Foodies are spoilt for choice with great local produce on offer in every corner of our region. From kippers to casks, here are a few of our favourite places to grab some artisan treats.
One of the most prolific areas of the region for local produce is Northumberland. Take a look at dozens more passionate producers on Northumberland County Council's dedicated local produce website.
Like most other urban centres, our cities have their fair share of top-notch restaurants and 'trendy wine bars', but what really sets us apart is the one-of-a-kind food experiences you get in this part of the world.
The cosy pubs with roaring fires that welcome you in with locally grown food at the end of your Sunday afternoon stomp across the hills; the farmers' markets with their friendly banter and traders eager for their passion to rub off on you; and the fresh seafood caught from and served against the backdrop of the coast you've just meandered along.
NHS staff need coffee - fact. Thankfully we have plenty of interesting independent coffee shops to keep your caffeine game strong. Start your coffee shop crawl in Blacksmith’s Coffee Shop in scenic Belsay. Back from the country, Ouseburn Coffee company or Tynemouth Coffee are on trend places to enjoy an hour pondering life. Next up, Esquires Coffee House in Durham for people watching and Leonard’s Coffee House, also in Durham, which has a menu that will have you coming back for more. Moving down to Tees Valley, Coopers Tea Rooms and Coffee House in Darlington is well known for the friendliness of their staff and the sheer irresistibility of their coffee. Across to the west, The Bluebird Café in Cumbria is also an absolute gem - who needs Starbucks!
For a special occassion
The Raby Hunt, Summerhouse, Darlington - At the Raby Hunt 'Kitchen Table' you can experience a 13-15 course tasting menu with a stunning view of a two Michelin Star kitchen at work. Watch Good Food Guide Chef of the Year, James Close, and his team plating up while you dine.
For afternoon tea
South Causey Inn, near Durham - Nestled within the stunning Beamish Valley the afternoon tea here comes as a tiny picnic bench packed for of unusually presented treats, With beautiful gardens for the summer and log fires for the winter, it's a great place to spend a few hours.
For a trendy italian
Cena, Yarm, Teesside - A modern café, with painted chairs, limed wood, a mural of Venice, and last but not least a big wood-fired pizza oven.
For a lunch after a ramble
The Drunken Duck, Ambleside, Cumbria - Perched high in Barngates outside Ambleside, the Drunken Duck is famous for its top notch food, beer and relaxed atmosphere.
For feeling the burn
Tandoor Mahal, Morpeth - For an authentic Indian experience, the Tandoor Mahal chefs are trained in ‘home-style’ methods and use only the freshest ingredients to deliver mouth watering dishes that will have your taste buds tingling.
For a Michelin Star
House of Tides, Newcastle - A family run restaurant set within the beautifully restored Grade 1 listed 16th Century former merchant’s town house on the historical Newcastle Quayside with a Michelin & 4 AA Rosette awards.
For an incredible interior
The Tree House, Alnwick Garden, Northumberland - Probably one of the most enchanting and unusual venues to have dinner, the Treehouse Restaurant’s wobbly rope bridges, wooden walkways, twinkling lights and roaring log fire provide a magical dining experience.
For a birds eye view
Six, Baltic, Newcastle upon Tyne - If you want the quintessential view of Newcastle's famous brides and quayside, head up to the top of the Baltic. Note - take the lift if you are scared of heights - the stairs have an infinity mirror at the bottom which might put you off your dinner!
Make a meal of it...
An eclectic collection of independent street traders selling pizza, oysters, tacos, burgers, ice creams, cakes, crepes and waffles have taken up residence on Newcastle's Quayside in the brand new 'Container Village'. The unusual site, made of old shipping containers, consists of a bar, a swish restaurant called Trakol, a bike shop, coffee house and cocktail bar and at weekends the Hawker Market opens, an extension which offers street food from some of Newcastle’s most loved independent restaurants.