Local resident Stuart Forster provides an overview of some of Newcastle upon Tyne’s top restaurants in this look at places to eat in Newcastle city centre.
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Tyneside’s culinary scene offers diners a broad choice of cuisines and restaurants. This overview includes some of the best restaurants in Newcastle city centre. The list of suggestions is based on places that I’ve enjoyed visiting for meals.
My intention is to add to and curate this post as I visit newly opened restaurants plus establishments that I haven’t yet dined in,
I’ve broken up this look at top restaurants in Newcastle according to styles of cuisine. That way you can quickly find a restaurant serving the type of food that most appeals to you.
Indian restaurants in Newcastle
Sachin’s Punjabi and Indian restaurant (Forth Banks; tel. 0191 261 9035) is a place that I enjoy visiting. I’m still working my way through the extensive menu, whose house daal and chicken-based murgh tikka labadar have been the pick of the dishes I’ve tried so far. If you’re looking for an alternative to a beer with your curry try a cooling yoghurt-based mango lassi. It’s ideal with the piquant dish formerly known as Jalfrezi.
If you enjoy Indian cuisine and are in the heart of the city, stop by Dabbawal at 69-75 High Bridge. There’s also a Dabbawal restaurant in Jesmond. Dishes inspired by Mumbai’s street food, including bhel puri and sweet potato chaat, are served in a modern, informal dining space. If you’re into peppery spice, order chicken curry inspired by Tamil Nadu’s Chettinad cuisine.
Italian restaurants in Newcastle
Pani’s Cafe (61 – 65 High Bridge Street; 0191 232 4366) opened more than a quarter of a century ago. The hearty service and honest, well-cooked food such as the pollo al marsala dish, are reasons why diners keep returning. Sardinian dishes feature on the menu.
Marco Polo (33 Dean Street; 0191 232 5533) is another of Newcastle’s long-established Italian dining establishments. A short walk from the Quayside, Marco Polo first opened its well-used doors back in 1974. The linguine meatballs and mushroom risotto are ideal ahead of a night out in Newcastle.
Japanese restaurants in Newcastle
Looking for sushi restaurants in Newcastle? It’s difficult to look past Sushi Me Rollin’ (25 Grey Street; 07946 744 453). Beautifully presented, the chef’s platters give you a selection of maki, sashimi and rolls from the menu. As a dining space, Sushi Me Rollin’ is informal and upbeat.
To watch a teppanyaki chef at work and taste the results head to Hanahana (45 Bath Lane; 0191 222 0282). Order one of the set banquets to sample a cross-section of dishes.
Pizza restaurants in Newcastle
Pizza Punks (30- 40 Grey Street, tel. 0191 230 0777) is casual, moderately priced and serves outstanding pizzas. They are prepared in the open kitchen’s wood-fired oven. You have the option of choosing a unique combination of ingredients. That involves selecting the base, sauce, cheese and toppings. The list of ‘rogue’ toppings includes ingredients such as spicy cauliflower and haggis. I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with unlikely combinations.
Spanish restaurants in Newcastle
Kaltur has two venues serving a selection of Spanish dishes and drinks in central Newcastle. The original wine bar and restaurant is at 8 High Bridge (tel. 0191 447 4464). The premises at 19 Dean Street (tel. 0191 447 1180) offer more space while you dine. Order sherry by the glass or select wine from Kaltur’s well-curated wine list. Boiled octopus, red tuna tartar and Andalusian-style prawns count among the tapas dishes served.
El Coto (23 Leazes Park Road, tel. 0191 261 0555) is a long-established dining venue whose dark wood tables remind me of traditional restaurants in Andalusia. The lengthy choice of tapas includes set menus that remove the need for discussions about what to order when sharing plates as part of a group.
Dacantus (30 – 32 Grey Street, tel. 0191 261 8111) has knowledgeable bar staff and a well-curated selection of gins and tonics. During the COVID-19 lockdown, I missed taking a seat at the bar, chatting with the staff and tasting gins from around the world. In my view, this place is worth visiting for a G&T (or two).
British restaurants in Newcastle
A short distance from Newcastle’s medieval West Walls, Blackfriars Restaurant (Friars Street; tel. 0191 261 5945) is in premises built for Dominican Friars back during the 13th century. The restaurant embraces that history and has a banqueting hall in which King Edward III of England met with Scotland’s Edward Balliol in 1334. The smoked cheddar croquettes are ideal if you want to cut down on your meat intake. Try the pork loin if that’s not a concern.
The five- and seven-course tasting menus at Dobson and Parnell (21 Queen Street; 0191 221 0904) are worth considering with their wine pairings. Just off the Quayside, this restaurant serves well-mixed cocktails. It was the first restaurant I visited with friends after England’s first COVID-19 lockdown was lifted and the meal was a genuine joy.
During the first COVID-19 lockdown I focused on acquiring videography skills. Heading out for a meal with friends provided the inspiration for my first multi-clip video. A year on, I’d make the short film, which you can view below, very differently. The video is undoubtedly flawed but making it was part of a valuable learning process:
Route (35 Side; tel. 0191 222 0973) is a modern bistro style restaurant that serves small plates to share. Expect seasonal ingredients, good cooking and a decent wine list. This restaurant is a good place to meet for an informal lunch or a dinner with good friends.
