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Monday, 25 July 2016

Newcastle Restaurant Week August 2016 - Is it worth it?

Restaurant week is a staple in the Newcastle foodie calendar now and is something that I've attended year on year. Over 90 city centre restaurants take part from 8th - 14th August and offer special set menus for either £10 or £15. There are restaurants that do it well and are highly recommended but sadly others that don't quite step up to the mark. I thought I'd give you a quick run through of my top recommendations (and maybe a few I would personally avoid).

Recommended Restaurants 

1 - Lane 7

Lane 7 are one of the places that have stood out when we visited during restaurant week. As is often the case, they were super busy during restaurant week however they were one of the few places that allowed us to dine pretty late on a Friday night. There were errors during our meal and they had been so popular that they ran out of a few dishes, however the way they dealt with this meant that we would not hesitate to go again (and in fact we are now regular customers). They replaced food that had ran out with something more expensive and service was speedy and with a smile.

Newcastle Restaurant Week August 2016 - Lane 7

2 - Cafe 21

visited Cafe 21 during restaurant week a few years ago and although it is one of the more expensive restaurant week offers, the value is fantastic and at no point were we made to feel like we were dining from a deal which is often the case. I am very confident we received the same service and quality of food as the regular diners did and restaurant week is a fantastic chance to sample one of Newcastle's best restaurants. 

Newcastle Restaurant Week August 2016 - Cafe 21

3 - The Herb Garden

Katie from Blonde Ambition highly recommends a trip to the Herb Garden during restaurant week after their successful visit last year. Often cited as one of the best places to grab a pizza, their restaurant week deal is a bit of a bargain. The surroundings are pretty special too, so if you've never been, now is your chance. 

Newcastle Restaurant Week August 2016 - The Herb Garden

4 - Bealim House

Kathy Athy dined out for 7 nights in a row last restaurant week so is a bit of an expert, She rates Bealim House as the place that had the best atmosphere, best decor and best dessert. You can't beat a gin distillery! 

5 - Hawthorns

Although service was a little slow at times, New Girl in Toon recommends Hawthorns at Crowne Plaza. Having dined there before, I can highly recommend too. The food is locally sourced and of a very good standard. Check out the huge chandelier in the hotel reception too. 

Newcastle Restaurant Week August 2016 - Hawthorns

Where to Avoid

Personally, I think some of the deals during restaurant week aren't actually that good value for money and if you shop around, you don't need to use 'restaurant week' as an excuse to visit. 
Breakfast with a non-alcoholic cocktail & hot drink for £10 at P&P? This doesn't really float my boat. Especially when you can order a full English and hot drink at Quay Ingredient up the road for the same price.

We dined at The Redhouse during restaurant week last year and although I highly rate the food, their 2 courses for £10 restaurant week deal is actually less value for money than visiting on any Wednesday when you can buy 2 pie meals for £10 and then add a dessert for £4.50. This is what we ended up doing last year. 

I have it on good authority that The Silk Room didn't offer the best value for money last year with it being obvious they had the cheapest possible menu and starters were either vegetable crudites or soup. Not very inspiring.

Finally, I honestly love the Bridge Brasserie at The Vermont Hotel and their Wine and Dine deal is perfect for a special occasion. We were bitterly disappointed last year during restaurant week though. I had hyped the restaurant up so much to my friend but our night really didn't go to plan. The brasserie clearly couldn't cope with the sheer numbers during restaurant week which led to a catalogue of errors including unusually stressed staff & a 2 hr 30 minute wait for our main course which when it arrived was severely undercooked and had to be sent back. Not good at all :-( 

Newcastle Restaurant Week August 2016 - The Vermont Hotel Bridge Brasserie
This shows what the Vermont can do when they get it right

The Best Deals 

Although there are some restaurants that don't make the most of restaurant week, there are some fantastic deals to be had if you look carefully. You can find them all via the Restaurant Week Website. Here are my top 4 deals for that offer you good value with 3 courses for £10 :-

I would love to give some of the restaurants that take part in restaurant week a massive shake. It shouldn't be an exercise to get as many bums on seats and offer the cheapest options to make a profit. I would love to see more restaurants taking an approach where they offer restaurant week customers something truly special with superb food and outstanding service. There are SO many places to dine out in the city centre and I know if I have a mediocre meal somewhere (even during restaurant week) I am unlikely to return. If however I am wowed, not only will I return but I will recommend to friends and family too. It's a no-brainer really.

Will you be heading to restaurant week this year? Let me know where you've booked.



  1. With some restaurants the touted deal is just what they offer as standard on a normal evening. It's worth doing some research to make sure what you get us a bargain, that's for sure x

  2. I really rate cafe 21 for restaurant week too. I love the Herb Garden but haven't been for restaurant week. We've not booked up yet but might. Love restaurant week but you are right, some restaurants take the piss. Good article!

  3. Oh my days I have been so put off by the vermont after our visit! I also found Las iguanas was not impressive during restaurant week either so I'll be honest I now don't bother with it and just dine out whenever we can

  4. Love your new layout, but I know what you mean about some restaurants just getting covers in. If you look into restaurant week there is some great bargains to be found but they do book up pretty quickly.

    Katie x

  5. This was a brilliant post, I haven't got around to reading the menus yet so it was handy to read your suggestions. I'm already thinking of going to Lane 7 now. We once ate there and had really good food so 3 courses for £10 sounds really good value! I'm finally going to the Herb Garden on Thursday to try one of their sweet breakfast pizzas I've had my eye on for ages!

    Loving the new blog, it's nice, clean and simple :) x

  6. I had a really good meal at Pleased to Meet You the year before last and then The Botanist last year. I can't wait to try more and might go for Café 21 or Bealim House this time. It usually is very good value but some place obviously need to plan more for the demand. Great post Sam!

  7. This is so helpful as we are looking at places to go during restaurant week for a couple of date nights- perfect to make it a bit easier to choose! :) xx

  8. Those sound like very nice restaurants, must visit one day

  9. I am a foodie, So your post just gave the perfect restaurant ideas, thanks! :D


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