Get us in your inbox

Hart’s Restaurant, EITW
Photograph: Hart’s Restaurant

The 14 best restaurants in Nottingham to book right now

With acclaimed fine dining and beloved independent spots, don't overlook the brilliance of Nottingham's food scene.

Written by
Kitty Drake
Kayleigh Watson
Amy Houghton

Nottingham is often underestimated among the great annals of English tourism, but more fool those who pass on this East Midlands marvel. Afterall, this is the city that gave us Robin Hood, starred in 'The Dark Knight Rises' and that we have to thank for the (arguable) king of condiments – HP sauce. 

All food groups are taken very seriously here, with the chefs taking great pride in locally sourced ingredients. Prepare your tastebuds for everything from filthy burgers and sexy (yes, sexy) pasta to Michelin-star magic and huge portions of lovingly crafted desserts. Time to tuck in – here's all of the best food you can get in Nottingham.


📍 The best things to do in Nottingham
🍔 The best restaurants in Birmingham
🇬🇧 The best restaurants in the UK

At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Top restaurants in Nottingham

Sat Bains

1. Sat Bains

What is it? The edge of an industrial estate isn’t where you’d expect to find mind-blowing food, but Sat Bains provides it. 

Why go? An eccentric complex of kitchen, lounge, sommelier station and conservatory very close to the A52, it does an extraordinary ten or fifteen-course tasting menu. Strap in for the quality you expect from a two-Michelin-star kitchen.

The Cod’s Scallops

2. The Cod’s Scallops

What is it? Fish and chips at this brilliantly named spot are indeed the scallops, and it has the awards to prove it.

Why go? For award-winning fish and old-fashioned sides like gravy and pickled eggs. Fish is caught that day and deep-fried in traditional beef dripping or baked with garlic. The Cod's Scallops has posh stuff like oysters and lobster, but you can expect chippie favourites like curry sauce and Heinz baked beans, too. 


3. Alchemilla

What is it? The location of this upmarket modern British restaurant is its calling card. A lovely, vine-covered door leads you below street level to a beautiful, bright room beneath exposed brick arches. 

Why go? When you want to eat fancy food underground. Alchemilla's food is fancy, pricy and delicious (think: smoked eel, pigeon, that sort of thing). Remember to look up: there are beautiful ceiling windows in the arches. 

4. George’s Great British Kitchen

What is it? The team at George’s Great British Kitchen are passionate about British grub but even more about doing so in a unique way: they pride themselves on the quality of their ingredients – and it shows.

Why go? High-quality British grub with a twist (plus a strong appreciation for gin at the bar). Take their classic fish and (proper) chips, for example; their cod is sourced from Norwegian fjords, and patrons can opt for a paprika twist to their batter. Their candyfloss-spun cocktails and desserts are out of this world.

No. Twelve Houndsgate

5. No. Twelve Houndsgate

What is it? Inside this snug vegetarian and vegan café, the look is clean and rustic with lovely wooden furniture and white and duck-egg blue walls. Food is simple, with a focus on fresh ingredients.

Why go? For veggie food that won’t make carnivores miss the meat. The options at No. Twelve flit between casual lunch and a swanky nine-course tasting menu that will blow your socks off. 

Jam Café

6. Jam Café

What is it? Whether you’re after bloody marys over brunch, an adventurous vegan dish, a chill with a craft beer or an energetic evening at the hands of a DJ, Jam Café has you covered. 

Why go? This is the perfect place for a bunch of mates when everyone fancies something different. By day it operates as a European-style cafe bar, but by night, it turns into a live venue where you can find live bands, DJs, poets or comedians.

Sexy Mama Loves Spaghetti

7. Sexy Mama Loves Spaghetti

What is it? A rustic, blue-fronted spot, Sexy Mama Loves Spaghetti specialises in spaghetti, duh. 

Why go? That name should be reason enough. Expect simple, luscious dishes scrawled up in chalk on a blackboard. The menu changes frequently but you can expect stuff along the lines od anchovy and tomato spaghetti and roast aubergine with fresh ricotta and pear and honey truffle oil. The tiramisu is excellent too.


8. Junkyard

What is it? Part craft bottle shop, part American diner, if you have a beard and/or tattoos, Junkyard is your nirvana.

Why go? For bottle shop vibes and deliciously greasy food. This place boasts fifteen taps and an inventively dirty food menu – expect stuff along the lines of mac and cheese balls, crab crumpets and cauliflower schnitzel alongside some gloriously meaty and loaded burgers. FYI: it's walk-ins only!

Hart’s Kitchen
Photograph: Hart’s Restaurant

9. Hart’s Kitchen

What is it? Set within the ramparts of Nottingham Castle, this modern British restaurant has serious culinary lineage: it’s run by husband and wife Tim and Stefa Hart – parents of the Hart brothers who run London’s Quo Vadis and Barrafina.

Why go? For an anniversary meal: if things go well, you can book a room as it’s part of a luxury hotel. Hart's Kitchen is all about quality food and service. 

Annie’s Burger Shack

10. Annie’s Burger Shack

What is it? Big fat patties wrapped in paper and served on a tray are the speciality at Annie's Burger Shack. Burgers have zany names like The Deathray and The Johnny Vegas, and every single one is available in a vegetarian or vegan version.

Why go? For out-of-the-ordinary buns with sexy little touches, like Jack Daniel’s mustard and marinara sauce. There’s a tavern downstairs for drinking in, too. 


11. MemSaab

What is it? In prime position on a road named after Robin Hood’s girlfriend, MemSaab is a Nottingham curry stalwart.

Why go? For barbecued meats and superb Tandoori chicken. The look is colourful, with ornate pillars intersecting the spacious dining room, but the food is the star of the show. Expect all the classics done brilliantly. 

The Pudding Pantry
Photograph: Pudding Pantry

12. The Pudding Pantry

What is it? Those with a penchant for all things America will appreciate the fluffy pancake stacks that The Pudding Pantry does so well. 

Why go? Because sweet tooths need satisfaction, and it isn’t just about pancakes. They do stunning sharing boards, Mississippi mud pie and s’mores milkshakes, boozy shakes and pudding and wine pairings. What's not to like? 

Fat Hippo
Photograph: Fat Hippo

13. Fat Hippo

What is it? ‘Good Food. Messy Fingers. Dirty Burgers’ - that is the motto of Fat Hippo. A Northern export that has slowly seeped into the Midlands, Fat Hippo finally landed in Nottingham in the chaos of 2020 and didn't disappoint on its mission statement. 

Why go? It is – in their words – ‘good old-fashioned, roll up your sleeves and get it all over your face’ food. All burgers come double-stacked, and don’t scrimp on the innards. Chicken lovers are similarly respected with the addition of spicy thighs and fries, while the vegan crowd are treated to a eight five (yes, eight) options of burgers and starters.

14. Perkins Bar & Bistro

What is it? Founded in 1981, Perkins Bar & Bistro must be doing something right. Located in the old Plumtree train station, the longstanding family establishment serves fresh, locally sourced produce in a variety of hearty and refined dishes.

Why go? Changing menu items like slow-braised beef bourguignon, roast chicken supreme and confit duck leg will make meat lovers salivate, but it is their famous Sunday roasts that are worth the pilgrimage.  

    You may also like
    You may also like