Fine-dining in Newcastle
If you enjoy modern British cooking, both of the restaurants that follow are worth considering:
House of Tides (28 – 30 The Close; tel. 0191 230 3720) is the only restaurant with a Michelin star in Newcastle and stands within easy walking distance of the Quayside. Kenny Atkinson and his team serve seasonal tasting menus on premises constructed as a merchant’s house back in the 16th century. The presentation of dishes and intensity of flavours make this an outstanding choice for special occasions.
Tasting menus and a la carte dishes are options at Peace and Loaf (217 Jesmond Road; tel. 0191 281 5222) in Newcastle’s Jesmond district, a short taxi ride from the city centre. Chef Dave Coulson made a name for himself as a 2010 finalist in the television series MasterChef: The Professionals. His exquisite creations are served with an air of informality, making this a good place to pair fine food with relaxed conversation. Watch out for the kick from the boozy sorbets.
Steak restaurants in Newcastle
Enjoy a succulent steak? There’s a handful of good steak restaurants in Newcastle city centre. If you feel like sharing but can’t decide on which cut of meat to go for, the 24-ounce butcher’s block at Miller and Carter (Mosely Street; tel. 0191 261 2028) might appeal. It includes cuts of rib-eye, rump and fillet steaks as well as barbecued ribs.
If you’re looking for a lunch venue or early dinner you may enjoy a steak prepared over charcoal on a Josper grill at Porterhouse Butcher and Grill (in the Fenwick Food Hall; tel. 0191 239 6612). This venue is part of highly regarded restaurateur Terry Laybourne’s 21 Hospitality Group, whose restaurants are well worth visiting. Starters at the Porterhouse Butcher and Grill include Lindisfarne oysters, steak tartare and caviar. ‘Big cuts’ of aged beef, including the porterhouse and chateaubriand steaks, are sold according to weight.
The Tomahawk Steakhouse (95 Quayside; tel. 0191 is one of many bars and restaurants on Newcastle’s Quayside and nearby streets. Starters include an eclectic range of dishes inspired by global cuisines. If you’re looking to splurge and share you may be tempted by the Wagyu carnivore board, featuring a selection of cuts and garlic prawns along with four sides.
Burger restaurants in Newcastle
Fat Hippo (2 – 6 Shakespeare Street; 0191 447 1161) serves stacked burgers in toasted brioche buns. Informal and open until late, this is a good spot for a last beer and a burger before heading home.
Meat: Stack (41 – 43 Groat Market: 0191 261 7395) looks onto the Bigg Market. I find it hard to look past the Buffalo blue burger served with a side of flavour-packed Parmesan truffle garlic fries.
Thai restaurants in Newcastle
The Thai House Cafe (93 Clayton Street, tel. 0191 261 5717, closed Tuesdays) is informal and welcoming. Traditional, home-style dishes including tom kha gai soup and pad thai count among the dishes served. If you’re looking for Thai food the way it’s served in Thailand, this is the place to dine.
Mantra Thai Dining (29 Forth Banks, tel. 0191 232 6080) is a spacious restaurant with onsite parking. The jungle chicken curry and Panang pork curry are two of the dishes that I’ve enjoyed while dining in this restaurant.
French restaurants in Newcastle
Bistro du Vin‘s (inside the Hotel du Vin; tel. 0191 389 8628) French name is indicative of the style of dishes offered on the menu. It’s a pleasant place to enjoy a bowl of steamed mussels and a glass of wine followed by crème brûlée.
Informal dining in Newcastle
Looking for something less formal than a restaurant meal?
Stroll around the Grainger Market and see if any of the food stalls appeal. The choices include Greek street food, Chinese dumplings and sausage sandwiches. The market is a decent shout for an inexpensive lunch.
If you’re in town on a Sunday between 9.00am and 4.00pm you could grab a snack from the food trucks parked at the Quayside Market.
To stock up for a special picnic I enjoy browsing the temptingly presented baked goods and delicatessen in the Fenwick Food Hall. The cheese counter and deli in the Waitrose supermarket at Eldon Square are also worth browsing. Both of those shops have a decent choice of wines.
Have you been impressed by other places to eat in Newcastle upon Tyne? If you would like to make a suggestion or recommendation, please leave a comment below.
Hotels in Newcastle
Planning a night out in Newcastle? Search for accommodation in Newcastle via Booking.com:
Travel to Newcastle
Newcastle central station is on the UK’s East Coast Main Line. Book seats for travel on trains to Newcastle via the Trainline website.
DFDS Ferries sail between Amsterdam and the Port of Tyne near Newcastle.
Map of top restaurants in Newcastle
Zoom into the map below to locate some of the best restaurants in Newcastle:
See the NewcastleGateshead website for information on things to do in Newcastle and Gateshead, including ideas for food and drink on Tyneside.
Do you live in the north-east of England and enjoy visiting restaurants? Newcastle Restaurant Week is usually held twice a year, in January and August. More than 100 restaurants participate, offering two-course meals for £10 or three-course meals for £15.
Stuart Forster, the author of this post, is an award-winning travel and food writer based in North East England. Stuart’s work has been published by publications including BBC Good Food, Love Food and Great British Chefs.
Thank you for visiting Go Eat Do and reading this post about the best places to eat in Newcastle upon Tyne. If you enjoy good seafood why not ride a Metro and dine at Riley’s Fish Shack in Tynemouth. Planning a trip to Tyneside? You may be interested in reading posts on art in Newcastle and Gateshead and walking in Newcastle travel tips
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A version of this post was first published on Go Eat Do on 9 January 2018.