One thing that has featured very heavily in all of my monthly round ups over the last year has been food. No surprises there then. I’ve had some bloody good scran, from both new places and old favourites. In this post I’m taking a look back at some of my favourite restaurants, cafes and pubs of the year…
The best steak
Has to be Rabble in Edinburgh. It’s only been open 2 years but we discovered it in March and loved it. The fillet is served on a giant hash brown and with a side of mac and cheese it’s literally making my mouth water thinking about it. I’ve had my fair share of steaks this year, being one of my favourite meals (sorry veggies), and this one was better than the rest, including Mr Porters at the W in Amsterdam , Miller & Carter, and even dare I say it Del Friscos, New York (although that whole experience is unbeatable). Read more about Rabble here.
The best Italian
I’m talking authentic Italian. I’m as big a fan as any of cheap and cheerful Sambucas, and Francescas in Jesmond, but you don’t find a better Italian restaurant than a family owned, secret local in the heart of Rome’s Trastevere neighbourhood. A girl I work with who used to live in Rome recommended Impicetta to me, and it was so good we went twice in our four day trip. The pasta was unlike any I’ve ever experienced and it was such a good atmosphere and the people were lovely. Worth a trip to Rome for that restaurant alone.
The best brunch
Manhattan is famous for its brunches, and I think we did one every day of our five day trip earlier this month. Each one was so different, so I can only narrow it down to two favourites rather than one overall winner. The Old Rose as part of The Jane Hotel was as beautiful as the food was delicious, with bottomless coffee, pizza, and a huge variety of eggs on the menu.
Secondly the Spotted Pig in Greenwich village I think is possibly my favourite. You can’t book it you have to queue, they’re way too cool to open on time at 11, and within fifteen minutes of opening it’s full. We spent a good few hours drinking Bloody Mary’s, more bottomless coffee and feating on pancakes, french toast, burgers, poached eggs and potato hash. It’s probably the least touristy of any brunch I experienced in New York and worth every penny…
The best boozy brunch
I went to Roka in London with the girls when we were down there for August bank holiday, and their bottomless brunch with three menus and wine types to choose from was a big highlight. The food from the buffet style starter to the main dishes was very good, but the unlimited wine and espresso martinis to round off three hours of eating and drinking were the highlights.
The best seafood
Seafood is up there with steak as one of my most favourite meals, and my go to most places is garlic king prawns, or a seafood pasta/risotto. I’m also partial to mussels in white wine and garlic sauce too, which is what I had when I finally went to The Boathouse up at Amble. A full menu of seafood, fish, and lobster, I can’t believe it took me so long to visit.
The best Indian
Like Chinese, everyone has their favourite Indian restaurant, and Newcastle has a lot of great ones, Dabbawal, The Valley, Satchins…but my personal favourite is the tiny Ahar in Whitley Bay, especially on a Thursday or a Sunday when they do a tapas style menu. Best curry in the north east in my opinion.
The best new place I’ve been to
I went to the French Quarter in Newcastle for the first time in November and really enjoyed it. It has the elegance of a traditional Parisian restaurant but with a relaxed atmosphere and great cheese, wine and meat. Loved it.
I also have to mention St Vincent’s wine bar on the quayside. Great for a weekend morning coffee and snack, or a tapas style dinner. We’ve also been just to sit at the bar in an evening for a bottle of wine which was also very enjoyable.
The best festive menu
I’m not talking mass produced Christmas dinners at the annual office party here, I’m talking about nice restaurants that do a great seasonal menu at this time of year. Tigerlily in Edinburgh was very good when we went last weekend, and had a huge menu, as well as cocktails in the most beautiful setting.
The best cake…
I have to say the best cheesecake I had all year was from the Magnolia Bakery in New York, followed by Le Fournilde Sébastien in Amsterdam, but bringing it closer to home my favourite cakes have been from Cake Stories in Jesmond, and the Great British Cupcakery on the quayside. I loved their refurb this year making it the prettiest place for coffee in Newcastle – take a look.
The best coffee
You can’t have cake without coffee and my favourite spot for coffee is the Union Kitchen in Copenhagen. Danish coffee is hideous, but this cool little spot does great cappuccinos complete with humorous coffee art.
Of course the Italians do coffee very well, and one of my most memorable cups of it was sat outside the Pantheon in Rome watching the world go by. Coffee with a view.
The best Sunday dinner
I LOVE a Sunday roast, and at the start of the year we ventured to quite a few places across the North East. We enjoyed Sunday dinners at The Granby, Northumberland, the Town Wall and The Boathouse at Wylam, but always kept coming back to The Broad Chare. It’s not the cheapest but it’s bloody unreal. Shout out to my local the Red House pub in Whitley Bay, theirs is also excellent especially the cauliflower cheese, and Gaucho in Leeds too.
The best pizza
While Rome had the best pasta, Florence gets the award for best pizza. And it’s heart shaped from Gusta Pizza. This wasn’t technically from the last year, but I’ve yet to find one better.
The poshest place I’ve been to
For a team dinner we went to Nimb restaurant at Tivoli, which is part of the five star Tivoli hotel. My starter of mussels was amazing, and everyone else food looked great but I really didn’t like mine. The place was stunning though.
The best for a girls night out
Mama Kelly’s in Amsterdam. Three floors of powder pink and gold trim it is so cute, and they serve either chicken or lobster dishes in all sorts of different ways. The bar downstairs is a good spot for a G&T afterwards too, so you can enjoy a full night out in the one spot. Read more on Mama Kelly’s here.
The best avocado on toast
Because I know everyone loves this right? My personal favourite spot for it right amongst their flower walls has been Elan cafe in London.
And a few extras worth mentioning:
The best ice cream – the gelataria on Piazza Navona, Rome. Di Meo’s in Whitley Bay
The best sweet treat – Polaberry’s strawberries dipped in chocolate
The best hotel breakfast – The Duchess, Amsterdam
The best healthy spot – Pluk, Amsterdam
The best G&T – The Principal Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, Dacantus, Miller & Carter Gosforth.
The best cocktail – Copper Blossom
The best cup of English tea – Betty’s York
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