Photograph: Christophe Abouem
Photograph: Christophe Abouem

Battle of the takeaways: Time Out writers pen love letters to their favourites across the UK

Everyone’s got their go-to food delivery – is yours on this list?


In a ranked list of what are objectively The Best Feelings in the World, hearing the doorbell ring and knowing that there is a lovely person on the other side of that door, holding your delicious dinner, has got to be in the top five. No doubt you’ve got your beloved spots that you return to time and time again: a comforting curry, a life-giving bowl of noodles, a waffle drizzled with chocolate sauce, possibly with some squirty cream on the top. But remember, it’s important to try new things, too. To give you a bit of inspiration for your next meal, we asked Time Out writers from London to Liverpool to tell us about their top picks when they’re hungry at home. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Xi’an Impression

Go-to order: Biang biang noodles in special chilli sauce

‘This unassuming Chinese restaurant in north London – opposite the Arsenal stadium, no less – has a small but mighty menu, which will help to erase all that inevitable umming-and-ahhing from choosing a takeaway so you can get straight down to business. It offers all sorts of specialities from Xi’an in Western China as well as classic crowd-pleasers like salt and pepper squid, crunchy spring rolls and sweet and sour chicken. The dish you need to try, though? I’ll go as far to say that Xi’an Impression does the best hand-pulled noodles in London. Those long, slurpy shapes come drenched in a delicious sweet-but-spicy-but-sour sauce and never fail to be my go-to veggie comfort order when I just can’t be arsed to cook.’ Chiara Wilkinson

Caribou Poutine

Go-to order: Fried maple chicken poutine with crispy onions and garlic butter

‘If there’s one topic people are divided on when it comes to takeaways, particularly in the north of England, it’s what you’re putting on your chips. But whether you’re a die-hard gravy and chips fan, or you end every big night out with a portion of cheesy chips, you’re bound to find something you like at Caribou Poutine, located in the centre of Liverpool. Inspired by the Canadian delicacy poutine, aka chips, cheese curds and gravy, this is a much-loved spot for loaded fries (with toppings ranging from maple chicken and pulled pork to faux chicken). It’s the best kind of comfort food, ideal for fixing that hangover.’ Alice Porter



Go-to order: Hothead burger

‘I love fried chicken. Probably a bit more than any doctor would advise me to, but here we are. On my travels across both the UK and the wider world I’m yet to find anywhere that slings fried bird like this grungy dive bar around the back of New Street Station, which has a scuzzy restaurant playlist to match its aesthetic. I sit in when I can, but my go-to takeaway is the deliciously fiery Deep South-style hothead burger, which you should pair with a side of crispy, fluffy, ‘buffalo’ tater tots (they’re a bit like mini hash browns). Go on, find somewhere better. I dare you.’ Richard Franks


Go-to order: Beef bibimbap

As a Glasgow East End-er, finding a takeaway that delivers over a long distance can be tricky. Luckily, Bibimbap’s drivers are willing to make the trip. The restaurant covers all the Korean classics: japchae (glass noodle stir-fry), spicy pork bulgogi and green onion pancakes. But for me, it’s hard to order anything but its namesake beef bibimbap rice bowl, loaded with sesame and seaweed, alongside its pillowy, umami-rich tteokbokki (rice cakes). Don’t forget sides: the cucumber kimchi has a delightful kick. Expect big portions – one order will usually last me for two days. Sarah Gillespie



Go-to order: Tofu makhanwala, peshwari naan and vada pav 

Who do you call upon when you want to order something from the tandoor to your door? Sanskruti is the answer, tucked away in the student melting pot of Fallowfield. At the risk of sounding like I'm currying favour – no life’s supply of bhaji bribes being asked for here, honest – this beloved veggie and vegan curry house is the most mouth-smacking in the city, with innovative dishes that dazzle. Where else can you order kela nu shaak (tangy ripe bananas sauteed with tumeric and curry leaves) or vegan malai kofta  simmered in a glossy cashew gravy, all mopped up with a can’t-believe-it’s-not-ghee naan? 

If you live in the centre it might take a while to get to you – don’t expect curry in a hurry. But go the extra mile (without leaving your sofa) and let yourself salivate for a few more minutes; you’ll have them saved on speed daal (not sorry) as soon as you’ve finished. Kyle MacNeill


Go-to order: Falafel wrap

No matter my mood, Biblos is there. It’s seen me at my best and my very, very worst. Fusing Middle Eastern and Caribbean cuisine from its sites in Stokes Croft and St Werburghs, the restaurants offer delicious and substantial wraps that have a cult following among local residents. They make fresh khobez bread, which really makes a difference, then stuff it full of crisp salad, herbs and pickles before drizzling over homemade sauces and finishing it all off with a choice of veggie or meaty fillings. Biblos has even created its own spin on jerk chicken and a vegan-friendly seitan alternative. However, it’s the falafel wrap that has my heart, not only for its nostalgic value (it’s comforted me after many a night out), but because it’s bursting with vibrant flavours and textures, and always leaves me comfortably stuffed. What I would do for a Biblos black card, damn. Georgia Evans

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