Get us in your inbox

Lisa Harris

Lisa Harris

Articles (4)

The 18 best restaurants in York

The 18 best restaurants in York

York is of course known for its rich history and culture, but alongside this it also stands as being a serious foodie destination in the UK. It boasts an eclectic array of restaurants, ranging from traditional tea rooms to globally-inspired and award-winning fine-dining. Each of the city’s ‘gates’ come with its own distinctive food offering. Castlegate is where to head for touristy bistros right next to the castle (a can’t-miss thing to do in York). Casual lunch options abound on Fossgate and Walmgate. And Gillygate offers a slew of brilliant low-key cafés largely free of the tourist hordes. Spark:York and the Shambles markets are burgeoning street food hubs, while Micklegate has been revitalised as York’s most exciting area if you’re into your independent eateries. Just as the city’s bars and pubs go big on diversity, there really is something to suit every taste in our pick of the best restaurants in York. RECOMMENDED:The best Airbnbs in YorkThe best York hotels

The 22 best Durham restaurants

The 22 best Durham restaurants

Cobbled streets, an imposing castle and romantic bridges make Durham a worthy UNESCO World Heritage site, filled with can't-miss things to do—but it is the best Durham restaurants that will truly impress you. Go high-end with views of the River Wear or dig into a dirty burger in the studenty Viaduct area. Durham has a compact centre because of how the river hairpins through the city, which means many of the best places to eat sit along Saddler Street and around the castle.

The 17 best restaurants in Lincoln

The 17 best restaurants in Lincoln

This East Midlands city is a great foodie destination, with quaint cobbled streets and medieval buildings housing the best restaurants in Lincoln. Uphill, find the Cathedral Quarter and all the major tourist sites, while downhill sits the city centre. The narrow, pedestrianised Steep Hill, which connects the two, and the elegant Brayford Wharf waterfront at the bottom of the town is where you'll find plenty of eateries. Visitors can rest assured they won't go hungry here, considering the town is famous for its pork sausages, Poacher cheese, plum loaf and beers - but that doesn't mean Lincoln is short on variety either. Whether it's a sturdy steak, refined al a carte or something more adventurous, there are options aplenty. Which means that eating a whole lot of food is one of the very best things to do in Lincoln. Ready to taste your way through the local delicacies?

The 16 best restaurants in Plymouth

The 16 best restaurants in Plymouth

Plymouth is sandwiched between Dartmoor and the English Channel, so its kitchens are stocked with the best local ingredients from land and sea, not to mention fresh produce coming up from the West Country. You’ll find many good restaurants in Barbican between the Guildhall and the theatre, while others cluster along the waterfront, in Sutton Harbour, and in the Grade I-listed Royal William Yard redevelopment along the River Tamar (a must-visit if you're looking for things to do in Plymouth). 

Listings and reviews (15)

The Elgin

The Elgin

4 out of 5 stars

The Elgin is clearly a locals’ favourite: most tables were either reserved or already full by 6pm on a Tuesday. Downstairs is like a classy mate’s living room with slouchy sofas, ultra friendly staff and ad hoc vintage furnishings. It even does table service and there are lots of coat hooks in thoughtful places, which is always a sign of a good pub. Upstairs is more candlelit, with old-school tables and huge windows. Knowledgeable bar staff were hosting a wine tasting on the table next to us for punters having a wedding there soon, and they were just as informed about the food and seasonal ingredients, too. The menu combines pub comfort food (signature cheeseburger, steak, cheese platter) with foodie flourishes like locally supplied meats, milk and cream from Northiam Dairy, and a sprinkling of fancy ingredients like sumac, cultured butter and pink peppercorns. This is the kind of pub where you order chips but they’re triple-fried and come with chorizo ketchup. Everything we ate was on-point, kicking off with grown-up bar snacks of gordal olives and sardines on toast. Small plates made for easy sharing, like the crisp salt cod croquettes, or ricotta gnudi beautifully presented in a heavy earthenware dish with grilled peas, smoked garlic dressing and a satisfyingly wobbly egg yolk. For mains, vegetarian wellington was stuffed with smoky aubergines, courgette and fennel seeds wrapped in buttery homemade pastry. A side of grilled hispi cabbage was gargantuan, but the petticoat l

