Our Top Picks for Eating & Drinking in Durham

Tuesday 23rd November, 2021 by hs-admin

Durham City and its surrounding area are full of incredible places to eat, drink and even be merry, but how do you choose where to whet your whistle, chow down or even grab a bite when on your North East holiday cottage break? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

We have taken it upon ourselves to find the best spots in town to satisfy every possible craving. And trust us, we’re stuffed! 

So, let’s get down to it, where to eat, drink and be merry in Durham City.


Starting with one of the city’s most unique spots, we head to Vennels in Saddlers Yard. 

A deceptively spacious spot with 150 seats available over three floors, the café is a Durham institution housed in an unassuming spot, tucked away down an alley on the way to the Cathedral. 

Soak up the historic ambience of the 16th century building with its crooked ceiling, beams and original fireplaces, as well as the hotch-potch furniture, decoration and lighting that make the place a comforting spot for lunch, or simply a quick coffee break to give your weary legs a rest from the city’s cobbles.  

But what about the food? Well, are you in for a treat?! All food – from cakes, to salads, pies, quiches and soup, is freshly prepared daily and is all self-service at the counter. No table service, or even table bookings, make a seat at this place one of the most sought after in the city. 

Flavour is at the heart of everything that the expert team produce, as, after all, it is rumoured that English Mustard as we know it originated from part of the original Vennels building

Find out more about Vennels, Durham.


It’s something everyone wants to find when they’re on a holiday or short break, right? Well you’re sure to find it here. 

This gem of the orient can be found hidden away near to the Crown Court (hence, you’ll find it on Court Lane), but there’s nothing criminal about the incredible Thai/Pan-Asian food you’ll find cooked up by Pan, Ting, Boon and Tom who run the show with their own, individual culinary styles and tricks. 

The food is the star of the show, but the peaceful dining experience created inside, with cherry blossom and Buddha watching over you transports you out of the leafy city and straight into the heart of Asia. 

At night, the lights go down and the volume goes up as the team takes you to downtown Bangkok – without the jet lag! 

Find out more about Zen, Durham.


Unassuming on the outside, with an entrance just wide enough to accommodate its door and a couple of petite bistro tables, set off the cobbled street that opens onto Palace Green, Cafedral is actually much more than meets the eye.

After walking through the historic façade, you’re welcomed into a bright, airy and open space that is filled with colour and marvellous smells – a treat for all the senses. 

Its vast menu with changing daily specials has everything you might need, from a pick-me-up in the form of a super smoothie, to a hearty panini, or simply rest from climbing up the steep street with a cup of tea and freshly baked cake or scone.

Vintage china, friendly staff and a tasty menu (the food, not the actual menu) make for a perfect spot before heading up to, or down from the cathedral itself.  

Find out more about Cafedral, Durham.


Looking for a warm Hola? Well, Tia’s is the place for you. 

A family-run business with a passion for food and excellent customer service, you won’t find anywhere better than Mexico itself for spice! 

Choose from the speciality hanging kebabs or freshly made enchiladas, chimichanga or tacos – there’s even a gluten free and vegan menu meaning everyone can take a trip to the land of the Aztecs. 

Still need convincing? Two words: frozen margaritas. Tia’s is famous for them, as well as it’s tequila collection, so you’ll be able to truly immerse yourself in the experience (all they ask is that you don’t start thinking you’re in a mariachi band…).

Find out more about Tia’s, Durham.

Riverview Kitchen 

Located on the river (funnily enough), off Silver Street and overlooking the 600-year-old Framwellgate Bridge you will find the Riverview Kitchen. 

With a cosy conservatory style area boasting panoramic views over the river, you’d be forgiven for spending a few hours people-watching here. 

But the unintentional entertainment is nothing compared to the food, intimate atmosphere and friendly team you’ll experience while here. You can get anything from quick snacks to hearty dishes, all served up in a well-designed space which is both modern and traditional in one. 

Find out more about Riverview Kitchen, Durham.


No, not the drink. Or in fact the dance. 

The burgers. We’re just going to need a minute to compose ourselves…

The wizards behind the menu source their produce from local and well-established suppliers so your food hasn’t travelled far – and it’s always only 100% prime cuts with nothing to bind or bulk it up. 

Whether it’s the cheese oozing from your triple stacked burger, the sound of the ice in the cocktail shaker, or the sweet hit of a mini marshmallow from the top of your hot chocolate, your senses are in for a treat. 

And that’s saying nothing of the brilliant people and lively atmosphere that’s created through great food, excellent service and uproarious laughter.

Find out more about Tango, Durham.

Ready to eat your way around Durham? View our range of Durham properties to start planning your perfect staycation.

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