Yorkshire’s biggest city may be best known for its massive university, charming accent and winning array of things to do – but it certainly punches above its weight when it comes to independent restaurants, bars and cafés, too. In fact, student-centric Sheffield boasts a diverse food and drink scene that can cater for pretty much all budgets and occasions. So whether you’re more into the idea of street food, a sourdough bakery or a fine-dining establishment set in a shipping container, our pick of the very best restaurants in Sheffield has you covered.
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Best restaurants in Sheffield
Why go? For fresh bread and a creative brunch menu.
Forge began as a humble bakery, then it branched out with a café, and now that café has monthly supper clubs, cocktails, burgers and shakes. But the star of the show will always be the bread, baked fresh every day, right next to the café. Order the Mexican-style huevos rancheros for brunch, but don’t leave without a loaf of sourdough or another treat to take home.
Why go? For its eight-course tasting menu.
With its hyper-local produce and ample tasting menu, modern British restaurant Joro is one of the swishest eating establishments in Sheffield, even though it’s in the Krynkl shipping container development. At this award-winning joint, seasonal small plates are beautifully presented and fashioned from local ingredients. It costs £45 for eight courses. Wear stretchy pants.
Why go? For an £8 plate of nonna’s best pasta.
The first Nonnas opened in Sheffield in 1996. Since then the Italian restaurant has become a favourite throughout the city, serving homey Italian food at reasonable prices. From 5pm to 7pm on most days, Nonnas offers £8 bowls of pasta (the eight-hour slow-cooked Italian sausage with tagliatelle is a real highlight), so head here if you’re on a budget but you don’t want to compromise on quality.
Why go? For the city’s best Sunday roast.
This gastropub is famous for its succulent Sunday lunch, but it does brunch, dinner and an early-bird special, too. It’s such a hit with locals for special occasions that there’s a graduation menu for students. Plus, it has its own cookery school where you can learn to roast an entire pig in a day.
Why go? If you’re a coffee snob or gluten-free.
Steam Yard has spectacular coffee, a glorious courtyard and lots of colourful, gluten-free baked goods. It’s a casual spot that makes up for its lack of a sit-down menu with stacks upon stacks of doughnuts and cakes. In summer it brings in ice cream from Peak District Dairy and puts scoops of it inside doughnuts. Grab a coffee and a treat, then take them out into the courtyard.
Why go? For the excellent food and BYO drinks policy.
Otto’s is well known in the area for its vibrant atmosphere (belly dancers and magicians are the regular live entertainment). Its huge menu is packed with Middle Eastern delights, like lemon chicken, fish tagine and, our highlight, the baked goat’s cheese. Bonus points for catering to large groups and letting everyone bring their own drinks.
Why go? For the finest brunch and coffee to ever pass your lips.
Run by two New Zealanders with a passion for a proper brew, Tamper makes for a great place to while away an afternoon. Their coffee is award-winning and the grub’s top notch. The Big Kiwi Breakfast is sure to stifle any hangover, while Friday nights offer an opportunity to prepare for said hangover with a late, boozy opening.
Why go? For a pre-theatre meal.
Ego’s proximity to the Crucible makes it a stellar spot for dinner before a show. It’s a light and airy Mediterranean spot that has mezze boards, stone-baked pizzas, steaks and kebabs. It’s great at catering for dietary requirements (there’s a whole vegan menu) and it’s right next to the city’s Winter Garden – an urban glasshouse filled with more than 2,000 plant species.
Why go? For afternoon tea in an antiques store.
This quaint café is on the top floor of the Sheffield Antiques Centre. If you like mismatched tea cups and moreish sponge cakes, this is the place for you. Freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream come on an afternoon tea stand that also includes classic sandwiches. On the savoury side, there are toasties, salads and jacket potatoes.
Why go? For a hearty pub meal among locals.
This dog-friendly gastropub is right by one of Sheffield’s most popular parks, so it attracts those who are looking for a hearty meal after a bout of exercise or lengthy stroll with Fido. Chefs use a massive charcoal oven to cook the likes of lamb rump and beef short rib (so big you have to share), but there’s also a buttermilk fried chicken burger and a beef-shin and pea pie for those not in it for a big feast.
Why go? For the best tacos in town.
This all-day Mexican canteen has done well for itself in Sheffield. Once just a street food stall that only cooked up tacos for dinner, now it has four locations across the city serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our pick? The 12-inch chicken burrito in smoky tomato sauce, with black beans, salsa, rice, sour cream and loads of guac. The perfect accompaniment to a margarita, or a late-night journey home.