Mama's Kubo

Mama's Kubo

4 out of 5 stars

You might first glimpse Mama’s Kubo during a momentary pause at the traffic lights on the busy Finchley Road, but it’s worth stopping longer at this friendly, family-run Filipino restaurant. British-Filipino chef Rommel Bustarde previously worked with Alan Yau, of Yauatcha and Wagamama fame, and now he’s gone it alone serving dishes close to his heart. ‘Kubo’ is the word for a traditional Filipino thatched hut, and the restaurant carries the theme through with bamboo interiors and an intimate feel, with lots of dishes referencing family members. Cold aubergine salad was refreshing, with shallots, fresh mint, fish sauce, a squeeze of lime and tangy vinegary dressing. The stand-out dish was Mama Kubo’s sisig: a sizzling, jumbled up hotpot of spicy pork, beef and onions with an egg on top, which left crunchy, meaty scratchings to fight over at the bottom of the dish. Braised tofu was beautifully intense, with squishy chunks of aubergine and fermented black bean sauce. Compared to these bold flavours, the pork-and-beef spring rolls were forgettable, but it was the briefest of blips. Desserts were a sugar trip into the unknown. Taho is silken tofu, often eaten for breakfast in the Philippines, covered in a light caramel syrup and tapioca balls. Chef Rommel’s version of this favourite was impossibly soft and exceptionally sweet, almost dissolving with every mouthful. Filipino cuisine is such a joyful blend of Malaysian, Spanish, Chinese and Indonesian influences, and Mama’s Kubo

The Waterway

The Waterway

3 out of 5 stars

If London’s canals did Ibiza-style alfresco dining, The Waterway would be right in there. With plush white sofas, arching canopies and charming views of brightly coloured canal boats puffing past, this idyll makes river-living chic.It’s gastropub-style food, and whilst the inside feels a bit like a steak house with mirrored walls and leather seating, outside is more exclusive. Arancini set the tone with a fancy truffle mayonnaise, although they were aran-teeny. Hungry customers are well served with 28-day dry aged steaks and burgers off the grill, but the menu has a something-for-everyone approach with salads, fish and lighter mains too. Braised whole lemon sole was well-cooked and atlantic prawn and crayfish caesar salad was crisp with plump shellfish – not bad, but not mind-blowing either. Dauphinoise potatoes appeared to be cooked in butter rather than cream, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The crème brûlée hid a satisfying layer of tart victoria plums, but the apple tart pastry was a little flat and lacklustre. Service was friendly and they let customers linger over their lunch in the sunshine. The food here isn’t going to blow you away, but still, the location just might

Dhaba@49

Dhaba@49

4 out of 5 stars

Bringing North India’s roadside café culture to a crossroads in Maida Vale, Dhaba@49 is everything you’d want from a local restaurant: friendly service, keen prices and bang-on deliciousness. There are Dishoom-style inflections to the interiors (geometric tiles, vintage Indian prints, tiffin tableware etc.), but sweet little touches like velvet blue seating or the disco playlist keep it feeling unpretentious. Dhaba@49 prides itself on its chaat – the crispy-tangy-spicy snacks typically served in dhabas, or roadside restaurants. The samosa chaat featured plump, crisp triangles snuggled into a sauce of earthy, cumin chickpeas, drizzled with bright green mint dressing, sticky tamarind and stark white yoghurt. The finishing rainbow flourish of pomegranate seeds and purple micro-herbs lifted the flavour and gave this traditional Punjabi snack a dash of elegance. Dishes either fell into that kind of more-is-more, carnivalesque approach to flavour and colour, or were confidently simple. Like the striking methi makai masala; a silky, bright green spinach curry studded with juicy corn kernels, which looked straightforward but had subtle undertones of fresh fenugreek. Fish curries are so often overcooked, but the white fish in their Goan seafood moilee succumbed to the golden turmeric, mustard seed and coconut sauce at the touch of the fork. Our only complaint was that there wasn’t more of it. In fact, pretty much every dish was flawless: fluffy pilau rice, buttery layered lachha para

