy for their long journeys. These days, all are welcome to indulge in some fine Indian cuisine - you’ll find all of the usual suspects here (kormas, tikkas, bhajis etc.) alongside some lesser known dishes, such as Murgh-e-Khazana: chicken coated in honey and mild spices.
Where: The Old Station, Archbold Terrace, NE2 1DB
The French Quarter
Why: Modelled after a stylish Parisian wine bar, The French Quarter is located under an old railway arch and serves up tapas-style French food designed to reject the idea that French cuisine is too fussy or formal. Here you’ll find great French wine and sharing plates, including the likes of gratin dauphinoise, ratatouille, onglet à l’échalote and rillettes de canard. The décor is just as French as the menu too, with everything in the restaurant being very on theme.
Where: Westgate Road, NE1 1SA
Why: As part of the By The River Brew Co., a community of shipping containers housing restaurants and shops, Träkol’s urban surrounds and riverside location make it one of the coolest spots in town. Träkol translates from Swedish as ‘charcoal’, with most dishes here cooked over an open fire. Fried potato cakes, Asado duck, wood-roasted celeriac and a 1kg rib of beef feasting platter are just a few of the dishes you might find on the menu.
Where: Hillgate Quays, NE8 2FD
Why: Industrial features mixed with luxurious touches give Route an edgy but still comfortable vibe. Serving up modern British cuisine without fuss or frills makes this the perfect restaurant for casual dates and catch ups with friends. The menu evolves with the seasons, but on your visit you might come across the likes of smoked mackerel rillettes with creme fraiche and pickled apple or perhaps a rump of beef from Waterford Farm, finished off with helpings of spinach and chunky chips.
Where: 35 Side, NE1 3JE
Why: Designed for Instagram and plenty of fun, Lola Jean’s is mightily popular among Newcastle’s younger residents and visitors. From the skull mural that features flowers poking out of it, to quirky vintage lamps and chandeliers, you won’t be able to leave without snapping at least one pic. When it comes to the main event though, comfort food is king here. Think fish tacos, burgers served with a packet of Monster Munch on the side and sharing platters for bigger groups. Head down to the basement after you’ve eaten and check out the Confession Room speakeasy for a cocktail or two.
Where: 1-3 Market Street, NE1 6JE
Why: You would be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to Italy after stepping foot into Portofino, named after the high-end fishing village. Featuring high arches lined with tiles and art deco fixtures, the restaurant harks back to the age of old-school Italian glamour. The menu is just as traditional as you’d expect, featuring a number of stomach-warming, comforting dishes that are simple, yet full of pleasure - think hearty bowls of bolognese and risotto, as well as handmade Napoli-style pizzas, followed by a warm chocolate brownie for dessert.
Where: 12A Mosely Street, NE1 1DE
Why: A hidden gem in the city, Pani’s family run Italian café specialises in Sardinian food in a cosy and intimate setting with décor reminiscent of the kind of restaurants you would find on the island itself. Open since 1995, it is a favourite among locals; the kitchen serves up classic Italian dishes like bolognese and minestrone soup, as well as the option of choosing from a range of Sardinian tapas including gamberi tiger prawns, calamari and Carciofi roman artichokes. We recommend booking in advance though because this little Italian gets busy quickly.
Where: 61-65 High Bridge, NE1 6BX
Why: Turkish food is among one of the most popular cuisines in the country and the popularity of Lezzet proves that things are no different up in Newcastle. The extensive menu here covers hot and cold starters, veggie options, seafood and dishes from the grill, so you’re bound to find something for everyone. Top orders include chicken shish served with rice and a traditional moussaka, while desserts are authentically Turkish too - think baklava and rice pudding.
Where: Front Street, NE7 7XE
The Bridge Tavern
Why: This grown-up gastropub prides itself on using local produce to create comfort food that’s worth writing home about. We reckon The Bridge Tavern has nailed it with a menu of classic and contemporary pub grub. Tuck into dishes such as beer-battered fish and chips or a hearty short rib burger, topped with cheddar, burger sauce and pickles. Don’t miss the roasts on Sundays either, with beef, pork, lamb or butternut squash all accompanied by roasties, a Yorkshire pudding and gravy.
Where: 7 Akenside Hill, NE1 3UF
Why: In the mood for special occasion dining but without all the pomp and circumstance? Look no further than The Patricia, which serves an accomplished six-course menu that’s big on flavour but free of pretentiousness. Dishes you might find on your visit include the likes of roast lamb with tomatillo, Linda potatoes and little gem lettuce, followed by an indulgent slice of chocolate cake for dessert, topped with creme fraiche. The Patricia is inclusive too, offering veggie, vegan and pescatarian options if you give the team advance notice.
Where: 139 Jesmond Road, NE2 1JY
Riley’s Fish Shack
Why: Although not strictly in Newcastle, Riley’s Fish Shack is more than worth the extra journey. The shack is located on the shorefront at King Edward Bay and serves freshly caught fish out of two shipping containers, with people travelling from far and wide to get a taste of this ever-changing menu. Catch-dependant dishes are announced each day but regular items you can expect include lobster, monkfish and squid. You’re advised to ring ahead to check out dishes in advance as the local fishing boats can’t always go out due to weather conditions.
Where: King Edward’s Bay, Tynemouth, NE30 4BY
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