Skip to content
Home » Dine » Best Durham Restaurants

Best Restaurants in Durham July 2024 – Amazing Places to Eat in Durham City

Durham comes packed with dozens of great places to eat. From fine dining to boutique coffee shops, the city’s food scene is rapidly growing. We wanted to showcase the best restaurants in Durham for 2024 and highlight what this amazing city has to offer. 

Budget is the main driving force when it comes to what to eat, so we’ve been able to include your cheap eats right up to your celebratory meals. Durham has its fair share of places to avoid, so use this guide to see the restaurants you must try.


Sign up to the Durham Daily newsletter, and we will send you a FREE 30-page guide to Durham City, including where to eat, drink, park, stay and things to do. More info.

Top 3 Restaurants in Durham for July 2024

In a rush? Below, I’ve listed a quick overview of my best recommendations for places to eat in Durham for July 2024

  • Coarse – Fine dining at an affordable price. Amazing food, incredible wine menu, and great service. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
  • Barrio Comida – An authentic taste of Mexico. THE best tacos in the game with a great cocktail menu. Ideal for family-friendly places to eat in Durham. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Rabbit Hole – Asian fusion in one of the coolest settings. A great date spot or a catch-up over lunch with friends. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Best Restaurants in Durham – Map

Use the map below to see where the best restaurants in Durham are located. By clicking on each number, you can see the exact location of what we think are some of the best places to eat in Durham.

Best Restaurants By Category

Use the links below to jump to a review of each of the restaurants that we’ve tried in Durham City.

Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Durham

If you’re after a bit of a treat, there is no better place than some luxury fine-dining cuisine. The Durham restaurants we’ve listed below are a little more expensive than your usual haunts, but the quality is some of the best in the city.

Coarse – Reform Place, North Road

Coarse opened its doors in 2022 and is spearheading the drive for fine dining at an affordable price. It’s a seasonally set menu that changes every month or so, and we love the fact that the produce is fresh and incredibly tasty.

The interior is a simple, chic place to relax and enjoy some of the best culinary delights that head chef Ruari MacKay has to offer. MacKay has been a hit at other establishments throughout the county, including The Garden House and Travellers Rest in Witton Gilbert.

Prices are fixed at around £40 per person for the 6-course tasting menu. You can add the optional £30 per person wine pairing, which we highly recommend, to make this a special occasion meal.

If we had to pick just one, Coarse would likely be our vote as the best restaurant in Durham right now.


Faru – Silver Street

Faru stands out as one of the best fine-dining experiences in the city. Opened by Jake and Laura Siddle, the husband-and-wife team brings Michelin pedigree to this elegant yet unpretentious restaurant on Silver Street. With a muted, relaxed ambience and a seating capacity of only 30, Faru provides a refined but welcoming atmosphere.

The full tasting menu, priced at £98, showcases culinary artistry across nine creative courses. The diverse lineup includes dishes like savory beignet with cheese and onion, delicate crab wrapped in a thin shell, beautifully presented lobster with citrus yuzu, and a standout duck with beetroot and chicory. The desserts are equally striking, featuring rhubarb with tonka and lychee, hazelnut chocolate with banana and caramel, and a refreshing lemon curd with pineapple and kaffir lime.

Faru has quickly made a name for itself, attracting buzz for awards and a potential Michelin star. With its innovative, high-quality cuisine and warm hospitality, it’s redefining the fine dining scene in Durham, encouraging a culinary renaissance in the city.

Check out my full Faru review for more info.


Whitechurch – Church Street Head

Whitechurch is the brainchild of the delicious Flat White Kitchen, which has two locations in town. While both center around coffee, snacks, and light bites, Whitechurch has allowed the team to create one of Durham’s best restaurants and eateries.

The menu is simple and usually compact, which is no bad thing. Open from 10 am you can get their amazing Kimchi scrambled eggs that are to die for or head a little later and grab a Deli Sub, which comes with a killer French mustard and mayo sauce.

Evening meals allow for various seasonal starters, mains, and desserts. For us, the highlight is the Sunday lunch, with their legendary Yorkies and cheesecake to finish.


Bistro Citron Vert – High Pittington

When we talk about hidden gems, few fit the bill as well as Bistro Citron Vert. This family-run restaurant is located a couple of miles outside of Durham City centre but is well worth the trip.

