In September, I travelled from Essex to Sunderland to go to University. The problem was… I had no idea where was good to eat. So, I took it upon myself to find the best places, with the most options and what tasted best.
No one wants to go to a restaurant and be forced to order a salad, or maybe just a side of chips.
8. Tequila Tequila
Tequila Tequila is a small independent restaurant in Sunderland, serving authentic Mexican food. Although I visited when it wasn’t very busy, I can see this place getting absolutely packed. They serve a wide array of cocktails and Mexican dishes, there’s really something for everyone. When I messaged the company on Facebook, they didn’t reply at all. So, going in was a bit of a risk but I ordered some really lovely nachos, with a frozen margarita alongside it. It was really good. I’d recommend the restaurant for a quick dinner as the atmosphere is great and so is the food, but it’s rather pricey.
This cafe, located in Durham, is genuinely one of the nicest cafes I’ve visited since coming up north.
They serve a range of coffees, teas and milkshakes, at a very reasonable price. Plus, they have a wide range of salads and gluten free sandwiches, with some very tempting fillings.
The best part, the scones. Yes, gluten free scones.
They have a choice between fruit and cheese, and I’d highly recommend the cheese. It tastes exactly how you would imagine a perfect homemade scone to taste. Although it isn’t a restaurant as such, it’s a great place to socialise and have a quick bite to eat.
6. Prima Ristorante
This is quite a small restaurant in central Newcastle, that serves plenty of pizzas and pastas for the gluten free eater. Every pizza on the menu can be made gluten free, which is a big plus.
The downside? You have to pay an extra £2 for the pizza base, if you want it to be gluten free. It’s not too much of a problem, but it’s just a bit annoying to be paying extra for something you cannot help.
I chose the nduja pizza, which is seen in the photo, which was spicy sausage with chillies. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too hot, which meant you could enjoy the flavours without having a burning mouth… but as you can see in the picture, the pizza was a little burnt.
It detracted from the overall appeal but I’d recommend the restaurant if you’re in a rush for lunch/dinner in Newcastle, and want something quick but tasty.
5. Bella Italia
Bella Italia is a hidden gem. Even though it’s a chain restaurant, it seems to slip under the radar with gluten free food. I don’t know why though.
They offer a large range of pizzas and pastas, and some amazing deserts too.
Plus, if you order a pizza with chilli… it’s actually quite hot. A bonus for those who love a bit of heat on their food.
Unfortunately, there’s no Bella Italia in Sunderland, but in both Durham and Newcastle, they’re there, so it’s not too far to go if you’re really in the mood for a good pizza you can trust.
4. Cote Brassiere
Cote Brassiere is a French chain restaurant which has only recently branched into the North East. There’s one location, near Central Station in Newcastle, but believe me when I tell you it’s lovely.
The decor is quite fancy, meaning this is a prime location for a date night or special meal out.
And, the food. The food is lovely, the gluten free menu is huge, with lots of variety for everyone’s taste. Personally, I think their chicken is to die for. It’s always cooked to perfection, so you can’t go wrong, but I’ve also heard great things about the roast duck.
3. San Marino
Now this is a restaurant which doesn’t get enough recognition. I hadn’t even heard of it before some extensive googling to find a place to eat dinner.
But this small restaurant, on Chester Road in Sunderland, is a real gem. During happy hour, which is before 7pm, the pizzas are only £5.80, which is a real steal.
Plus, they can serve any pizza or pasta on the menu, plus many of the chicken dishes. And, they taste great. I ordered the pizza with parma ham and rocket as toppings, which was a great choice.
And the icing on the cake… the deserts. They have several options that are gluten free, such as a Pavlova, ice cream, and sticky toffee pudding. I went for the sticky toffee pudding, and it was definitely the right choice.
I’d highly recommend going here, anyone that goes will not regret it. It really deserves so much more publicity, even the waiter who served us knew exactly what was gluten free without hesitation and was able to help me pick the perfect meal.
Tia’s is a small independent mexican restaurant near the station in Durham.
The food was absolutely to die for, it was all home cooked and full of flavour. I ordered the chicken fajitas, which was a great choice as it came with a huge mountain of chicken, peppers and onions, which were still cooking as they came to the table, plus lettuce, cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream. AND, three tortillas.
So much food.
It’s such a lovely restaurant, with so much choice for gluten free. It’s really worth visiting. There’s so much variation, so there’s something for everyone.
1. Fat Hippo
I’ll always sing Fat Hippo’s praises.
With only three restaurants nationwide (one in Newcastle, one in Gateshead and one in Durham), it’s a hidden treasure. But, it’s certainly worth finding.
The restaurant serves mainly burgers, ranging from beef to chicken, with every filling imaginable. The only downside is if you’re vegetarian and gluten free, there’s not many options for you.
But, if you’re not… it’s gluten free heaven. I mean, just look at the burgers in the picture. The gluten free burger is in the foreground but… can you even see much of a difference?
It’s genuinely the best restaurant I could recommend to anyone. Definitely worth a visit.