This is an “all-you-need-to-know” guide to some of the best places to eat in Nottingham. As a foodie who has lived in Nottingham for 5 years I’ve dined in practically every restaurant worth mentioning (bar the illustrious Sat Bains, but I’ll come for you one day!). Use this guide and you’ll never be stuck for where to eat!
Best Fine Dining
Beetroot Variations at La Rock
It’s not every day that a student can indulge in Nottingham’s fine dining scene, so when I do manage to go it has to be the best! The three above come recommended for different reasons.
La Rock is probably my favourite out of the three but is located in the far reaches of what could be deemed Nottingham, butting up to the M1. The food is well considered, beautifully plated, experimental but not for the sake of it and all within an intimate setting.
World Service, on the other hand, is hidden away in plain sight near Nottingham Castle. It has a pretty outdoor seating area for those rare, sunny summer days and very friendly service.
Hart’s has you covered if you’re looking for some serious food. The souffle comes highly recommended though the place does tend to feel a little like a drab hotel dining area, which it actually is!
Best For a Romantic Date
King Scallops Linguine at Sexy Mamma Love Spaghetti
If the previous three don’t have your fancy then these four are the perfect place to take your date to.
Pitcher & Piano, though a chain bar, is situated in a beautifully restored 19th Century chapel. As it’s a bar it can be loud but there are definitely places to sit back and admire your surroundings.
Though small, grab a window side table at Sexy Mamma’s and wine and dine your date. Though on my visit the food was homely but could have been improved.
If you’re looking for a little fusion then Chino Latino is the way to go. Whilst there are definitely some misses on its menu there are also some that will whisk your date away. The Sirloin steak on hot rocks is not to be missed.
If top notch food is the main concern then The Larder on Goosegate is a must for any date. Though it also has one of the most interesting Victorian decors in Nottingham, so win-win.
Pavé de steak at Bistrot Pierre
The following two can easily have been merged into the previous category but just to distinguish them from the pack since they are both bistros.
Le Mistral is a cosy little restaurant tucked away in an old mill. It wouldn’t be out of place as one of the most romantic restaurants in Nottingham. The classic bistro fare makes this the best place to get your French fix.
If you want something a little glitzier? Then Bistrot Pierre might be more suitable. Whilst a chain, it does standard bistro food in a beautiful dining room.
Octopus, Chorizo and Potatoes at baresca
Nottingham has a particular fondness for tapas. There are a number of good tapas restaurants in the city but these three stands out above them all.
If you’ve not guessed it Bar Iberico and Iberico World Tapas are under the same group. Bar Iberico is the more casual of the two located in Hockley. There’s not much in it between them, both will serve you a great meal, just depends on what atmosphere you are looking for.
For me though, baresca is the place to be for tapas. Food wise there’s not much in it but the beautiful restaurant just makes dining out a little bit more of a treat.
Tamatanga Thali at Tamatanga
Indian cuisine isn’t my forte but Tamatanga stands out for me as a relaxed place to savour some of the best Indian food in the area.
If you’re looking for something a bit more proper then look out for 4550 Miles From Delhi, one of the stalwarts on Curry Mile.
BBQ Feast for 4 at Red’s True Barbecue
For the best and most extravagant burgers in town go to Annie’s and be amazed at what ingredients you can actually put in a burger for it to still be a burger! Whilst for the best BBQ Red’s stands out by a smidge over similar competitors. I dare you to try the BBQ feast for 4! For Annie’s it’s best to book in advance for their perpetually overbooked tables.
Char Siu at Mandarin
Take it from me. Man’s for dim sum, Mandarin for dinner. You can’t go wrong.
One of my friend’s from Hong Kong once remarked that Mandarin has better dim sum than Hong Kong. Whilst I might not push the boat that far it definitely beats the standard fare a lot of London restaurants put out.
Whilst for a Chinese banquet? Mandarin is the place to go. I can’t count how many times I’ve been here to satisfy my Chinese food cravings over the past 5 years.
Best Fast Food
Two 11″ Create Your Own Pizzas at Inferno
Fast food not just means your local Maccie D’s or KFC but places you can get a quick and simple food fix, or at least you’re supposed to.
Nottingham has a number of Pizza joints, Inferno Pizza comes recommended by me. Whilst you might queue for longer than you eat, they can create your perfect combination, with a relatively thin crisp base, in supposedly 3 minutes.
If chicken wings take your fancy then don’t overlook Bunk. Their deals make them not much more expensive than your local chicken shop.
