Best places to eat in Newcastle

Newcastle's food scene offers traditional seaside eats, hearty pub grub, innovative fine dining and some hipster spots for craft beer and gourmet burgers

Best places to eat in Newcastle

Planning a weekend away in this lively northeastern city? Take a look at our hotlist of where and what to eat...

Cal's Own

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

With its handmade, wood- red oven and imported Campanian ingredients, this Jesmond pizzeria is incredibly serious about slice. The kitchen makes its own fennel sausage, and its San Marzano tomato sauce is knockout. The resulting pizzas are persuasive, their blistered, elastic sourdough bases so thin that Cal’s only allows diners to add a maximum of three extra ingredients. Pizza from £7.45.

Cal's Own website

Cook House

Cook House
Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining

Hidden by Hotel du Vin in trendy, creative Ouseburn, Anna Hedworth’s cute shipping container café serves a constantly changing menu of a ordable, on-point dishes using regional ingredients and her own kitchen garden produce. Breakfasts include baked eggs with smoked mackerel & curried chickpeas. At lunch, expect creative salads such as roast chicken, rocket & walnut pesto with sourdough crumb. BYO alcohol. Lunch dishes from £5.

Cook House website

Fat Hippo Underground

Fat Hippo Underground
Best for: Kid friendly, casual dining

Under the vaulted ceilings of this subterranean lair, discerning Geordies pig out on Newcastle’s best burgers while supping 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 £5 burger menu is good for kids too. Evening meals from £8.50.

Fat Hippo Underground website

The Patricia

Best for: Casual dining, special occasions

In its idiosyncratic look (think dark, contemporary French bistro), and its ingredient-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 fried Brussels sprouts in a light parmesan sauce or veal shin with risotto show that the former River Café employee has serious skills. Mains from £18.

The Patricia website

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 is full of big flavours. Mains from £8.

Chilli Padi website

Papa Ganoush

Best for: Cheap eats

The swanky food hall at Fenwick’s department store is an unlikely place in which to find one of Newcastle’s brightest street-food stars. But, until at least June 2017, Papa G will be here, serving its shawarma wraps and ethereally light, herb-packed falafel. Papa is also a regular at the Quayside and Jesmond markets. Wraps £5.50.

Papa Ganoush website

The Bridge Tavern

The Bridge Tavern
Best for: Casual dining, kid friendly

Located amid the stanchions of the Tyne Bridge and owned by Wylam Brewery (which has its own ‘tap’ in Exhibition Park; wylambrewery.co.uk), this handsome brew-pub serves classy beer food. The menu should suit several generations of any family – excellent burgers, plates of wood-roasted squash with sheep’s curd & hazelnuts, a rib-sticking salt beef hash. Handily, the Sunday roast also comes in £5.95 portions for the ankle-biters. Mains from £8.95.

The Bridge Tavern website

Peace & Loaf

Peace & loaf
Best for: Special occasions

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. Complete with between-course snacks such as dreamy whipped beef dripping, lunch is a steal (three courses, £21.95). Mains from £17.

Peace & loaf website

House of Tides

House of Tides
Best for: Special occasions

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 sea bass paired with fried chicken wing, hazelnuts & an artichoke cream. Other components, such as a sausage-roll-style parcel of shredded duck meat served with its dry-aged breast, are irresistible crowd-pleasers. Tasting menus from £55.

House of Tides website

Barrio Comida

Barrio Comida
Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats

An incongruous shipping container shack on the city’s architecturally eye-catching Quayside, Barrio serves some of northern England’s best Mexican food. It is a no-frills joint (paper plates, plastic glasses), but US-born chef Shaun Hurrell’s tacos – stacked with wood-grilled meats and fresh salsas – radiate vivid flavours. Try the steak with soy-based salsa negra or the ox tongue taco: a winning amalgam of smoke, meat, heat and spritzy acidity. Tacos from £2.50.

Barrio Comida website

The Broad Chare

The Broad Chare

Best for: Casual dining

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 pig’s ears) and local ales in the bar, plus a gutsy dining menu running from brawn to grilled liver and onions. Mains from £10.

The Broad Chare website 

Violet's Cafe

Violet's Cafe

Best for: Casual dining

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 £18.95pp). 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.

Violet's Cafe on Twitter 

The Box Social

The Box Social

Best for: Cheap eat

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.

The Box Social on Twitter

Zapatista

Zapatista

Best for: Cheap eat, kid friendly

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. From £4.40.

The Zapatista website

Quay Ingredient

Quay Ingredient

Best for: Casual dining, kid friendly

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 (£2.95), 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.

The Quay Ingredient website

Ury

Ury

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eat

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 £8.

The Ury website

Nan Bei

Nan Bei

Best for: Cheap eats

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.

The Nan Bei Facebook page

Ernest

Ernest

Best for: Casual dining, kid friendly

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 £7.

The Ernest website

Flat Caps

Flat Caps

Best for: Casual dining, kid friendly

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. Meals from £4.

The Flat Caps website

Thai House Café

Thai House Cafe

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eat

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 fealty 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. Mains from £8.95.

The Thai House Café Facebook page

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

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of the 01 April 2017 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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