You’re getting a taste of France and European bistro fare, but with locally sourced ingredients. Menus are small and are changed frequently (we love this!) to keep in tune with ingredients that are in season. A handful of starters, mains, and desserts, as well as a wine list to die for, while keeping to a budget of under £50/head, makes BCV another must-try.

The relaxed atmosphere and stunningly converted former Duke of Wellington pub are faultless. Owner, Cary, is on hand most nights and from the minute you walk through the door, you couldn’t feel more welcome.


The Cellar Door – Saddler Street

Hidden at the bottom of Saddler Street is The Cellar Door. It’s one of those where, if you didn’t know it was there, you would likely miss it. But mark my words, this former 13th Century cellar conversion is one of the hottest eateries in the city right now.

The menu is described as “contemporary” but it comes without the pompousness that can surround that. It’s British food, locally sourced (where possible), cooked to perfection, and with passion from an incredibly skilled team.

An A La Carte menu has been designed to tick all the boxes, without being overwhelming. Their version of Beef Wellington would give a certain Scottish chef a run for his money and don’t forget to leave room for the best dessert menu in Durham. Take the time to visit in the summer and reserve a balcony table overlooking the river.


Best Mexican Restaurants in Durham

A taste of Mexico is right at your doorstep, with the best Mexican restaurants in Durham. Think tacos, tortillas, burritos, tostadas, and of course, mezcal.

Barrio Comida – Church Street

Barrio Comida is a must-try spot in Durham. From humble beginnings on the Newcastle Quayside, the team has created a real taste of Mexico through an assortment of delicious tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.

The restaurant sits in the shadows of Durham Cathedral and provides a relaxed dining experience. As soon as you walk through the door and see the revolving tortilla machine in action, you know this is as good as you will get without a trip across the Atlantic.

We love visiting with friends, ordering a mix (usually too many!) of tacos, sinking some of the delicious cocktails, and then working our way (responsibly-ish) through the massive mezcal menu.


Tia’s – Claypath

Tia’s is a fun, family-friendly spot for eating out in Durham that serves up some amazing Mexican cuisine. The menu includes all the good things that you associate with Mexican home-cooked food, such as enchiladas’ chimichangas, chili con carne, and fajitas made to your liking.

It’s incredible value for money, but hitting up the Happy Hour available between 5pm and 7pm makes it an absolute bargain. If you’re a house of fussy eaters or if you’re looking to relax with some of the best service in Durham City, then Tia’s is the place to be.


Best Turkish Restaurants in Durham

I’ve been obsessed with Turkish food ever since visiting on holiday in 2008. Durham now boasts some of the best spots in the North East and the competition has raised the bar in terms of the overall standard of food.

Akarsu – Silver Street

Ararksu is, for us, the best restaurant in Durham for Turkish food. Located in a Grade II listed building, it would be easy to miss amongst the hustle and bustle of Silver Street, but take the time to work up the stairs and into some of the most incredible aromas from the Middle East.

The menu includes a mix of authentic kebabs, koftas, and shish and it’s one of those that takes you ages to order because everything sounds so good. The flavors, smell, service, and value for money are almost unrivaled in Durham, and it’s a place the team visits frequently, if only for a takeaway wrap at lunchtime.


Turkish Kitchen Meze and Grill – Saddler Street

Durham is quickly becoming a hotbed for Turkish cuisine, with the Turkish Kitchen on Saddler Street one of the driving forces behind this. The space is super-modern and not your typical traditional Turkish eatery, but we liked that it was different.

The former Coral bookmakers site has clearly seen huge investment and as a result, is now one of the best places to eat in Durham. You come for the specials such as kleftiko (lamb shank), Ali Nazik chicken, and beef moussaka, but you leave craving the incredible cocktails, vibrant atmosphere, and melt-in-your-mouth baklava.


Lebaneat – North Bailey Street

OK, so not Turkish, but Lebaneat is one of the biggest success stories to develop in the city for some time. It’s a place that offers authentic Lebanese food, all home cooked in a cozy Durham restaurant with a BYOB option. What’s not to love?

The food is some of the best value for money in Durham with a chicken shawarma wrap setting you back just £6.95. If you don’t feel like heading out, then Lebeneat offers a takeaway service from their “Express” store in Gilesgate, with new locations opening recently in Yarm and Sunderland.