Finally, a must go for any weekend is Nottingham Street Food Club. If you’re like me and love variety the ever changing stallholders will leave you with all the choice you need. Whilst I feel Homeboys is the only consistently good stall, it’s nice to have variation.
Best Fish and Chips
Ground Floor at George’s Great British Kitchen
For a relatively compact city, Nottingham has two rather distinctive places for your chippy fix.
The Cods Scallops boasts coming in 3rd place at the National Fish and Chip Awards in 2016, yes that is a thing. The fish is light and crispy and be sure to try the battered scallops.
For a more upmarket chippy then head to George’s. Their restaurant is rather pretty downstairs or upstairs in their beach hut themed booths
Thai Style Chilli and Basil Lobster at Lobster Pot
Nottingham isn’t known for seafood but if you are looking for the ‘Catch of the day’ then these two places should give you some options.
Thai, Seafood and Thai Seafood. Yes, Lobster Pot has a Seafood menu, a Thai menu and the occasional Seafood with Thai influences. Have something different and go for Thai Seafood and have your expectations blown away.
For something a bit more traditional head to the chain, Loch Fyne. You should get all the classics here for a decent price.
Best for Steak
Scotch Egg and Baked Cheese with Toast at OAKS
If you’re a carnivore, like me, then don’t miss Nottingham’s meat feast restaurants.
On their best days, OAKS’ steaks are beautifully charred and crisp from their wood burning grill but be prepared to wait a while in their beautiful dining room, as service can be slow.
For the classic steakhouse then Miller & Carter in Wollaton is your go to. They have all the usual suspects cooked just the way you like it.
Best for Groups
Street Signs at Zaap
Zaap Thai might not have fulfilled the Thai street food gap I was hoping for but the interior decor makes this a fun place to hang out with a bunch of friends.
Similarly, the relaxed environment in Turtle Bay and the Happy Hour offer make this a fun and sociable place to chill out and taste some moreish treats from the Carribean.
Asian’s Heaven at TimeOut Cafe (that’s not actually what these three dishes are called!)
Some places are just made for you to chill. Here are my four top picks.
Copper City is a beautifully designed loungey cafe where I could easily spend the whole afternoon. They also have the occasional live band if it doesn’t feel loungey enough.
Delilah Fine Foods is a deli with some casual seating upstairs to get a healthy bite to eat. Spend the time afterwards browsing their stock, that sounds like the perfect weekend afternoon to me!
The Asian inside me gets a little excited every time for TimeOut Cafe. Whilst the food doesn’t always satisfy they have so many popular Asian snacks and desserts to choose from, in a rather twee and relaxed environment, that I always go back for more. You’re bound to find something that satisfies your cravings.
Another perfect place to while away an afternoon is Curious Manor. Choose to sit upstairs and you’ll get a number of interesting seating areas to choose from, in relatively undisturbed surroundings. They also serve afternoon tea, which I think sounds rather perfect.
Best in Beeston
Japanese sirloin steak, Asian cabbage slaw at The Frustrated Chef
Beeston is my local and you can’t go wrong with the holy trinity of Korea House, Nosh and Sukho Thai (Korean, Chinese and Thai respectively). These three restaurants will fix you up with all your Asian cuisine needs. Though I must say Sukho Thai’s quality has dipped a bit. My favourite out of the three has changed throughout the years but currently, Korea House stands undefeated. Living in Beeston and need a Thai takeaway in the area? Amazing Thai Cafe in Dunkirk also gets my vote.
Outside of those three, The Frustrated Chef is my definite go to for a proper sit-down meal in Beeston. The food is very good, especially their occasional Asian influenced dishes, and gives Beeston even more international food cred.
Black Forest Torte at The Cheesecake Shop
Dessert restaurants have seen an influx in the past year or two in Nottingham. These 4 are some of the cream of the crop.
The best gelato in town goes to Dolcino. Grab a scoop in the summer and perch at Old Market Square.
The Cheesecake Shop not only do cheesecakes, most of their cakes are to die for and deceptively light. They have a few out of town shops or go all in and order a birthday cake from them.
For bubble tea, the best in town has to be Cha Time. This international chain makes the perfect Taro or Matcha bubble tea. My usual is to add some pudding rather than boba for the perfect summer treat.
For the usual suspects, but in fancier surroundings, then head over to Heavenly Desserts for waffles, crepes and sundaes galore.
There are still, of course, a number of places I’ve yet to visit. I for one am guilty of not having visited much of the Curry Mile. So if anyone wants to add some recommendations feel free to post below.