Bühler + Co

Bühler + Co

3 out of 5 stars

Lunch-only spot Bühler + Co serves the best kind of small plates: seasonal veg in well-executed vignettes, which showcase unexpected flavours and aren’t so small that you’re left fighting over the last mouthful of ancient grains. Bao buns filled with jackfruit or to-fish (yes, tofu-based ‘fish’) were the only vegan options that tried too hard, and they were the least successful. The rest of the eclectic menu was confidently vegetarian; favourites included beetroot salad that was a jamboree of feta, smoked almonds, crunchy Chinese cabbage and truffle dressing. It shouldn’t work. But it did. Heartier small plates included the Galushka Hungarian dumplings, which were twizzles of comforting dough in a bright pea and mint dressing, and pearl barley risotto with a snow of hard cheese covering juicy mushrooms underneath. Some dishes fell short of expectation; the halloumi fries were overcooked and dessert truffles were one-note of coconut oil, but the wait staff were friendly enough to make up for it. Interiors are also charming, featuring a terrace and conservatory room out the back, and inside a look-at-me gold ceiling, terrazzo tiles, and Scandi aesthetic wooden hooks around the walls. It’s a well-loved local’s restaurant, and it’s easy to see why.

Bao & Bing

Bao & Bing

4 out of 5 stars

A hip combo of Taiwanese street food restaurant and cocktail bar, Bao & Bing – from the former CEO of dim sum chain Ping Pong – serves those fluffy little bao buns you’ve all heard of and plenty of other dishes you probably haven’t. The look mixes exposed bricks with antique furniture, while satirical cartoons hang alongside old Vogue Taiwan covers on the wall. Downstairs feels more like the backstreets of Taipei, with neon signs and a louche teahouse-style room for private hire. Kick off with bao. The five-spiced beef version was a little heavy on the mayo, but the panko shrimp bao had a satisfying crunch between fluffy white buns. As for the ‘bing’ in the name, dan bing is a kind of Taiwanese breakfast burrito, with crunchy cabbage and spring onions wrapped in a pancake. Vegan and veggie options are limited, but the spicy barbecue corn was a highlight. Desserts were creative and fun. Turns out peanuts, coriander and vanilla ice cream really do go together, as demonstrated by the popiah pancake roll. Get the 12-layered pineapple bing cake if you’ve got hungry friends, or an on-trend wheelcake. It looks like a big English muffin, has a texture between a waffle and a thick pancake, and oozes custardy filling. Mixed drinks are another draw. Purists may be alarmed by Yakult cocktails, but the probiotic drink is incredibly popular in Taiwan and it was delicious muddled together with a shot of potent Korean soju. There’s even a playfulness to paying. Pick a lucky number and, if yo

