Best places to eat in Newcastle

Newcastle's food scene offers traditional seaside eats, hearty pub grub, innovative fine dining and hipster hang-outs for craft beer and gourmet burgers.

Best places to eat in Newcastle

Planning a weekend away in this lively north-eastern city? Find out where and what to eat.

Cal's Own
Best for: Casual dining, kid friendly

Cal's Own
With its handmade, wood-red oven and imported Campanian ingredients, this Jesmond pizzeria is incredibly serious about its slices. The kitchen makes its own fennel sausage and its San Marzano tomato sauce is knockout. The resulting pizzas are heavenly; their pillowy, blistered sourdough bases so thin that Cal’s only allows diners to add a maximum of three extra ingredients. Pizza from £7.85.
 

Cook House
Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining

Cook House
Hidden by Hotel du Vin in trendy, creative Ouseburn, Anna Hedworth’s cute shipping container café serves a constantly changing menu of affordable, on-point dishes using regional ingredients and her own kitchen garden produce. Breakfasts include sourdough toast with honey, strawberry jam or marmalade and a breakfast bowl with keffir, yogurt, cherries and nuts. At lunch, expect creative salads such as roast chicken & courgette with sourdough crumb and aioli. BYO alcohol.
 

Fat Hippo Underground
Best for: Kid friendly, casual dining

Fat Hippo Underground
Under the vaulted ceilings of this subterranean lair, discerning Geordies pig out on Newcastle’s best burgers while sipping craft beers from regional and UK brewing greats: Wylam, Allendale, Magic Rock and Redchurch. Hippo’s patties sing with flavour, even when slathered in punchy sauces; ground fresh each day, they are served with great, glistening triple-cooked chips. The £6 burger menu is good for kids, too. Evening meals from £9.
 

The Patricia
Best for: Casual dining, special occasions

With its idiosyncratic look (think dark, contemporary French bistro) and its ingredients-led food (rustic dishes with minimum components), the Patricia is clearly chef-owner Nick Grieves’ personal vision of the perfect neighbourhood restaurant. Plates such as oyster & tomato gazpacho and marinated mutton leg with crispy broccoli and salsa verde show that the former River Café employee has serious skills. Mains from £16.
 

Chilli Padi
Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining

The menu at this friendly Malaysian café (murals of Newcastle sights on the walls; Malaysian channels on the TV) is expansive, running from a salted vegetable & fried fish head soup to Szechuan beef. But first, try its classic nasi lemak, a riotous indulgence of fried chicken, fried anchovies & peanuts on rice with a fish sauce sambal – it's full of big flavours. Mains from £9.
 

Papa Ganoush
Best for: Cheap eats

The swanky food hall at Fenwick’s department store was an unlikely place to find one of Newcastle’s brightest street-food stars, but the founders have since chosen Whitley Bay to establish their flagship restaurant. Papa G serves shawarma wraps and ethereally light, herb-packed falafel. Papa is also a regular at the Quayside and Jesmond markets. Meze plates from £5.95.

The Bridge Tavern
Best for: Casual dining, kid friendly

The Bridge Tavern
Located amid the stanchions of the Tyne Bridge and owned by Wylam Brewery (which has its own ‘tap’ in Exhibition Park), this handsome brew-pub serves classy beer food. The menu should suit several generations of any family – excellent burgers, plates of barbecued lamb curry, a hearty flat iron steak. Handily, the Sunday roast also comes in £5.95 portions for the ankle-biters. Mains from £9.95.
 

Peace & Loaf
Best for: Special occasions

Peace & loaf
With its foil-wrapped mini kebabs and deconstructed pies (steak & mushroom is a tartare with textures of fungi), this Jesmond bistro is about as fun as fine dining gets. It could easily come off wacky, but even chef-owner Dave Coulson’s most outlandish dishes are stylistically sharp and flavour-intense. Mains from £22.
 

House of Tides
Best for: Special occasions

House of Tides
It may seem obvious to flag up the city’s sole Michelin-star restaurant as the best – but, great as many of Newcastle’s other restaurants are, Kenny Atkinson’s Quayside gastrodome is operating at an altogether higher level of technical sophistication. From the opening, strikingly saline Lindisfarne oyster onwards, Atkinson’s tasting menus rarely falter. Peerless ingredients are transformed with exceptional skill across dishes which, while far from experimental, harbour interesting ideas. For instance, you might find veal sweatbreads with apricot, black garlic & swiss chard. Other components, such as Cumbrian lamb with gem lettuce, artichoke & lemon verbena, are irresistible crowd-pleasers. Tasting menus from £70.
 

The Broad Chare
Best for: Casual dining

The Broad Chare

The daddy of Newcastle’s food scene (and, historically, the first man in the city to hold a Michelin star), chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne runs several reliably good Toon venues such as upscale restaurant 21 and the Italian Caffè Vivo. The Chare is a polished gastropub. Expect fantastic snacks (Lindisfarne oysters, crispy pigs ears) and local ales in the bar, plus a gutsy dining menu running from spicy black pudding to grilled liver and onions. Mains from £10.
 

