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Newcastle Restaurant Week – Good Value?

It’s that time again! Twice a year, everyone seems to ask where we’re off for restaurant week, and the answer rarely changes – 21, Electric East, yadda yadda yadda. This year it is bigger than ever, with more than 60 restaurants taking part, and yet again, some places just “get it” more than others when it comes to the week of gluttonous offers. Make sure you check out restaurant coupons too for further savings.

What once started off as a simple “two courses for £10” deal has now evolved into a massive, twice annual phenomenon and become a little overly complicated with each venue offering a slightly different deal. Restaurants have caught on to this and the massive publicity that surrounds it, and some menus are like wedding buffet fare (pissy soup, dry chicken, bought-in cheesecake), so, is it such a good deal any more? Are some restaurants getting greedy? I checked with every single damn menu in the 60+ participating restaurants to see where was worth it. ALL FOR YOU GUYS. Trying not to comment on the quality of food, just attractiveness of offer. Personal favourites bolded. Running a restaurant presents many obstacles, such as managing accounts and suppliers. This makes using a platform as a service very useful in order to help keep in control. You can find more information by going to

caffe vivo pasta (flickr)

As You Like It (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Pretty good. It’s possible for frequent visitors or email subscribers to get 50% off vouchers now and then but otherwise AYLI main restaurant tends to be pricey.

Babucho (2 Courses £15)

No. Only until 5pm, and the regular “rapido” menu Sun-Thurs until 10pm offers 2 courses for £10.95!

Barluga (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Often on Groupon/voucher sites now, otherwise decent value vs. normal menu.

Blackfriars Restaurant (2 courses lunch £10, 3 course dinner £15)

Usually £18, so a definite winner, especially given the all round quality of the food.

Brasserie at John Lewis Newcastle (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Usually £18, so a few quid saved. There are of course, better choices which aren’t in department stores…

Broad Chare (2 Courses £10)

One of the best. An easy choice – think soup/terrine and burger/black pudding hash, and you can’t really go wrong. For those who say 21 restaurants are too expensive, there’s no excuse.

Browns Bar & Brasserie (2 Courses £10)

Usual lunch 2c £9. Early menu usually 3 courses for £20. We weren’t fans, but hey, it’s cheap enough to give it a go if you’re curious.

Cafe 21 (2 Courses £15)

Given that Mr. Laybourne is part-credited with getting this thing off the ground, you’d expect the offers to be good. They used to be! Prices have risen since the inception of restaurant week though so it’s not quite the steal it once was. This is understandable given that the running on a restaurant can be very challenging. There are so many things that they have to think about, such as Restaurant accounting. Nonetheless, you can eat off the regular prix fixe menu, and you’d save 2.50 (usually 3c £21). In such safe hands though, a great way to “try” Newcastle’s best bistro.

Cafe 21 at Fenwick (2 Courses £10)

Fixed price 2 courses usually £16 so a good saving, especially if you can’t get in the main Cafe 21.

Cafe Rouge (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

It’s cheap. Though as with most chains like this, there are offers to be hand year round if you’re patient/dedicated.

Cafe Royal (Afternoon tea for 2 for £15)

Usually £20, and one of the better aft. tea picks here.

Caffe Vivo (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Usually our choice for restaurant week (tip: book early!). Always great food, and you’ll end up spending more than the sticker price, but you won’t mind one bit, as it’s all so good.

Coast to Coast (2 Courses £15)

It’s the Gate. If you can’t find two courses for £15 in The gate on a regular Wednesday, you aren’t looking hard enough. Admittedly, have not been before.

gusto bruschetta (flickr)

County Hotel (3 Courses £15)

Not been before. And have not seen a regular menu/none online so can’t compare?

Dabbawal (2 Courses £15)

Another good one, given the included sundries on the side. If you’ve never been, now’s your time to shine. Used to be £10 a year ago though.

Dacantus (3 Courses £15)

Fairly new on the block, so truly in the spirit of RW, a good time to give it a go without spending too much money. “Pub food” at a very reasonable price.

El Coto (3 Tapas & Glass of Wine £15)

Heard mixed reports which have put us off going here, and the main tapas menu items are mostly under a fiver anyway. See also, El Torero.