Ragged Canteen

Ragged Canteen

4 out of 5 stars

In London, a quick lunch can easily taste like disappointment sandwiched between two slices of bread. So it’s refreshing to discover The Ragged Canteen, confidently serving up home-cooked food in the backstreets of Vauxhall. Living up to its name, The Ragged Canteen is a little rough around the edges, with a church-hall aesthetic, plastic orange chairs, plain walls and trestle tables. But there’s more substance here, as the plastic tablecloths are actually unique prototypes from a previous art exhibition, and disruptive video installations and art pieces hang on the walls. Run by Beaconsfield Gallery, The Ragged Canteen sits below their large exhibition space and also hosts a small gift shop. The funky outdoor area has plant-filled bathtubs, rickety benches and blankets to keep your knees warm. If the Tate café had a cooler, kooky cousin, this would be it. The counter was packed with freshly made quiches, salads and cakes, and the vegetarian menu has gluten-free and vegan options that change daily. Creamy avocado and pineapple smoothie was served in a cute milk bottle, with a sustainable paper straw. The courgette tart had crisp, buttery pastry under a generous layer of puréed white bean filling, with pretty courgette roses pressed in between satisfying blobs of melted cheese. Vegan Thai red curry was flecked with aromatic white fennel seeds and packed with chunky tofu, juicy green beans, and tenderstem broccoli, but it needed more confident spices and a squish of lime. The c

Fez Mangal

Fez Mangal

4 out of 5 stars

When you overhear someone ordering ten portions of falafel, you’ve got to try the falafel. Fez Mangal is a no-frills Turkish restaurant serving some seriously juicy kebabs, house-made doner, and those in-demand falafels to the lucky people of Ladbroke Grove. The falafels didn’t disappoint, with subtle cumin spice and a fluffy, reassuringly chunky chickpea filling in a crisp coating. The houmous was smooth beyond belief – so creamy it practically dissolved on the tongue – and it played a generous supporting role to everything else on the plate. Bread was a little stiff, which was disappointing as it’s cooked so impressively on a domed griddle in amongst the sizzling kebabs and pots of melted butter. But smothering it in that hummus absolved all shortcomings. A tang of tahini perked up a smoked aubergine babaganoush ahead of a plate of yogurtlu adana: a hand-shaped lamb kebab, served on a mound of rice, with rich tomato sauce and chunks of pitta. Soggy bread isn’t usually a good thing, but when it’s quivering with butter and soaked in tomato and kebab juices, it is a thing of beauty. A colourful rainbow salad of watercress, carrot and red cabbage on the side made it feel just a little more virtuous. The main restaurant is elegantly decorated with low lighting and banquette seats, but that hardly matters when you’re diving face first into a juicy mixed grill platter of shish and doner kebabs. It gets busy in the evenings, but a compact sister restaurant for lunch and take-away s

Pachamama East

Pachamama East

4 out of 5 stars

A Shoreditch offshoot of the Marylebone original, Pachamama East again infuses Peruvian flavours with exciting ingredients from across the globe (and especially Japan). Shabby chic may sound a bit ’90s, but at this split-level space, it’s done with genuine elegance: all geometric tiles, festoon lighting and earthenware that you’ll want to stick on your Pinterest board. The menu is divided into small plates themed by ‘soil’, ‘land’ and ‘sea’, all intended for sharing. Ceviche dominates the sea section, whereas the land plates are larger, so there’s less chance of fighting over the last chunk of pork belly. Every dish was a riot of colour, flavours and textures. The tapioca marshmallows were as must-order as ever; the starchy, savoury, soft filling was tucked into a crisp breadcrumb jacket, with a thick ocopa black mint and peanut sauce on the side. A miso-cured carrot was dark and sticky against risotto-style black quinoa, with sharp Peruvian kimchi cutting through the creaminess. ‘Duck on rice’ was an understatement for the beguilingly tender meat that arrived on top of moreish white dashi rice. And if you’ve got room for dessert, the yuzu ice cream is something else. The only niggle was that plates arrived ad hoc, meaning you could have a dish of subtle tuna ceviche competing with punchy Sichuan lamb. But the passionate, high-energy staff will happily let you order as you go: just ask. A rainbow of flavours like this deserves to be savoured in stages.

