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A student’s food and drink guide to Durham


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Durham’s hilly, cobbled streets are scattered with an astonishing diversity of cuisines, cafés and bars. This guide aims to help you navigate your way through the best flavours this northern city has to offer.

Riverview Kitchen

Despite only opening in March of this year, Riverview Kitchen has already become a staple brunch spot for the most café-savvy Durham students.

When asked about the inspiration behind this new business venture, owners Rob and Louise say that they wanted to “provide a good independent café with freshly prepared homemade food and cakes”. They aim to offer a friendly, personal service where everyone is welcome – including dogs.

If you’re lucky enough to score a window seat, then you can enjoy your pancakes against the backdrop of the River Wear.

Image: Harriet Willis


With mismatched furniture and unrelenting potted plants, Cafédral has managed to perfectly execute a chic yet homely charm.

Although I am admittedly partial to this place’s relaxed vibes and dreamy décor, I’d choose this café for its choice of hot drinks alone – there is no better way to receive your daily caffeine fix than from a caramel latte or a honeycomb mocha. There are also vegan and gluten-free options on the menu too.

Image: Harriet Willis


Although hummus has recently become a necessity in our diet, Lebanese cuisine can still be tricky to find in UK high street restaurants. But, here, not only can you find a wide array of authentic Lebanese dishes on the menu, the standard and quality of food at Lebaneat is incredibly high.

If you aren’t sure which dish to try first, Lebaneat themselves recommend their “famous Shawarma chicken that is guaranteed to be your best friend”. If you’re worried about budget, then it’s worth eating here at lunch time, when there is a reasonably priced set menu on offer.

There’s also a second Lebaneat restaurant in Durham, The Wrap House, where you can bring your own alcohol to drink for £3 per person.


La Spaghettata

Affectionately re-named “Spags” by students, this is Durham’s interpretation of Little Italy – albeit encapsulated in solely one restaurant.

The rustic charm of the candles on each of the red gingham table cloths is sufficient to make you forget the fluorescent lights of the university library. It’s also the place to visit if you have ever wanted to try a spaghetti-topped pizza. (It’s much better than it sounds.)

If you don’t want your evening to end too soon, then you can head directly up the stairs to Fabio’s bar and nightclub.

Image: Harriet Willis

Old Tom’s Gin Bar

With a menu length rivaling the longest of books, it’d be more than a challenge to attempt to sample every gin this bar has to offer.

All gins are served beautifully garnished, and can even be enjoyed overlooking the river in the heated outside seating area. This place also serves up cheese and meat boards, if you wanted a savoury snack to accompany your gin.

Image: Harriet Willis

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