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Planning a weekend away in this lively north-eastern city? Newcastle is renowned for having a buzzing nightlife, but it's also got some fantastic places to eat. We've gathered the best restaurants in Newcastle, from hidden street food gems in the city centre to exciting and outlandish fine dining experiences. If you enjoy this, read our other city guides – we have expert recommendations for the best restaurants to eat in Chester, Sheffield, York and Leeds.

Best restaurants in Newcastle at a glance

Cook House
Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining

Group of people gathered round a table

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 marmalade, jam or honey and a breakfast bowl with keffir, yogurt, seasonal fruit and nuts. At lunch, expect creative salads such as roast chicken & root veg with sourdough crumb and aioli. BYO alcohol.

Fat Hippo Underground
Best for: Kid friendly, casual dining

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Woman sat in front of two trays of burgers

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 £7 burger menu is good for kids, too. Burgers from £12.90.

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 Cornish halibut crudo, oysters with seaweed black vinegar and pappardelle with fennel sausage ragu show that the former River Café employee has serious skills. Mains from £22.

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 £9.50.

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 £7.

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), this handsome brew-pub serves classy beer food. The menu should suit several generations of any family – excellent fish and chips, plates of beef curry, a hearty flat iron steak. Mains from £10.

Peace & Loaf
Best for: Special occasions

With its foil-wrapped mini kebabs and deconstructed pies, 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. Tasting menu is £70pp.

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 scallops with pork belly, sweetcorn and lardo or parmesan churros. Other components, such as beef with shallots, black garlic and lovage, are irresistible crowd-pleasers. Tasting menus from £95.

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 pigs ears) and local ales in the bar, plus a gutsy dining menu running from spicy black pudding to grilled liver and onions. Lunch offer, Monday to Friday, is two courses for £15 or three courses for £20.

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.

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. Their medium meal deal including a 10 inch burrito or fajita, a side of fries and a regular soft drink costs £8.

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 (£2.45), 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 £3.45.

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. Lunchboxes with rice from £7.95.

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.

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.

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 haggis and hash bowls and falafel wraps, to breakfasts of French toast or smoked salmon on sourdough ciabatta with poached eggs. Lunch dishes include hearty soups and upmarket sandwiches. Mains from £5.

Thai House Café
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 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.

More northern city guides

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