A food city

If you thought you’d be living on Pot Noodles and beans on toast while you’re at NTU, you might be in for a surprise. Nottingham is a culinary hotspot, with reputedly more places to eat and drink per square mile than any other city in Europe. There’s no wonder Nottingham earned itself a place on Thinkmoney’s Top Universities For Foodies list in 2014.

Welcome to Noshingham

Nottingham recently earned itself a place on Thinkmoney’s ‘Top Universities For Foodies’ rankings.

Whether you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful bite, a cracking curry, or a Michelin-starred fine dining experience, Nottingham’s got you covered. It’s stuffed with great restaurants, cafés and bars, offering something for all tastes, and every occasion.

We can’t possibly cover all the great food and drink that this up-and-coming foodie city has put on a plate for us. But we can feast our eyes on some of the highlights…

Angel Row

Close to home

Good news if you’re based at our City Campus – with both the Victoria Shopping Centre’s new Clocktower dining area and the Cornerhouse’s leisure complex just a stone’s throw away, you’ll never be short of great places to grab a drink or a bite.

What do you fancy? Thai at Thaikhun, tacos at Chiquito, a dish of ramen at Wagamama, a curry at Tamatanga, or maybe a Caribbean cocktail at Turtle Bay? Whatever you’re hungry for, there’s something nearby. And don’t forget to ask if there’s a student discount – you won’t always see it clearly advertised.

Don’t forget to ask if there’s a student discount. You won’t always see it clearly advertised.

Other nearby options include King Street and Queen Street, where new restaurants are opening their doors all the time. Popular choices here include George’s fish and chip kitchen, voted best new venue in Nottingham in 2015, and the finger-licking Red’s Barbecue.

If you’re studying at our Clifton Campus, several nearby pubs and restaurants serve decent grub, including The Peacock Inn and the Ferry Inn in Wilford. And for when a plain old fashioned burger craving strikes, there’s a drive-through McDonald’s and KFC on Clifton Lane. Studying in Brackenhurst? Treat yourself to a Sunday roast at the famous Saracens Head pub - a perennial student favourite.

4550 Miles From Delhi
4550 Miles From Delhi

Flavours of the world

One way that Nottingham celebrates its ethnic diversity is through its international restaurants – there’s an incredible array, and it’s growing all the time!

Maid Marian Way is Nottingham’s answer to the Curry Mile. Student favourites include Cumin, Tuk Tuk, Bombay Delight, 4550 Miles From Delhi, and the award-winning MemSaab.

Slip down a nearby side street and you’ll find newcomer Zaap for good value authentic Thai street food. Or pop down the road to Lebanese-Moroccan restaurant Marrakesh, or Las Iguanas for a taste of Latin America.

If you get a craving for Chinese food on a night out in Hockley, you couldn’t do better than Shanghai Shanghai. Top food critic Giles Coren had this to say about the food there: “Without question the best Sichuan cooking I have had outside China.” (quoted in the Nottingham Post)

Just around the corner, Yamas mezze and tapas is another budget gem worth a visit. As is Warsaw Diner, Canning Circus, best described as an American-style breakfast bar with a Polish twist.

Hidden gems

Some say that many of Nottingham’s best eats and drinks are hidden away down side streets and cobbled lanes, and they may well have a point.

So where do you go if you fancy getting off the beaten track? A good place to start is the Lace Market area. Once famous for being a world leader in lace making, today it’s teeming with hip and popular places to eat and drink. Try:

  • tapas at Baresca or Iberico World Tapas
  • Texas BBQ at Rub
  • authentic American burgers at popular Annie’s Burger Shack
  • a drink or two and a bar snack at the impressive church-conversion Pitcher and Piano.

Move over to neighbouring Hockley and you’re in Nottingham’s youthful, bohemian quarter. With its trendy bars, restaurants and clothes shops, there’s little wonder it’s been described as ‘the Soho of Nottingham’. Highlights include the great British food at the Larder on Goosegate, cheap eats at European-style café-bar Jam Café, and Boilermaker, a fun and laid-back bar.

For a quick trip to France between lectures, there’s great value bistrot Petit Paris, and Aubrey’s Traditional Creperie, both tucked away in unassuming alleyways. And if Middle Eastern-inspired food in an old shipping container appeals, award-winning Kiosk in student area Sherwood is worth a visit, too.

But don’t just take our word for it. Go on your own culinary journey of discovery around Nottingham and find your own foodie gems!

Lee Rosy's
Lee Rosy's

Cafés and tea shops

Afternoon tea, anyone? Just because you’re a student, doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate a nice pot of tea, and there are plenty of classy places to do that in Nottingham:

  • Lee Rosy’s in Hockley, offering a wide range of artisan teas.
  • The White Rabbit Teahouse – the perfect place for tea for two.
  • Homemade, an independent café and sweet-treat haven.
  • 200 Degrees, just off the Old Market Square. Voted best café for working in and second best café in the whole of the UK in 2015, it roasts its own coffee beans. And if you’ve always wanted to know how to pour the perfect espresso, you’re in luck, because it even has a Barista school.
My favourite tea house – Lee Rosy's Tea on Broad Street. It serves proper tea with tea leaves, and it's just lovely!

