37 restaurants in Durham
Restaurants in Durham:
17 Hallgarth Street, Durham, DH1 3AT [Map]
Probably the finest invention to ever come out of Spain is the tapas bar, that wonderfully informal form of eating, with lots of small and interesting dishes, eaten slowly with a delicious fino sherry or quickly if the need arises. The Americans may claim to have invented 'grazing' in restaurants, but the Spanish beat them to it by many hundreds of years.
The original El Coto is a good example of the breed and has become a much appreciated addition to the vibrant Newcastle eating out scene, so much so that they have opened this, their third, outlet in Durham.
The tapas are good value, and offer many of the traditional favourites like sweet and spicy peppers stuffed with black pudding, or albondigas - homemade lamb meatballs in a Spanish sauce - that are tasty and spicy, giving meat balls a good name!
There is a huge range of tapas dishes on offer, from the usual omelette through to the more unusual Boquerones con tomate 'aliñao' - unsalted anchovies and tomatoes with an olive oil, chopped garlic and parsley dressing; and offer bocadillos, sandwiches for non-Spanish speakers, at lunchtime. All this is served by pleasant members of staff, who will explain anything that you are not quite sure about.
No wonder that it is extremely popular with those who know and likely to remain so.
58 Sadler Street, Durham, DH1 3NU [Map]
Their star player is tapas, which can be had solo or in tandem with a meal. The calamares andaluza, deep-fried squid rings, served with roasted garlic mayonnaise and lemon, is great for sharing, while the chorizo frito al vino, spicy Spanish sausage flavoured with paprika, garlic and herbs, sautéed in red wine, offers a real treat. Chicken lovers order alitas de pollo, marinated chicken wings, or have skewers of chicken breast and pepper, marinated in paprika.
Valenciana is an interesting paella that combines seafood with chicken, and if you have a taste for trivia, you may be surprised to learn that 'la paella' actually refers to the utensil in which the dish is cooked.
Other than liqueurs and beer, there are wines from Spanish vineyards and sparkling cava. All of these, especially the dry rosé wines combine well with tapas. And you would be really getting into the spirit of things if you rounded off with the crema Catalana, traditional Spanish-style vanilla custard, topped with caramelised sugar.
La Tasca Spanish Tapas Restaurants and Bars today have over sixty outlets across the UK, so it is odds on there is a branch fairly close to your home.
Casual, Spanish, Tapas
Unit 4 Walkergate, Durham, DH1 1SQ [Map]
For some time I made the mistake of thinking that no group of restaurants in the region of 200 locations could hope to maintain the quality for which I was looking.
Then one day I decided to put my prejudices to the test, walked into Oxford ASK Italian! and discovered that I could not have been more mistaken. Their claim to serve freshly prepared quality food in stylish and comfortable surroundings with friendly and efficient service proved to be absolutely spot on.
Since then I have also discovered that a degree of consistency seems to operate throughout their restaurants, and that certainly does take some achieving, implying a degree of management that is enviable. They are perfect places for an impromptu snack, a bit of culinary grazing, or the full works, and families are catered for particularly well.
Their trendy décor usually comprises tiled floors and black furniture with well set tables that sparkle with glass, silver and spotless linen. Ten starters include crostini and bruschetta, followed by a range of salads, pasta and al forno, oven baked pasta, some with chicken.
The pizzas are stone baked in the oven, creating a crisp, authentic and delicious flavour, and they all come topped with mozzarella and tomato. Calzone introduce a touch of opulence with a folded pizza baked in the oven and topped with garlic butter and melted grana padano, whilst inside expect to find chicken or a vegetarian mix.
Amongst the specials may I warmly, in every sense, recommend the polpette al forno, a popular Milanese dish of beef meatballs sautéed in garlic with fire roasted peppers, caramelised onions, chilli and pomodoro sauce, with penne pasta, topped with cheese and oven baked.
An enticing selection of desserts list banoffee pie and tiramisu amongst them, and the coffee tastes like coffee, which may sound banal, but I guess you know what I mean.
Thanks to a well selected wine list speculative drinking can offer handsome dividends, even with prices rarely crossing the £20 barrier.
Italian, Pizza & Pasta
Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County, Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3JN [Map]
Sitting pretty besides the banks of the River Wear, Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County is not only the area's finest luxury hotel but also home to the slick County Restaurant. Style conscious with a good line in minimalist chic décor, its interior is marked by a combination of maroons, creams and whites.
High standards apply and the kitchen produces some appealing and original dishes that command both attention and admiration. Appetisers such as terrine of corn-fed chicken, tomato and apple chutney and county mini cod and chip tartar salad are excellent openers whilst mains like poached organic salmon, sun-blushed tomato tart and braised belly pork aim to provide wholesomeness to the meal. The grill menu keeps pace with the set excellence and perfectly aged British beef features, grilled and served with field mushrooms, tomatoes and chips. Desserts that include Bailey's crème brûlée and baked marshmallow cheesecake are fitting finales to the feast.
Forth House, Unit 6, Mandale Business Park, Belmont Industrial Estate, Durham, DH1 1TH [Map]
The Hide chain of cafés, bars, and grills pleases customers very effectively in the north east, and west Yorkshire. Their delicious, varied cuisine, contemporary interiors, informal yet attentive service, and relaxing atmospheres appeal to most people visiting a Hide.
Hide Out Café Bar is situated in the Mandale Business Park in Durham City, and urges customers to 'Eat in Eat out and Eat well' always. On offer are special teas and freshly brewed coffees, homemade snacks, sandwiches, soups, and daily dishes.
Breakfast time choices could include bacon, sausage, and fried egg sandwiches or full English breakfasts. There are continental style baguettes, jacket potatoes, mouth watering paninis, salads and pastas, and dishes such as chilli con carne and rice, homemade corned beef pies; hot roast pork sandwiches with apple sauce and a sage and onion stuffing; burgers, and fish and chips.
A small list of wine, beer and juice does not disappoint.
Court Lane, Durham, DH1 3JS [Map]
An interesting mix of Asian cuisines characterises Zen, the menu offers a wide oriental choice, based on a fusion of authentic street and market foods as well as international favourites. Some of their specialities are crispy salt and pepper squid and King prawn; som tum salad; dim sum; wonton soup Zen twist; Mongolian beef and green curry.
The dishes are inspired by traditional recipes from Thailand, China, Vietnam and India; all are infused with a plethora of international and traditional flavours. Zen is set in the heart of historic Durham bringing a slice of eastern promise, with a contemporary feel, suitable for both the sophisticated and the casual diner.
More restaurants in Durham:
Featured Group Restaurant
Café Rouge has over one hundred branches throughout Britain all offering a wide range of dishes drawn from the French cuisine. Slightly less than half their branches are in or close to London.
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