1. Nuovo, Northampton
Italian but not as you know it. From the delicious Cicchetti menu, to the Sunday Grazin' and Thursday’s Rhythm and Ribs events, Nuovo offers something a bit different from your typical Italian. Simple and stylish, the restaurant provides impeccable service and amazing food served in a relaxed atmosphere which guarantee you'll keep going back for more. There's even a deli for when you haven't time to sit and enjoy a leisurely meal...what more could you want?
2. Magee St Bakery, Northampton
Definitely worth getting up early for! A speciality café and bakery which offers a quirky interior alongside imaginative dishes, it's easy to see why Magee's has quickly acquired a band of loyal customers. Selling hand ground coffee, sourdough bread made on site, plus a glorious collection of home-made cakes and treats, this is a gem in Northampton's growing artisan crown. The options change frequently so you'll never be bored, but be warned, they sell fast!
3. The Wheatsheaf Pub and Dining Room, Northampton
With a welcoming atmosphere, pretty garden and a traditional feel it would be easy to assume The Wheatsheaf is your typical pub. Order food though and you'll instantly realise this place stands out from the crowd. Meat is locally sourced, the fruit and vegetables allotment grown and all are cooked to perfection by an inspirational chef. I challenge you to find a better burger, or Sunday roast, in the area.
4. Pumukkale, Northampton
Newly opened and going down a storm! The simply-designed exterior of this Turkish restaurant could certainly leave it going unnoticed amid the other offerings on St Giles Street, but the interior however is definitely something to get you talking. The atmosphere inside Pumukkale is unique and along with its excellent service and authentic Turkish cuisine, it’s proving a real success. It might have something to do with bold Mediterranean flavours and excellent value for money...funny that.
5. Haycock & Tailbar Assoicates, Northampton
Elegant and sophisticated, dining in this basement eatery could easily leave you feeling like you've been transported to a cool, trendy Northampton that you never knew existed. In fact, I'm not even sure I want to recommend Haycock & Tailbar as I want to keep it to myself. Exotic meats cooked at the table on hot lava rocks and cocktails of pure class, this is a place of luxury in which to spoil yourself.
6. The Clock House, Upton
The Clock House café has a very special restaurant which only opens two nights a month and has but a handful of tables. You're perfectly catered for with a 4 course menu that changes every month, a stunning, fresh, crab dish (above left) was my favourite on a recent visit.
7. Tarn Thai, Nottingham
You’ll forget you’re in the city centre when you dine amongst the running water and greenery of the best Thai restaurant in Nottingham. The luxury extends to the food too, I can’t resist the succulent chicken cooked in pandan leaves here.
8. Iberico World Tapas, Nottingham
9. Larwood & Voce, West Bridgford
I've searched for the best roast in Nottingham so you don't have to, and look no further. I struggle to imagine there's better puddings in Yorkshire than this one from Nottinghamshire!
10. Sat Bains, Nottingham
I could scarcely forget the only 2 Michelin star restaurant in the whole Midlands. The level of detail, innovation and flavour never fails to delight. It's simply a must-visit if you're a serious foodie, the signature Ham, Egg and Peas always delivers.
11. The Smokehouse, Leicester
12. Gino's Pear Tree, Loughborough
A gorgeous family-run Italian in this picturesque village just outside Loughborough. Try their pizza, cooked in an authentic wood fired oven on site. A new landscaped terrace area outside catches the afternoon sun perfectly. Al fresco pizza, what could be better over the summer?
13. Kayal, Leicester
14. The Grey Lady Kitchen & Deli, Newton Linford
15. The Olive Branch, Clipsham
I like this place so much it makes the list even though it's in Rutland! Book ahead and for a real treat, book a room and stay over, they have 6 rooms in The Beech House just next door Gorgeousness on every level – a traditional country pub with award winning (and bloomin great) food.
16. The Horse & Groom, Lincoln
A friendly, welcoming pub serving delicious pub favourites with a raft of locally sourced ingredients. Its relaxed feeling makes it a great place for a meal out with friends or Sunday Lunch with your family. Their menu changes regularly to reflect the seasons, and they never move too far away from traditional pub grub with a modern twist.
17. The Bronze Pig, Lincoln
The Bronze Pig is a unique partnership between an Irishman & Sicilian offering contemporary British food with an Italian twist. A combination so popular that they recently had to move to bigger premises to meet the demand. Where possible they source produce from the local area. The consistently scrumptious food makes this the place of choice for a special occasion.
18. Uncle Henry's, Gainsborough
This café and farm shop recently their saw their sausages win The One Show’s Best Sausage award! Situated 28 miles north of Lincoln city, owned & run by the Ward family it truly is field to fork eating experience. Uncle Henry’s grow their own vegetables in a walled garden & have a large herd of pigs, which are expertly butchered on site.
19. Madame Waffle, Lincoln
The new kid on the block has definitely made an impression on café culture in Lincoln, they bring together great coffee with freshly made waffles. If coffee isn’t your thing, then rest assured their tea & cold drinks menu is just as extensive. The waffles are not only sweet but there’s a range of savoury dishes too, from English fry-ups to Halloumi and Bolognaise.
20. Olé Olé, Lincoln
21. Blacksmith's Loft, Derby
22. The Loaf, Crich
Not content with producing tantalizing breads, the Artisan Bakers at Loaf hold a pizza night every Wednesday at their Crich premises. Look out for their innovative "Flavour of the week" speciality offering. You can even take your own alcohol!
23. The Farmhouse at Mackworth, Derby
24. Devonshire Arms, Beeley
Cracking food in an amazing setting on the historic Chatsworth Estate. Under the guidance of Chef Patron, Alan, the menu offers an imaginative collection of dishes with world-class fine dining standard presentation. The Old Spot Belly Pork is to die for.
25. Ice Creams & Dreams, Bakewell
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