However, there are some Newcastle restaurants, cafes and eateries that simply stand out from the crowd, and where you're always guaranteed a delightful dining experience.
Below, we've rounded up just 10 of the top restaurants in Newcastle - in no particular order - and we could have chosen many more. We've picked these for their exceptional food, unique location, or fabulous service - and in most cases, all three. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it!
Newcastle is steeped in history and has a rich heritage that is well-worth exploring. Why not combine your historic tour of the city at the same time as tucking into traditional-British cuisine at the award-winning Blackfriars Restaurant? Located in a 13th-century medieval friary, voted Taste of England in the North East England Tourism Awards, a meal out at Blackfriars is an undeniably unique dining experience which offers you a menu overflowing with mouthwatering dishes such as Barbary duck breast & leg, orange puree, charred Jerusalem artichoke and wild garlic.
You may also like to try Blackfriars’ sister restaurant, Dobson & Parnell which serves a refined British and European menu on Newcastle’s vibrant quayside. Located within a stunning Victorian Grade I listed building it is one of the most architecturally interesting dining spaces in Newcastle and already boasts recognition from fine dining big hitters with a well-deserved listing in the Michelin Guide 2020 (for the third year running) and the gastronome's bible - the Harden's Guide 2018.
The jewel in the crown of Newcastle's fine dining restaurants, House of Tides is the first restaurant opened by double Michelin-starred chef, Geordie lad and TV star, Kenny Atkinson. Enjoying an enviable location on the Newcastle Quayside, House of Tides was awarded a Michelin star in September 2015 - just 18 months after its opening - making it the very first Michelin-starred restaurant in Newcastle since the year 2000! House of Tides is a thoroughly British restaurant, offering set tasting menus that change daily to reflect the availability of local produce, and you'll soon discover why it was worthy of such high accolade.
This friendly, Greek-inspired pavement café is a favourite with locals and scores very highly on TripAdvisor. Located in the historic Bigg Market, it has an intimate, chilled-out vibe, and serves traditional Greek dishes like moussaka, gyros and souvlaki as well as a gluten-free menu and a vegan menu. And you can get two courses for £10 between 5pm and 7pm.
Two restaurants here which are technically in Gateshead but with them both being right next to one of the bridges over the Tyne, they're too close (and too good) to ignore. SIX at BALTIC is on the south side of Gateshead Millennium Bridge. It's a chic, rooftop restaurant with a modern British menu and unrivalled panoramic views of the River Tyne. Träkol is located in By The River Brew Co - an independent container community which sits beneath the iconic Tyne bridge and whose entrance is on the south side of the Swing Bridge. Since Träkol's opening in summer 2018, it's had some brilliant reviews (e.g. The Guardian: 'Outrageously good'). The open-fire kitchen which showcases 'nose to tail' cooking is proving popular with diners too - early booking is highly recommended.
Now most often referred to as simply '21', this stylish bistro is one of Newcastle's longest-established eateries, having first opened in its former location in 1988. Now at the Quayside, with a second more relaxed location in Fenwick, 21 is north-east chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne's first and best-loved eatery in Newcastle. On the menu is classic European bistro food with a thoroughly modern touch, and crafted with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, but the restaurant itself is the real finishing touch with crisp white tablecloths, elegant polished wooden floors, and spotlit tables for an intimate atmosphere.
Newcastle's best restaurants aren't only to be found in the city centre. Peace and Loaf in Jesmond is another of Newcastle's top fine dining restaurants, and perhaps one of its best-looking, as the restaurant itself has an effortlessly cool decor with exposed-brick walls and wooden beams. As for the food, it's as stylish as the restaurant itself. The menu is traditionally British with local ingredients and a generous drizzle of sophistication; choose from an a la carte menu or treat yourself to the exquisite tasting menu, complete with wine pairing for the complete experience. Head chef Dave Coulson trained under the tutelage of Michelin two-star rated Michel Roux Jr and also competed in the 2010 series of Masterchef: The Professionals.
Proof that excellent dining in Newcastle doesn't need to come with expense, Pani's Cafe is perhaps the best-loved Italian restaurant in Newcastle and offers some of the very best value. To be clear, Pani's is actually a Sardinian, rather than Italian restaurant, and is as authentic as you can get in Newcastle; run by a Sardinian family, the menu comprises of classic Sardinian dishes freshly made with many ingredients brought over from the island itself. With most main courses around £9, dining at cosy, friendly Pani's restaurant is an affordable treat.
Priding itself on offering 'proper food and proper beer', The Broad Chare on the Quayside is certainly not your average Newcastle pub. Sophisticated yet sleek and simple, The Broad Chare offers a vast selection of real ales alongside a menu of hearty, 'home-cooked' meals and bar snacks, with such delights as a Handraised Pork Pie, hand-raised pork pies, Scotch eggs and cauliflower fritters - made with the very finest local and seasonal ingredients, this is as good as comfort food gets. Even if you're not feeling peckish, you'll love the warm atmosphere of The Broad Chare gastropub, and soon be booking a spot for Sunday lunch.
The Newcastle street food scene is outstanding, but you don't need to head to a market or street food festival just to get a taste. Dabbawal is Newcastle's Indian street food restaurant, and here you can tuck into authentic street food dishes on any day of the week. There are two Dabbawal locations, on High Bridge and in Jesmond, and both offer an exciting menu of authentic Indian dishes - if you're stuck for choice, order the Chef's Special Menu, and let the chefs surprise you with their choices of dishes from the daily menu. Vegans and vegetarians are also especially well catered for at Dabbawal - it's truly a people pleaser.
If your taste is more 'filthy burger' than 'fine dining', Newcastle has you spoiled. The Fat Hippo is Newcastle's burger institution, with two Newcastle locations in the city centre and Jesmond, and its burgers (which are the good kind of filthy!) are dangerously addictive. All the beef is ground in-house daily, so whether you sink your teeth into a classic American, or experiment with delicious toppings like peanut butter, chilli jam or candied bacon, you're guaranteed a real burger experience. Vegetarians can enjoy too, with several options - including a burger of deep fried mac 'n' cheese balls which even carnivores can't resist.
Got an appetite to discover even more fantastic restaurants in Newcastle? Read all about the best breakfasts in Newcastle to start your day, or if your doggy wants to dine too, let us share our favourite Newcastle dog-friendly pubs. Nobody goes hungry in Newcastle!
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