Electric East (4 Asian Tapas £10)

One of the best. Typically 3 for £11, so a big saving. Absolutely the best way to dip into what EE offers. Take some mates and try a bit of everything.

Fat Buddha Bar & Asian Restaurant (£10 & £15 Offer)

FB can be expensive a la carte, but they run a daily £13 menu. Go figure.

Fitzgeralds (2 courses £10)

Haven’t been to this pub since it’s SJF refurb, but the menu looks OK for “pub food”, and you’re saving >£5.

Fujiyama (3 Courses £15)

A la carte – reasonably pricey. Set menus and early birds are available, so depends how keen you are to see what Fujiyama offers.

Garden Kitchen (£10 & £15 Offer)

Doing something a bit different. Breakfast for 2 for a tenner, or £15 for the garden picnic which is usually ~£19. Worth a go, especially if everywhere else is full except for Weekend lunch time!

Gusto (Main & Drink £10)

Gusto offer 50% off the main menu in January anyway, so you should be able to get a similar bill.

Hei Hei (2 Course Banquet £15)

Hei Hei offer a superb value lunch/pre-theatre, which is substantially less than this. Disappointing, though the RW menu may be of higher quality.

Hotel Du Vin & Bistro (2 Courses £15)

This’ll be a rare chance to try a set menu, so a canny deal given that mains are about £15 anyway. See also, Malmaison.

Johann’s (Afternoon Tea for 2 £10)

It’s in John Lewis. But cheaper than normal if you really want to try it and don’t fancy it anywhere else in town. Or out shopping?

La Tasca, Quayside (Starter & Tapas £10)

Sign up for the loyalty card to save even more. Menu just says “a selection of tapas”, so take lucky dip. See also: La Vina – 3 tapas for a tenner (available most weeks anyway). Update: now offering 50% off all month (See NE1 site).

Las Iguanas (Starter, Main & Drink £10)

Good value! Yeah, it’s one of the Grey Street copy&paste jobs, but surely worth a tenner.

Little Saigon (2 courses £10/set menu £15)

Not a bad offer, especially in it’s £15 guise.

Mamak Corner (2 Courses £10)

Mains usually about £9. Very new restaurant on Stowell St. so worth a shot for that alone.

bridge tavern toastie (flickr)

Mannaza Korean Grill House (2 Courses & Drink £10 3 Courses & Drink £15)

I can’t help but think that anywhere including a drink gets the thumbs up (even if it is “one fizzy drink” here). Set menus available normally for around the same price.

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill (2 Courses £15)

Usually pricey to dine here, given that the man himself is watching and all that, so it’s a fairer price. Alas, there is no steak to be had.

Update: aaaaand, I just received a 50% off everything in January email.

Marco Polo (2 Courses £15)

It’s a bit soup/pizza/pasta but a good price for one of the best Italians around nonetheless. We love the usual lunch menu for about £8 though.

Nectar (2 Courses & Drink £15)

No menu up yet but seems stingy as it’s usually reasonably priced anyway.

No 28 (2 Courses & Drink £15)

Really decent menu, but these guys often have deals running most weeks if you are desperate to try them.

Northside Diner at Fenwick (2 Burgers & 2 Drinks £10)

Haven’t had the burgers from here, but you can’t go wrong for a tenner for two, surely?

Oak Newcastle (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Another frequent Groupon customer – pick your times/days right and you should be able to pay the same.

Osaka Newcastle (One Course & Drink £10)

Kinda like the lunch/early menu. You just know you’ll end up getting more than one course…

Pan Haggerty (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Saving £3-5 on the exact same menu they usually offer for early bird. Always busy, and quality.

Paradiso (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

A shade cheaper than their daily set menu, though that has better choices on it. Meh.

Piccolino (3 Courses £15)

The more I see 3c/£15 the more I am thinking that is just how much a decent set menu should be 24/7! Canny menu here, saving yourself a good fiver, at least.

Pitcher and Piano (£10 Burger & Drink)

Not the greatest burgers, but still some of the best views in town, and with pricey-ish drinks usually, so you’ll save a few quid here.

Popolo, Bar, Lounge & Kitchen (2 Courses £10)

A shade cheaper than the usual menu. Come here primarily for drinks though?