Ashleigh, BSc (Hons) Physics

Takeaways, food trucks and quick bites

Nottingham’s also got plenty to tempt you with if you’re feeling peckish after a night out. The lower part of Shakespeare Street, and around the corner on Mansfield Road, just a few minutes’ walk from our City Campus, offer plenty of cheap and cheerful options. And for those times when you’d prefer to order in with your mates, using an online takeaway ordering service like Just Eat, Deliveroo or Hungryhouse could be the way to go.

Also worth a mention – the fish and chip shop ‘the Cod’s Scallops’ in Wollaton was named third best chippie in the country in 2016. It’s a bus trip out of the city but worth it!

Got a craving for something sweet for dessert? Walk down to the Old Market Square and snatch up a coffee and doughnut deal from Doughnotts before they all sell out. You’ll find their doughnuts impossible to resist once you’ve tried them.

For a more substantial meal-on-the-go, food truck Thai2Go’s (opposite Wilkos!) freshly stir-fried fayre won’t disappoint. Same goes for Robin Hood’s jacket potatoes, usually parked at the corner of Long Row and Clumber Street. As many toppings as you like for around £3 – you can’t complain at that.

Did you know?

A Nottingham shop keeper, Frederick Gibson Garton, invented the recipe for HP sauce in 1896.

Vegetarian or vegan?

There’s plenty on offer for you, too.

A firm city centre favourite is Alley Café Bar, a vegan hangout with a relaxed and friendly vibe – and amazing breakfast rolls! And yes, it is down an alleyway.

The fresh and powerful Middle Eastern flavours of popular veggie restaurant Café Roya in Beeston are also a sure winner – perhaps reflected by the fact that only 20% of the customers are actually vegetarians. As is cosy eaterie The Bluebird Café in Sherwood which serves delicious vegetarian, vegan and gluten free food. Apparently, the chickpea and almond curry is to die for!

Also, don’t miss Crocus Café in bustling student area Lenton – it’s a volunteer-run community café serving organic, fairtrade and locally-sourced vegetarian food. You don’t have to miss out at Annie’s Burger Shack, either – there’s a vegetarian or vegan option for every burger on the menu.

Christmas market

Seasonal stalls

Keep a look out for seasonal festivals and events in the Old Market Square. They happen regularly and when they do there’s delicious food to tickle your taste buds everywhere you turn. A roast pork and stuffing cob, goose fat roast potatoes, or an ostrich burger, anyone? Nottingham loves its markets, and the Christmas one’s particularly delicious.

Something fancy – the high-end highlights

We know you’ll be mostly on the lookout for cheap eats, but there might be the odd occasion when you want to treat yourself i.e. when the parents are picking up the tab!

Some top spots are The Larder on Goosegate, Harts, and World Service. Or if you really want to splash out, you can try such delights as scallops with tomato and strawberry and 62 degree cooked duck egg at one of the best restaurants in the country –  the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Sat Bains.

We wish we could mention everything, but don't miss...

  • The classic cocktails and blues nights at Tilt bar.
  • Pizza and ping pong (yes, really) in German-themed bar Das Kino. Keep an eye out for their special offers.
  • Afternoon tea with a cocktail at the quirky Parlour, in West Bridgford – a stone’s throw from our Clifton Campus.
  • A Sunday roast to rival your mum’s, at the Sir John Borlase Warren pub, Canning Circus. Alternatively, you might want to venture out to The Larwood & Voce pub in West Bridgford for – literally – the best roast in the country (2015). Based at Brackenhurst? The famous Saracen’s Head in Southwell is a perennial Sunday favourite.
  • Breakfast at Annie’s Burger Shack. Annie’s burgers are no longer Nottingham’s best kept secret, so the breakfast probably won’t be for much longer, either. You might have to wait for a table, but it’s well worth it.
  • Literally anything from Shanghai Shanghai in Hockley. It serves authentic Sichuan food, as good as anything you’d find in China (or so we’re reliably informed).
  • Brunch at Jamcafe, also in Hockley. Posh croque monsieurs and baked camembert on sourdough toast, anyone?
  • A cheap and cheerful lunch at Yamas Meze and Tapas. Only £6.95 for 3 plates? Pass us an ouzo!
  • Gastropub grub with a side of regular Tuesday night live music at The Malt Cross – a fabulous restored Victorian music hall, and the only one outside of London.
  • Cocktails at the Bohemian and achingly cool Hockley Arts Club.

A food city

Published on 26 September 2017

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