Kinilaw & Buko

Kinilaw & Buko

Please note, Kinilaw & Buko – the Filipino spin-off to 100 Hoxton – has now closed to make way for a new restaurant, Rapsa (again Filipino), spanning both sites. Kinilaw & Buko is the perfect place to take friends when you want them to think that you’re cooler than you actually are. Filipino small plates and a dynamic cocktail menu also make it a great spot for a date, and if you want to keep drinking after hours, just sneak through to 100 Hoxton, the bar at the back. Classically trained Filipino chef Francis Puyat (formerly of Nopi) is behind the stove at both. Kinilaw is Filipino-style ceviche that uses vinegar more than lime to season fresh fish. The majority of the menu is naturally gluten-free, too. ‘Kilawin Coconut Fire’ turned out to be soft, creamy bream with coconut vinegar and a little jalapeño warmth. ‘Diver Hauls Kapis Treasure’ had a clever fermented roe garnish with a satisfying zing of lime and lightly pickled cucumber. ‘Mustasa Cradled Duck Egg’ was the only cold dish that didn’t hit all the right notes: the finely chopped egg, cured yolk and tomatoes were muddled and indistinct. There were crispy shallots on several of the dishes, but there’s no such thing as too much deep-fried onion, right? As for the hot dishes, these mostly came off the grill: there were squares of pork belly adobo with skin so sweet and sticky it’ll coat your teeth. Pyongyang chicken skewers were moist, with a coconut sambal marinade that sat perfectly on chicken-skin crackling rice. The

Misato

Misato

4 out of 5 stars

You’ll often find customers queuing out the door of this cafeteria-style Japanese restaurant: portions are huge and the food is pretty good. It’s a no-frills spot, with minimal decor and tables close together. Service is fast and friendly, and the menu has old-school photos of every dish, just in case you don’t know what udon noodles are. The menu ranges from sushi and bento boxes, to large rice dishes, katsu curry and noodle soups, and it’s ridiculously good value for this part of town. Come with a friend (or two). The epic rice portions are big enough to share and leave customers audibly sighing with satisfaction as they push their empty plates away. Tempura udon soup had a light and complex dashi broth with tender, slurpy noodles and iconic slices of swirly narutomaki fish-cake garnish. Grilled salted mackerel (saba shio) was a highlight, as the crisp skin held beautifully moist flesh with a light soy dressing. Tori karaage was essentially just deep-fried chicken – but the thick crust had a sake and soy-infused sweetness that was mildly addictive, especially when dipped in homemade mayonnaise. Only seafood dumplings and vegetable tempura were faintly disappointing: they were crisp, just a little on the bland side. (Side note: they seem to serve everything with iceberg lettuce here.) Misato is cash only, no reservations, but busy any time of day. It’s worth muscling your way in though for a great, cheap evening out in Soho.

Onima

Onima

2 out of 5 stars

Created by international restaurateur Alexandros Andrianopoulos, Onima brings Mykonos chic to Mayfair. You know to put your best shoes on when a restaurant is set in a townhouse with a past life as Cartier’s watchmaking headquarters, and there’s a bar, private members’ club and roof terrace split across five storeys. But Onima felt more style over substance: black dinner plates, black marble décor and gold features may suit the lush postcode, but it’s just too noughties. The menu has a similar self-conscious vibe as it tries to unite Japanese, Greek and Italian cuisine, but reads more like someone who can’t quite decide where they want to go on holiday. (And while asparagus, courgette flowers and raspberries sound Mediterranean, they felt decidedly unseasonal in the middle of winter when we visited). Fried saganaki cheese was rubbery, and the accompanying frisée leaf salad was so small it hardly warranted the effort. On-trend cacio e pepe was one of the better dishes, with a smooth, peppery sauce and tonnarelli egg pasta cooked to perfection. Rabbit stew had pleasingly sharp capers dotted against sweet peppers and a rich sauce, but it felt quite ordinary. Still, the namelaka dessert would satisfy any chocoholic, with creamy ganache piping and impressive geometric shards of dark chocolate. Service was slow and the sommelier looked like he’d rather be somewhere else. When a restaurant promises ‘five dimensions of pleasure’, it’s fair to say expectations are high. Onima, sadly,

The best things in life are free.

Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

Loading animation
Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!