San Marco

47 North Bailey Durham DH1 3ET

We'll be honest. When we were told about San Marco, a Lebanese-Italian restaurant in the centre of Durham, our first thoughts were "Lebanese? Italian? Why?" The answer, it turns out, is why not? Mixing and matching Mediterranean cuisine for a studenty crowd, the biggest part of the menu is devoted to Lebanese-style mezze, lamb and chicken grills, shawarma wraps, veg-heavy stews and the like, and it's all very hearty and warming. Pizza and pasta is as imagined by the Lebanese guys in the open kitchen at the back of the restaurant, so it's spirited if not wholly authentic. But here's the thing: there's a huge buzz when the place is full, prices are really good, and the staff bustle around in a slightly chaotic, very Mediterranean way, making sure everyone has a good time. The house red is gluggable in the extreme, and also a bargain, but if the spirit takes you, ask after the heady Lebanese red, at twice the price and twice the kick.

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