Best Indian Restaurants in Durham

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to Indian restaurants in Durham. What’s great about the selection below is that they each offer something a little different in terms of cuisine, decor, and general dining experience.

Make sure to check out the food markets that run monthly and are one of the best free things to do in Durham.

Spice Lounge – Marketplace

The award-winning Spice Lounge (Best Asian Restaurant North East 2022) has a cult following in Durham. It’s one of those where, if you know, you know! The site is located just off the marketplace and is quite unassuming, even upon entry.

But, the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and a better curry you are hard pushed to find. The menu is vast, which can be a little overwhelming, but head to the “Specials” to get your chops around some of their signature dishes. As everything is cooked fresh, you can tailor the spice to your choice and the staff are on hand to explain just what you’re ordering.


The Capital – Claypath

When I get asked about where to eat in Durham, it’s rarely too long in my response before mentioning The Capital. It’s about as good as it gets for a curry in Durham, and it’s worth the hike up Claypath to get there.

The staff makes the experience, and not only are they exceptionally pleasant to deal with, but also highly knowledgeable. We often head in and say “What’s good today?”, even though we’ve eaten there dozens of times, and they reel off a host of options that we now trust implacably, such is the standard of food. This is without a doubt, one of the top restaurants in Durham City centre.


Holi and Bhang – The Avenue

Holi and Bhang, located on The Avenue, not far from Nevilles Cross, is not your traditional curry house, but in a really, really good way. They serve authentic Indian food from the North, East, South, and West of the country, with influences from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

This means that your standard Tikka Massala, might not come out how you expect it to. But don’t fear, as the food is absolutely superb. What accompanies this is the attention to detail from the staff, who walk you through each of the selections, describing how they will be presented and tasted. Think of Holi and Bhang as a food experience, rather than just another Indian restaurant in Durham.


Best Italian Restaurant in Durham

Who doesn’t like a good Italian? It’s a cuisine that caters to many and be it pasta, pizza, or risotto, we’ve tracked down the best Italian restaurants in Durham for 2024.

Antico – Neville’s Cross

Antico has built on the success of its sites in Jesmond, Roker, and Birtley to breathe some much-needed life into the Italian restaurant scene in the city. Its pizza and pasta are what most flock here for, with the Prosciutto Crudo pizza (Parma ham, rocket, and parmesan on a stone-baked base) being a firm favourite at Secret Durham.

However, don’t overlook the “Mains” with classic Italian dishes (“like Grandma used to make”) such as Pollo Picante, Gameroni, and Filetto di Salmone being notable highlights. They run early bird menus as well as a Sunday Lunch sitting, not just making it great value for money, but also one of the best restaurants in Durham.


Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana – Silver Street

I absolutely love Rudy’s! The atmosphere is buzzing and there’s always a good crowd, which tells you the locals know where to find great pizza. Their dough is special – perfectly chewy with those gorgeous charred bubbles from the wood-fired oven.

I usually go for a classic Margherita (boring, I know), but if I’m feeling adventurous, the Calabrese with spicy salami is a winner. Service is quick and friendly, and the prices are really reasonable for the quality. If you’re craving proper Neapolitan-style pizza in Durham, you can’t go wrong with Rudy’s.


Best Thai and Asian Restaurants in Durham

Thai and Asian food is trending in Durham. The competition is about as fierce as it gets, with some outstanding eateries to choose from. The list of the best Thai and Asian restaurants in Durham has been tough to narrow down and as a result, they are all voted as some of the best eateries in the city.

Zen – Court Lane

Contemporary Thai and Pan-Asian cuisine awaits in one of the more stunning restaurants in Durham. Zen has created a real taste of Asia, with its award-winning team, iconic leafy interior, and of course, amazing food.

The location relaxes and dials in on the epitome of the name, Zen, but your tastebuds are awoken with dish after dish of faultless food. In the summer, book a courtyard table, but for the winter nights, grab a cocktail at one of the best bars in Durham and enjoy a taste of Asia in your own backyard.


