In a city as diverse as Cambridge, it seems only natural that one is spoiled for choice when it comes to food. Boasting everything from elegant restaurants to fresh arty venues and local, family-run haunts; Cambridge has something for everyone. From student eats to extravagant meals, these ten restaurants represent the best of Cambridge dining.
As you walk the cobbled streets of Cambridge, admiring the spires of Gonville and Caius, you may miss this tucked-away gem; but it’s a real delight to find. The menus at Michaelhouse Café change daily and with an ethos of making simple food perfectly, the meals are fresh, tasty and reasonably priced. The menus feature mouth-watering cooked breakfasts, as well as delicious lunches which regularly boast a selection of the cafe’s famous quiches and casseroles. Aside from the undeniably lovely food, the Michaelhouse Café is wonderful for its setting. If you can grab one of the upstairs sofas, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a tea and scone with its airy, open feel and interesting collection of books and paintings.
As an independent cafe, Stickybeaks has got a reputation in the city for providing delicious, picture-perfect food that looks as if it has jumped right out of a recipe book. A hive of making and baking, the kitchen is open-plan and has a feel of crisp summer about it. The cafe has got a worn and lived-in look and is always busy and buzzing, especially on Sundays when brunch is served. But what really gets people talking are the cakes: the chunky chewiness of the rocky road and the nostalgic taste of the oat strudel slice demonstrate why this modern, minimalist cafe is renowned for its sweet treats. Served alongside a big cup of tea, this is a perfect stop for a break from shopping. If you are looking for something more substantial, then look no further than the lunch menu. Although it changes daily, you may see beef bourguignon, smoked mackerel and pea frittata, a puy lentil lasagne or a leeks and cream cheese salmon en croute.
If you fancy a break from the multitude of shops in The Grand Arcade, step outside onto the main street for a cheap and cheerful Italian. In a prime location, Café Milano is often over-looked by shoppers but it is definitely worth taking the time to go in. With a surprisingly wide-ranging menu, guests are spoiled for choice. From ham and brie paninis, to goat cheese salads, and traditional pizzas, Milano is sure to satisfy your appetite. For a quick meal at a very good price and with generous portions this is a great place to put your feet up amidst shopping and sightseeing.
This independent Sicilian café has made a massive impact on the city. Based in the city centre, a short walk from Kings College, Aromi is rather small with a few tables available on the ground floor and downstairs and it makes for a real Italian experience. Cosy and stylish tables are contrasted with modern art on the shelves, which is available to purchase. You can see the dough being prepared and cooked at the shop window, and the staff are really friendly, which adds to the homely atmosphere. Fresh and fragrant food at relatively cheap prices means that it is often very busy, and you may have to queue for a while at the counter (which also serves the take-away food). Choose from a delicious range of fresh handmade pizza slices (one portion is two slices and you can mix and match toppings) before moving on to the Sicilian profiteroles. You may have to wait, but it is certainly worth it; even Cambridge Food Society openly praise the establishment.
This bakery-cafe is famous for its giant, sticky Chelsea buns. And rightly so: syrupy, swirls of dried fruit, cinnamon and sweetness are a staple for any visitor to this cafe, which is situated at the busy crossing outside the gorgeous Pembroke College. But Fitzbillies is much more than that. Not only a restaurant serving high-quality food such as egg and bacon pie, confit duck, flagelot soup, and potted venison with crab apple and rosehip jelly; there is also a counter-service corner coffee bar, with an expansive range of cakes range and teas. You’ll have to be quick to get a table as Fitzbillies is often completely packed during the day, not surprising considering the vintage shop front and exquisite detailing in both food and furniture.
A bit pricier than other establishments in Cambridge, this restaurant is definitely worth the money. A sister of CCH produces classic British dishes, has Cambridge real ale from the cask, and is a perfect place for an up-market meal. It sits at the heart of the city centre, 50 yards from Kings College Chapel and only a short distance from the Arts Theatre. The ground floor has wide windows, providing unrivalled views of Kings Parade and Kings Chapel. The speciality here is the meat, and to aid you in your choice are the friendly and attentive hosts who are very knowledgeable and passionate about meat. Steaks are cooked to request, and the pig fritter starter is divine. The wine menu is expansive, and the desert menu tantalising, if you can find space after the generous main course, that is.
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