Blackfriars Restaurant

Friars Street Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 4XN

Its location in the fabulous monks'  refectory of a thirteenth-century Dominican priory makes it one of the oldest places to eat in the UK. Not what you were expecting of Newcastle? Well, think again, because Andy and Sam Hook's devotedly British restaurant raised the bar in the city when it opened over a decade ago, and although it's now something of an institution, it's not one that rests on its laurels. Think hand-foraged mushrooms on toast to start, followed by smoked haddock and shellfish chowder, local pan haggerty or roast Yorkshire partridge. Lunch is simpler, with great-value fixed price menus; and they also serve fab banquet menus to groups in their banqueting hall, and their medieval banquet menus are something to behold. So it's a rare beast: a restaurant that is a good choice for couples and small groups but also pulls off mass-catering and big parties with aplomb. We also love the host of spin-off activities, from butchery classes and bread making sessions to 'Little Monks' kids' cookery classes. Something for everyone, in fact, thoughtfully and stylishly executed. 

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