Food and cocktails at Turtle Bay Durham

Stuart Forster reviews a visit to Turtle Bay Durham, a Caribbean restaurant on the Riverwalk in Durham City.

Disclosure: I was invited to dine at Turtle Bay’s Durham restaurant. Turtle Bay has not reviewed or approved this article. Some of the links below and banners are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Turtle Bay operates more than 40 restaurants serving Caribbean style cuisine across the United Kingdom. The Durham Turtle Bay restaurant opened in mid-October 2021.

Illuminated sign for the Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant in Durham City.
Illuminated sign for the Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant in Durham City.

It’s a casual, subtly lit dining venue with two levels. Outdoor seating is available on a terrace overlooking the River Wear and Durham Castle.

The main ground floor dining room features an island bar. Food is prepared behind a red shipping container style wall with hatches. They allow diners to catch glimpses of the kitchen team at work.

Upbeat but inobtrusive background tunes plus colourful signs and murals are part of efforts to foster a Caribbean vibe.

One Love mural in the stairwell of the Turtle Bay Durham restaurant.
One Love mural in the stairwell of the Turtle Bay restaurant in Durham City.

The restaurant was pleasantly busy on the midweek evening that I visited with my partner. Many of the diners were Durham University students.

Mural depicting a smiling woman at the Turtle Bay Durham restaurant.
Mural depicting a smiling woman at the Turtle Bay Durham restaurant.

Food at Turtle Bay Durham

Admittedly, I’m by not an expert on Caribbean food. That means I’m not in a position to compare the flavours and presentation of the food served at Turtle Bay with traditional dishes served on Caribbean islands. That said, the dishes that I tried made favourable, flavoursome impressions.

Crispy Chilli Squid served as a starter at the Durham Turtle Bay restaurant.
Crispy chilli squid served as a starter at the Durham Turtle Bay restaurant.

We decided to share three of the small plates as starters. Unfortunately our first choice, the garlic pit prawns, a dish inspired by Jamaican pepper prawns, was unavailable. Testimony to its popularity? That prompted a switch to the crispy chilli squid, which had been marinated in a lightly spiced coconut milk.

Jerk grilled halloumi and watermelon, an example of the Caribbean cuisine served at Turtle Bay in Durham.
Jerk grilled halloumi and watermelon.

Lathered in a piquant barbecue sauce, the jerk pit ribs proved delightfully succulent. Served with sliced watermelon, the jerk grilled halloumi was our third dish – a combo we both enjoyed.

Turtle Bay's succulent marinaded jerk pit ribs slathered in mango barbeque sauce.
Turtle Bay’s succulent marinaded jerk pit ribs slathered in mango barbeque sauce.

Caribbean restaurant in Durham

My partner ordered for one of Turtle Bay Durham’s vegan options for her main course, accompanied by sweet plantain.

Despite being intrigued by the idea of trying a Caribbean curry katsu and tempted by jerk pit barbeque dishes, I chose curry goat hash with a side of cheesy jerk fries. Topped by two fried eggs and served with spiced fries plus pink pickled onion, the curry zinged with flavour.

Goat curry hash topped with two fried eggs and a side of cheesy jerk fries.
Goat curry hash topped with two fried eggs and a side of cheesy jerk fries.

Though the goat hash was well spiced, that didn’t stop me from sampling the chilli-laced sauces supplied in bottles on our table.

To finish, we requested two spoons and shared a portion of sticky ginger pudding. Served with a scoop of boozy Caribbean rum ice cream, the dessert was gorgeously squidgy and a flavour-packed end to our meal.

Sticky ginger pudding with a scoop of boozy Caribbean rum ice cream.
Sticky ginger pudding with a scoop of boozy Caribbean rum ice cream.

Turtle Bay cocktails

My partner’s decision to drive meant she scoured the menu’s mocktails and homemade softs sections for drinks. Served in a bottle, her pink lemonade won praise for how it looked and tasted.

That opened up the opportunity for me to order a glass of spiced rum and try a couple of cocktails. Turtle Bay’s 2’4’1 cocktails happy hour runs daily until 7pm and after 9.30pm from Sunday to Thursday and from 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Visiting as Halloween approached prompted me to order a Zombie. Thanks to the happy hour offer, I was served two. After attacking the Zombies, I asked for the bill.

Zombies from the Turtle Bay cocktail menu served during the two-for-one cocktails happy hour at the Durham restaurant.
Zombies from the Turtle Bay cocktail menu served during the two-for-one cocktails happy hour at the Durham restaurant.

Service at Turtle Bay in Durham

Service at this Durham restaurant was attentive. Sophie, our server, was enthusiastic and chatty, bringing an additional layer of fun to our evening out.

If you’re looking for a casual dining experience, cocktails and Caribbean flavours why not drop by or book a table?

Pink lemonade made with strawberry, watermelon, pomegranate and grapefruit, served at the Turtle Bay Durham restaurant.
Pink lemonade made with strawberry, watermelon, pomegranate and grapefruit.

Location of Turtle Bay Durham

The Durham Turtle Bay restaurant is at 1 Framwellgate Bridge, Durham, DH1 4SL. It’s on the redeveloped Riverwalk near the Odeon Luxe cinema, so ideally placed for pre- or post-film food and drinks.

The restaurant overlooks the River Wear next to Durham’s Milburngate Bridge which is crossed by the A690. The map below shows the location of Turtle Bay Durham:

Google Map showing Turtle Bay in Durham City.



Parking near Turtle Bay Durham

Travelling by car? The Prince Bishops Car Park and Walkergate Car Park are both about five minutes’ stroll from Turtle Bay Durham.



Travel to Durham City

Durham is on the UK’s East Coast Main Line. Book rail travel to Durham via the Trainline.


The Turtle Bay restaurant is less than five minutes’ walk from Durham’s railway station.



Hotels in Durham City

Planning a trip to Durham? Search for hotels in Durham City centre via Booking.com:



Booking.com

Further information

Visit the Turtle Bay website to see opening times and to view the menu. You can also find details about the restaurant’s bottomless brunch offer. Breakfast and brunch dishes are served at Turtle Bay from 10am to 3pm from Monday to Saturday and until 5pm on Sundays. It’s possible to book a table via the website of by calling 0191 359 2130.

Find out more about tourism attractions in Durham City and elsewhere in County Durham on the This is Durham website.

Stuart Forster, the author of this post, is a freelance food and travel writer. He lives in North East England. His work has been published by BBC Good Food, The Tonic and Rough Guides.

Thank you for visiting Go Eat Do and reading this post about Turtle Bay in Durham. Planning a trip to Durham City? You may enjoy these posts about visiting the Lumiere Durham festival of lights and Durham Miners’ Gala.

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