Violet's Cafe
Best for: Casual dining

Violet's Cafe

Looking for somewhere to take your mum for afternoon tea? Head to this vintage-styled Quayside café where you can feast on finger sandwiches, Northumberland cheddar scones and salted caramel eclairs, over prosecco or loose leaf teas (from £19.95pp). Violet’s, which also serves breakfasts and lunches, is run by Abbie Atkinson, wife of House of Tides’ Kenny. A thirst for quality is evidently a family trait. The chocolate chip cookie sandwich is unmissable. Light lunches from £5.95.
 

The Box Social
Best for: Cheap eat

The Box Social

Newcastle brewery, Box Social, has dubbed its compact railway arch venue a “micro barcuterie”.  It serves craft ale from Britain’s best brewers (try Box Social’s dry, tropical Gentleman’s Nectar pale), alongside platters of cheeses and impressive cured meats from regional artisans North Wall Charcuterie and Berwickshire’s Peelham Farm. On the side, add a pot of that silky local delicacy, pease pudding (from Pete’s Pudding), and you are in heaven. Plates from £4.
 

Zapatista
Best for: Cheap eat, kid friendly

Zapatista

Every city needs a youthful spot serving San Francisco-style, Mission District burritos, assembled to order with slow-cooked meats, zippy salsas and freshly blitzed guacamole. Zapatista is Newcastle’s version of this phenomenon and, at two friendly, buzzy sites in the city, it delivers vividly tasty go-chow to the city’s clued-up fast food fans. The spicy shredded beef is recommended.
 

Quay Ingredient
Best for: Casual dining, kid friendly

Quay Ingredient

With its Chesterfield sofas and chic white-tiled counter, chef Simon Snowball’s café is both comfy and snazzy. As is his food, which, at breakfast, runs the gamut from simple sandwiches served on Newcastle’s XL stottie baps (£2.45), to grilled Craster kippers or eggs Benedict, all washed down with pots of local Rington’s tea. At lunch, try Quay’s smoked ham hock sandwich with homemade, pan-fried pease pudding. Meals from £4.95.
 

Ury
Best for: Casual dining, cheap eat


Ury

Formerly Rasa, this cracking South Indian restaurant has latterly been rebranded and relaunched as Ury (all the staff remain, but the shocking pink interior has gone). Forget the heavy, ham-fisted dishes of the average British curry house. Instead, Ury deals in fragrant, sensitively spiced cooking and outrageous depths of flavour across its menu of dosa, rasam, vadai and Keralan curries. Ury’s various set lunch menus are a bargain. Mains with rice from £7.25.
 

Nan Bei
Best for: Cheap eats

Nan Bei

This small kiosk on the indoor Grainger Market has a big rep thanks to the quality of its delicate Chinese dumplings and its various sweet or savoury stuffed, steamed buns. The latter are far lighter than they look (try the chilli beef with sweet carrots), while the pork and cabbage dumplings are, at once, clean, fresh and soul-shakingly meaty. Buy four, then immediately go back for six more. From £1.50 per bun; Unit 62, alley 2, Grainger Market.
 

Ernest
Best for: Casual dining, kid friendly

Ernest

This quirky bar/events space is legendary among the creatives who have colonised formerly industrial Ouseburn, which neighbours Newcastle city-centre. Ernest serves quality all-day breakfasts (go directly to the chorizo hash), topped flatbreads, homemade sodas and beers from local craft brewers such as Tyne Bank and Anarchy. Parents looking for somewhere alternative to entertain the nippers, note: Ernest will do them sausage ‘n’ chips, too. Mains from £8.
 

Flat Caps
Best for: Casual dining, kid friendly

Flat Caps

Like Pink Lane, Flat Caps is a serious “third wave” coffee house. As well as a highly accomplished flat white, its Carliol Square site (a spartan basement decorated with dangling pot plants), also serves sound food ranging from homemade smoked cheddar scones and pork and apple sausage rolls, to breakfasts of haggis or smoked salmon on sourdough ciabatta with poached eggs. Lunch dishes include chilli nachos and upmarket sandwiches.
 

Thai House Café
Best for: Casual dining, cheap eat

Thai House Cafe

Walk into this colourful if basic café and, reassuringly, you may find a staff member pounding away at a huge pestle and mortar, or taking a mandoline to a mountain of veg. That devotion to freshness of ingredients and seasoning (in which the complex DNA of Thai cooking resides), shines through in the Thai House’s dishes. Try the special of “old fashion pork” in a dynamic noodle broth bobbing with fish balls and fried tofu.
 

Is there anywhere we've missed? Let us know in the comments below...

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of 3 September 2018 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out of date information in this guide please email us at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com.

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