Arabesque, based just a short distance from some of the city’s major attractions like the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, is the ideal destination for diners wanting to sample authentic Egyptian cuisine. Known for its diverse, historical influences and use of vegetables and legumes, Egyptian food is a hearty and filling, and Arabesque’s dishes – which include molokhia, a healthy and traditional Egyptian soup, and koshari, a popular risotto-style dish of rice, will not disappoint. Arabesque’s interior, full of authentic imported furnishings alongside flavoured shisha pipes and live belly dancing, add to the Egyptian dining experience.
Arabesque, 144 High Street West, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 510 1110
Asiana Fusion Restaurant
With its eclectic Asian fusion menus that span the cuisines of Thailand, Malaysia, China and Vietnam, as well as its much sought after location in the stylish, modern Echo 24 building on the banks of the River Wear, Asiana Fusion Restaurant has established a reputation as one of Sunderland’s must-try dining destinations. In its chic, contemporary dining room, guests can immerse themselves in the culinary traditions of the Far East, with appetisers like barbecued spare ribs with honey syrup sauce and aromatic crispy lamb with pancakes and Hoi Sin sauce. Entrées include beef rendang and Thai-style deep fried monkfish. Finish with Chinese-style banana fritters for dessert to complete the Asian dining experience.
Asiana Fusion Restaurant, Echo 24 Building, West Wear Street, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 510 0099
Serving an eclectic mix of English, French and Italian fare from the basement level of a Grade 2 listed building in the heart of Sunderland is D’Acqua – a stylish and ambient restaurant first opened in 2008 by head chef Jimmy Shadforth. Exposed brick archways, beautiful French oak floors and bespoke contemporary lighting complete D’Acqua’s classy dining room, while seasonal menus are brimming with tempting dishes handcrafted from fresh and locally sourced produce. D’Acqua’s current autumn-winter menu features the locally inspired dish panackelty – a casserole-like repast of corned beef, sausage, black pudding, potato, carrots and onion in a rich gravy – and classic European dishes like bruschetta, gnocchi and moules frites.
D’Acqua, 26 – 28 John Street, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 510 1585
Goa Exemplary Indian Cuisine
Another popular Sunderland-based Indian restaurant, Goa Exemplary Indian Cuisine, as its name would suggest, takes its culinary inspiration from the eastern Indian state of Goa, updated with a contemporary western twist. The restaurant has something for every curry-lover, from fiery vindaloos to cooling kormas alongside must-try dishes like the salmon manchery – a tandoori marinated, pan seared fillet of fresh salmon served with a spicy sauce of ginger, curry leaves and chilli. Finish with a traditional Indian dessert of gulab jamin – a hot syrup sponge pudding flavoured with star anise, cinnamon and pistachio – while taking in the beautiful sea views from the restaurant’s windows.
Goa Exemplary Indian Cuisine, 5 Queens Parade, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 529 2229
The Italian Kitchen
A cosy and inviting establishment offering guests an authentic taste of Italy in the heart of the North East, The Italian Kitchen is a contemporary restaurant defined by its intimate atmosphere, stylish interior and concise but well thought out menu of classic Italian dishes. Start with a simple appetiser of caprese – a refreshing salad of mozzarella and tomato with basil dressing, followed by a hearty plate of risotto agli agrumi – Arborio rice with baby and tiger prawns, fresh mint leaves and lemon and orange zest. Finish with The Italian Kitchen’s popular dessert dish, Nutella calzone.
The Italian Kitchen, Hahnemann Court, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 548 6004
Located just a short walk from Sunderland’s scenic Barnes Park, the city’s largest urban green space founded in 1909, is Juniper’s Pantry – a fine food delicatessen and café that offers afternoon tea, Sunday lunches and supper club-style evening meals. Juniper’s café menu features all-day breakfasts, hot and cold sandwiches and sharing boards, while Sunday lunches include prime cuts of meat with all the trimmings and supper club is a fancy affair with dishes like pheasant, partridge and venison pie served with potato puree seasonal greens, root vegetables and game gravy. Juniper’s Pantry also offers a number of cooking classes for budding cooks and recently opened a second branch in Sunderland’s Fulwell neighbourhood.
Juniper’s Pantry, The Barnes, 10 Silksworth Lane, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 447 3292
North-easterners are known for their love of curry and other popular dishes of the Indian subcontinent, and the Monsoon Kitchen, just outside of Sunderland city centre, is an excellent place to find out why this cuisine is regarded so highly. Opened just over a year ago in a lavishly styled space, the restaurant employs a traditional cooking method popular in Pakistan called handi, which involves cooking food in deep clay pots to ensure rich, flavoursome fare. Must-try dishes include the nawab nihari – a rich and spicy Indian stew of lamb shank slow cooked overnight – originally created as a dish for the Mughal emperors of south Asia.
Monsoon Kitchen, 1 North Bridge Street, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 514 4222
The Glass Yard, National Glass Centre
Established in 1998, The Glass Yard, National Glass Centre is a stylish, modern structure of glass and steel, and is a popular Sunderland cultural attraction, celebrating the area’s historical glass-making past. The Glass Yard, National Glass Centre is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and serves an appetising mix of traditional, regional cuisine updated with modern twists. Menu highlights include local mussels in a creamy wine sauce with chopped parsley and gastro chips and the root vegetable hot pot with wilted greens. An added bonus of the National Glass Centre Brasserie is its location on the River Wear, with guests able to take in the sights of local fisherman going to sea.
The Glass Yard, National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 515 5555
Serendipity Tea & Trinkets
An homage to the English tradition of afternoon tea, Serendipity Tea & Trinkets is a multi-award-winning tearoom, family-run deli and gift shop that became an instant hit when it first opened in early 2012. Full of vintage kitsch and retro charm, Serendipity Tea & Trinkets’ specially blended teas have locally inspired names, such as Mint Mackem and Wearside Warmer – a blend of Indian Assam black tea, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and orange peel. Deli options include breakfast and brunch dishes, hearty artisan sandwiches and home-baked sweet treats sold alongside charming trinkets like candles, greeting cards and local arts and crafts items.
Serendipity Tea & Trinkets, 10 Frederick Street, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 510 0054
The Salt House Kitchen
The Salt House Kitchen is a stylish, sea-facing restaurant with beautiful views across the picturesque Seaburn Beach, offering its guests constantly evolving menus of gourmet British gastro pub fare with hints of international flavor. Enjoy tempting dishes such as a pan fried local black pudding starter with crispy bacon, stilton and dressed watercress or the slow braised lamb shank main served on a bed of mustard mash with roasted root vegetables and red wine jus. Guests can also enjoy high tea with The Salt House Kitchen’s cake of the day before taking a relaxing stroll on the neighbouring beach.
The Salt House Kitchen, 6 Queens Parade, Sunderland, UK, +44 (0)191 529 3132