Fusion restaurant at Ramside Hall, Durham

Despite dining on a Monday night, Fusion was relatively busy. Soft music, subtle lighting and the chatter of dozens of conversations helped create a convivial atmosphere. The majority of tables were occupied; some by hotel guests, others by locals enjoying an evening out. The couple on our neighbouring table were clearly meeting for a first date. As we left they were sitting by the pewter-topped bar drinking cocktails together — things were obviously progressing well.

The world’s best pub? De Beyerd in Breda

The café-bar’s history goes all the way back to 1838. “It started as a very small bar on the other side of the museum. During the 1950s all the houses were demolished. In this place there was a tailor. He stopped just at that moment, so the pub moved to this site,” explains Jos.

Sunderland Restaurant Week (9-17 September)

“Sunderland was known for Indian and Italian cuisine five or six years ago but now the city has a massive array of dining offers,” said Kam Chera, the owner of The Funky Indian and Prosecco Bar. Diners can now find Egyptian, modern British and even Berlin-style Turkish dishes served on Wearside.

Poetic License: The craft distillery based in Sunderland

"I love the variety in gin. I’m fond of a traditional, solid juniper-forward gin but also enjoy tasting the flavours new and unique botanicals can offer. However, for me, the important thing is the flavours must be balanced. In a gin, all botanicals should sit together harmoniously so that all flavours, even big ones, still balance and no one element is overly dominating," says Luke Smith, the distiller at Poetic License in Sunderland, England.

Koriander – a Michelin-starred restaurant in Drachten

“Our signature dish is made from baked langoustine, tartare of langoustine, sauce tartare, thinly sliced fennel and beetroot chips,” explains Jan Gaastra, the head chef at Koriander, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Drachten in the Dutch province of Friesland. “We live in a very beautiful province in the northern Netherlands, so the North Sea is our backyard,” adds Jan.