By: Elayna Hugh-Jones
Graphics: Elysia Marrs
This blog post is the hardest I’ve ever had to write…narrowing down my favourite Newcastle food spots to just 7 is a task and a half. However, I have managed to just about do it, with a sprinkling of extra tips of course. I know most of us are living on a student budget so eating out isn’t always a regular occurrence BUT isn’t good food just the solution to everything?! I personally think so. Since living in Newcastle, my friend and I have collated an Honours list of our favourite restaurants and food spots, rated by food, atmosphere, and value for money. I’m sharing our top 7 with you!
#7 Olive and Bean
I don’t know whether to class this spot as a café or restaurant but whatever it is, it’s good. Tucked away on a back street opposite Tesco, this reasonably priced, seemingly out of place spot is a massive hit. I’ve visited many times and have usually had to queue for 10 minutes or so, which is just an attribute to its selection of home baked breakfast, brunches, and lunches. This is a great spot if you fancy something quick and homey but super tasty. I can personally recommend the Nutella waffles or you can have just about anything on toast, bagel, or ciabatta – breakfast and lunch! Then there’s the cake counter: a vast selection of decadent cakes and bakes that will probably take you the duration of your university experience to try them all…but I recommend! Note: veggie and vegan options are great.
I recently discovered this upmarket corner shop/coffeehouse in Jesmond, and I am so glad I did. All their produce, from snazzy condiments to baked goods, pies, breads and even flowers are locally sourced and from Northeast businesses (hence the name!) This spot is an absolute bargain for the quality it delivers – the “Cinny-buns” are just otherworldly, and only about £2.50 each. You HAVE to pop in if you’re ever passing and grab yourself a coffee or a Kinder and hazelnut cookie, for which, by the way, there isn’t an adjective good enough!
Zaap is just a really cool Thai street food restaurant. Everything about this place is an experience, the smells, the flavours, the décor…the vibes are *immaculate*. The seemingly infinite menu can seem a little daunting, but if you know what flavours you like, this place seriously delivers. To experience the full variety, I’d recommend getting a range of the smaller dishes and sharing, which can get a little pricey, or if you’re eating solo (which I think should be way more socially acceptable than it is), there’s a vast array of noodle and rice dishes packed with authentic Thai flavours for about a tenner each – and loads of veggie options. Definitely worth a visit for a filling, flavour-full dinner with a bit of a kick!
When cornflakes just won’t cut it, Meat-Stack is the place to be for breakfast. First and foremost an American cheeseburger joint, this American diner-style spot delivers on the breakfasts too – and is super value for money. My boyfriend and I popped in for breakfast and shared the cinnamon pancakes and breakfast stack muffin, with cups of tea and extra hash browns (don’t judge us, it was after a gym session!) all for £8 each! And we were more than satisfied. I can’t speak for the burgers, although they look seriously mouth-watering, but the fries are the best I’ve had in Newcastle. There’s also a Meat-Stack in the students Union…which can get a bit dangerous…
#3 Dot Bagel
I’m struggling to find the words to describe the bagels from Dot Bagel. Like seriously. There are bagels and then there are dot bagels. I didn’t even think a French toast bagel or pizza bagel even existed until stumbled across this place and stood gawping at the menu in awe for about 10 minutes. With 24 different filling combinations, not to mention the 8 types of freshly baked bagel you can choose, working through this menu is my 2023 goal. At about £7 per bagel, the hefty portions are perfect for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner…or all 3! You just HAVE to go and try this place to believe the hype. Note that as everything is made to order, they do take around 10 minutes so if you’re grabbing on the way to Uni, I’d recommend leaving yourself a few minutes spare.
#2 Fat Hippo
If you’ve never heard of Fat Hippo, you should get some new friends. This place is the real deal when it comes to burgers. I stand by the fact that a Fat Hippo solves almost anything, however, it is not a first date kind of place…which I learnt the hard way. These burgers are of gargantuan proportions; with at least 2 burger patties and all kinds of dressing and slaw and cheese layered between a freshly baked brioche bun, you’ve got to take this one slow. This trendy, industrial vibe place is food heaven for carnivores and herbivores alike, offering vegan dirty waffle fries, cheese bites and burgers. This is a must-try at least once kind of spot.
My number one restaurant in the whole of Newcastle has got to be this place. It’s a bit ‘boujier’ than the other spots on my list but there’s a reason why – this seaside spot offers some seriously high-quality grub. I’m a sucker for Spanish tapas, but I’ve never seen it done as well as Ora. We shared 5 tapas from their selection of meats, fish, and veg and had a glass of wine for £20 each, which was more than enough food – it was an absolute bargain for the sleek dining experience that Ora offers. I would even venture out of the city centre on a 25-minute metro just for their Arancini.
If you try out any of our favourite food spots in Newcastle let us know what you think!
Where to find my favourite food spots…
Olive and Bean: 17-19 Clayton St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5PN. Open 8-6pm.
LOCAL: 18 Acorn Rd, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 2DJ. Open 8-5pm (times vary)
Zaap: The Gate, 117 Newgate St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5RZ. Open 12-10pm.
Meat-Stack: 41-43 Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1UG. Open 9-9pm.
Dot Bagel: 19, Acorn Road Jesmond, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 2DJ. Open 8-6pm (times vary). Also found in Chillingham, Fenwicks and Heaton.
Fat Hippo: 2-6 Shakespeare St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6AQ. Open 11:30-10:30pm. Also found in Jesmond.
Ora: 31 Front St, Tynemouth, North Shields NE30 4DZ. Open 9-10:00pm.