Prima Ristorante (2 Courses £10)

Not great value – you can get cheap food here, any day or night.

Quay 7 Restaurant, Copthorne Hotel (2c £15)

No option for starters? Saving yourself about a fiver.

Rasoi (4 courses £15)

Always been the inexplicably expensive Indian, so, not bad value, all things considered. Have not been since it was Thali so can’t comment on the food.

Sabatini Ristorante (2 Courses £15)

Happy hour menu usually available, though at least the menu strays from the pizza/pasta standards.

Sachins (2 Courses £15)

It’s easy to spend a lot in Sachins, so here’s the better alternative to trying the food from Fenwick food hall. LUNCH ONLY 🙁

treacle tart (midnight meat train) (flickr)

Salsa Cafe (2 Courses £10)

They do four tapas every day for less than a tenner. Or two + start/dessert here for a tenner…

Silk Room (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Save yourself a fiver+ on the regular menu.

St Sushi (2 Courses £10, 3 Courses £15)

Great value and a varied menu.

The Bridge Tavern (2 Courses £10)

A good pick. Making waves on the quayside since opening, they’ve put on a canny sounding menu.

The Herb Garden (2 Courses £10)

Another great way to try a newcomer for a low buy in. Their lunch time offer of pizza and prosecco for a tenner is pretty comparative/tempting though.

The Living Room (Main Course & Cocktail £10)

Another of the Grey St. chains, though again, doing it with a drink means you could theoretically go out and spend £20, which I bet a lot of people are trying to do, and failing.

The Lock And Key Restaurant (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Mains less than a tenner. I’ll come clean and say I know nothing about here. So is RW enough incentive to get me to dive down there immediately? No – participating places should at least have to have a website online, or something…? Update: currently on LivingSocial…

The Sausage Emporium (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

New kid on the block, so truly the purpose of restaurant week is to go out and try fresh places like this at a reasonable price. Go for it!

The Stand (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Usually £18. Good call.

The Town Wall (2 Courses £10)

Worth a look. A main course is probably a tenner anyway. Theme here seems to be “get the approximate price of a starter free”.

The Vermont Hotel (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

“8oz Rump Steak, Dauphinoise Potatoes and Spinach (£8.95 supplement)”? DO NOT LIKE – supplements piss me right off, defeating the point of a FIXED PRICE. Reasonably priced vs. usual a la carte though.

The Waterline (2 Courses £10 3 Courses £15)

Canny. Next best they offer is a daily pizza&beer for a tenner. So again, a free starter or dessert.

Tiger Tiger (2 Courses & 1/2 Bottle Wine £15)

Tiger Tiger food can be had very inexpensively usually, with plenty of offers & vouchers etc, though the addition of a bottle of wine for 2 makes it kinda attractive. If you want to eat at Tiger Tiger…

Tivoli Restaurant at Fenwick (3 Courses & Glass of Wine £15)

Getting a lot for your money, though there are more exciting options than dining in Fenwicks (See Cafe 21 Fenwick?)

Uno’s Restaurant (2 Courses & Glass of Wine £10)

It’s pizza/pasta only! Does include wine, though I’m sure they offer cheapy specials nearly every day. Pass.

Vujon (2 courses £15)

Cracking deal. Includes bread and rice and things, so potential savings are high here. Usually of a high standard, though honestly, our poppadums were soggy last year *shakes fist*

Whew, so have a great week eating! It might end up costing more than a tenner per night, but enjoy it, because it’s (mostly) as cheap as you’re gonna get, and the more we support it, the more great schemes will come out of the organisers, NE1. The quality of restaurants is slowly creeping up in the toon, and the more different places people try, the better educated/tolerant they will be about where they like, and where is worth their hard-earned pennies. If you”re using RW as a vehicle to try somewhere new – please do give the independents of Newcastle a try, rather than the Brown’s et al, which you will find on any high street across the UK.

Book early on (now) in order to get those Friday/Saturday tables, and if you can’t get where you fancy, keep trying. People seem to make reservations willy nilly and then change their mind mores than normal during this week. Have a gander at the other great schemes which NE1 drive forward while you’re online.

27 Jan – 2 Feb 2014. Next one is usually late August. Disclaimer: these offers change at the drop of a hat sometimes, so be aware.

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