10 Cheap Student Eats In Durham

Nell Lewis

Durham has multiple charming, independent cafes and restaurants dotted throughout the city. For all those freshers just starting up in the northern hub, here is our guide to 10 cheap and cheerful local joints.
Flat white and tiffin | © Flat White Durham

1. Flat White

Cafe, Coffee Shop, European, Tea

Pancakes at Saddlers
© Saddlers Durham
This local and independent cafe oozes trendiness with its bicycle sign, distressed floorboards, and its crowded interior with a mismatch jumble of tables and chairs. However, its image is not the only reason behind its considerable popularity. Every day brings coffee straight from the Newcastle roastery, and fresh scones, cakes and sandwiches – think salami, rocket and cream cheese bagels, or wensleydale and mango chutney sarnies. This laid-back venue is busy year round, as its customers spill out onto its courtyard tables where cushions and blankets are provided for the crispy Northern chill.

2. The Claypath Deli

Cafe, Deli, Market, European, Vegetarian

This small independent cafe, at the top of the Claypath hill, offers the most inventive breakfast and lunch food, with the highest quality ingredients. There is a large garden at the back in which they grow as much of their own fruit and vegetables as possible. They also have a fantastic range of cheeses and chutneys from Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland. For breakfast think homemade muesli or banana French toast, and for lunch tuck in to deli platters, grilled halloumi, or the New Yorker sandwich with pastrami and pickle. Definitely the most creative light food Durham has to offer, and well worth the steep walk uphill. Durham Market Place | © Trilobite/WikiCommons

3. The Dun Cow Inn

Pub, Pub Grub

Nudo Sushi Box
© Nudo Sushi Box
Though perhaps not the most gourmet option, the Dun Cow does the job. Located on Old Elvet its timbered black and white building dates back to the 16th century. It is a snug little pub with good ale and simple food. Grab yourself a bowl of chilli or one of their baps: we recommend the roast beef and horseradish or the cheddar and mango chutney in particular. This is the main haunt of the hockey team, so perhaps avoid going here on game days if you want a quiet pint.

4. Nudo Sushi Box

Restaurant, Japanese

Sweet potato and butternut squash soup
© Velvet Elvis
Nudo is a chain restaurant worth a mention. It’s founded on the idea that the North of England was lacking in good quality high-street sushi. Durham certainly was and Nudo’s freshly prepared and affordable sashimi, futomaki and nigri boxes have been a welcome addition. On one of those miserable library days treat yourself to a Nudo sushi box.

5. Velvet Elvis

Cafe, British

Vegan Falafel Plate
© Jennifer/Flickr
Velvet Elvis is a vintage clothes shop and quirky cafe. Located on Framwelgate Bridge the cafe has great views of the River Wear and the cathedral behind. Once you’re done browsing the clothing collection, take a trip upstairs: it’s like walking in to a living room but with far better food on offer. There promises to be a great selection of bagels, mezze platters, and milkshakes of many flavours (including oreo). A true student haunt, and it even hosts Free Cinema Thursdays and Sundays, in which there are 25 free seats and a menu of drinks, popcorn and hot dogs.

6. Nadon Thai

Restaurant, Thai

If you’re in search for some fresh and flavoursome Thai food, head to Crossgate, where Nadon Thai awaits. It is completely unpretentious with charming staff and reasonably priced authentic dishes. The classic pad thai is a crowd pleaser but if feeling slightly more adventurous, try the weeping tiger sizzling plate, with thinly sliced sirloin steak in a spicy sauce. Nadon Thai is a real treat and it’s definitely worth splashing out on all courses: it’s a good place for lunch when your parents are up for a visit.

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