The Rabbit Hole – Hallgarth Street

The Rabit Hole is a truly stunning restaurant in Durham that serves up Asian fusion to an exceptionally high standard. The interior is based on an opulent 1920s Shanghai Super Club. They’ve clearly taken the time to create a unique dining experience and this is one of many reasons why we love to keep coming back.

You may not be surprised to hear that the site is owned by the same people who have Zen. The Lunch/Dim Sum menu is one that you need to pop in and try for small bites, but the star of the show is the evening menu when the place comes alive after dark.

The menu is much more compact than Zen, which is a good thing! The small plates are designed to start, but you could have yourself an Asian-style tapas night with plates flowing as you work through the excellent wine and cocktail menu.


Nadon Thai – Crossgate

Nadon Thai offers traditionally cooked Thai food in one of the most underrated spots in Durham… in our opinion. The food is incredible, but the service is right up there with some of the best in the city, making for a special feel within the restaurant.

The menu is of a good size. Not too big, not too little, and as all food is cooked fresh, you can choose how spicy you want it. Be warned, what we consider mild can pack a punch. Takeaway is available to pick up or via Uber Eats and there is a great “Chef’s Specials” selection, that changes frequently based on seasonal ingredients.


Where to Eat in Durham City

Below we’ve included a series of top restaurants in Durham that don’t necessarily fall under a single category. However, they are all highly rated and well worth checking out.

Restaurant 17 – Elvet Bridge

When people talk about the best restaurants in Durham City Centre, Restaurant 17 has to be in the mix. It’s one of the most underrated places to eat in Durham and given that it’s tucked under Elvert Bridge, is one that’s fairly easy to miss.

It’s hard to class places like this, but the best way I can describe it is “seasonal”. The menu is always evolving based on seasonal produce, although it’s definitely a European cuisine that they are making. The food is very good, but the wine and service are exceptional.


Final Thoughts – Best Restaurants in Durham

The food scene in Durham is low-key to those outside of the city, but hopefully, this guide will showcase the best that the city has to offer. We’ve some amazing independents popping up and the chains make for family-friendly eateries as well.

It’s hard to nail down just one spot as the best restaurant in Durham, but if we could choose two, they would be the recently Michelin-recommended Coarse and brilliant taco-friendly Barrio Comida.


Below we’ve included answers to frequently asked questions regarding the best restaurants in Durham. If you’ve anything that isn’t covered and would like to find out more, use the comment section at the bottom.

Are there any Michelin starred restaurants in Co. Durham?

Yes, The Raby Hunt in Summerhouses is the only Michelin Starred restaurant in County Durham. They currently have two stars with head chef James Close at the helm.

What restaurants are open in Durham?

Durham is home to dozens of excellent restaurants. The city is now fully open following Covid restrictions and has two sites that feature in the Michelin guide in the form of Coarse and Finbarr’s.

What is the best Italian restaurant in Durham City centre?

Antico is the best Italian restaurant in Durham city centre. The site is located at Nevilles Cross and serves home-cooked Italian food at an affordable price.

What restaurants are near the Riverwalk Odeon in Durham?

There are lots of restaurants near the Odean that include Pizza Punks, Turtle Bay, Inshanghai, and The Food Pit. Just across the river, you have access to the likes of Akarsu, Spice Lounge, and Tango.

Who owns Zen restaurant in Durham?

Zak Newton and Sam Gadd own Zen in Durham. The pair own multiple restaurants across the city including Tango and the Rabit Hole.

Where is the best place to eat in Durham?

The best place to eat in Durham right now is Coarse restaurant. The site is only new, but it’s already been featured and recommended in the Michelin Guide. It serves an affordable tasting menu and is the best food in Durham at the minute.

What food is Durham famous for?

Durham is famous for being a mosh-pit of cuisines. We are fortunate that we have access to amazing Indian, Thai, Italian, American, Chinses, Turkish, Mexican, and fine dining options. It’s a city whose food scene is very much on the rise.

What restaurants are near the Gala Theatre in Durham?

The Gala Theatre is very central, so you’re only a short walk from some of the best food spots in the city. Our recommendations are The Capitol, Akarsu, The Turkish Kitchen, Barrio Comida, and Zen.

What restaurants are near Durham Cathedral?

Durham Cathedral is very central, so you are only a short walk from lots of restaurants. The best include Barrio Comida, Lebaneat, Turkish Kitchen, and Spice Lounge.