We’ve used this opportunity to take you off the beaten track to some of Barnsley’s gastronomic hidden gems. First and foremost, it’s because the food is always brilliant, but secondly it’s because places like snooker halls, backstreet trattorias, and garden centres aren’t where you’d expect to find exceptional eating. We’ve thrown some more conventional culinary options in too if you want to play it safe, including gastropubs, bistros and curry houses.
Places to eat in Barnsley
When it comes to restaurants in Barnsley, we’ve got a fair few to tell you about. It all depends on what kind of cuisine you’re craving. We’ll get things started with one even the locals might not know about. It’s called The Secret Italian, and the name pretty much gives the game away. It’s a tiny trattoria hidden down the bottom of McLintock Way, barely a five-minute walk from our Barnsley Central M1 J37 hotel. When we say tiny, we mean it; The Secret Italian only seats ten people, so getting a table requires you to book a long, long time in advance. However, it’s worth the wait. Claudia, the chef, is an absolute maestro; the food is fresh, authentic and you’ll struggle to find a better tiramisu this side of Treviso. If you’re lucky enough to get a table during your stay, don’t forget to bring along your own wine.
You may have expected us to uncover some hidden gems, but I bet you didn’t think we’d point you in the direction of a snooker hall for an evening’s dinner. That’s right, Bistro @ The Pocket has set up shop at The Corner Pocket snooker club in Hoyle Mill, which is owned by 1986 world snooker champion Joe Johnson. Joe’s son, Johnny, is a pro of a different kind of pot; he’s the chef and plates up some absolutely delicious dinners. The menu isn’t the most creative in the world, but it’s some of the best eating in the area. The beef wellington is one of the best we’ve ever had, the fish and chips are fantastic, and while the Barnsley Chop may sound like Mick McCarthy’s nickname for a naughty tackle, we assure you it’s even tastier than that.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Barnsley town centre, then Passion Good Cafe & Restaurant should be right up there at the top of your list. It’s a fabulous little eatery where the food’s plated to perfection, and the taste’s there to match, too. Plus, prices are much more reasonable than you might expect. It’s open every day bar Sunday for breakfast and lunch, while on Fridays and Saturdays they concoct an ever evolving dinner menu that’ll tantalise your taste buds, but you do need to book in advance.
Alternatively, if you don’t mind making a trip into the countryside, The Strafford Arms is an exceptional inn a couple of miles away from the town centre, no more than a fifteen-minute drive from either of our Barnsley hotels. The trips well worth it, you’ll find a great gastropub menu full of hearty British classics, we’d particularly heading down on a Sunday for one of the best roasts in Barnsley.
We’ll round off our restaurant recommendations with a speedy sum up of some specialists. If you’re craving a curry, make your way to the Tandoori Hut on Wakefield Road. It offers a huge selection of curries, the portions are huge, prices are good, and the naans are so big you’re not far off being able to rock up in your pyjamas and call it a Peshwari sleeping bag.
If you like Turkish cuisine, you’ll love Pasha. It’s got a great location on Market Street right in the heart of town. The food’s incredibly flavoursome, service is excellent, prices too; we really can’t fault the place.
Last of all, Favela is a Brazilian rodizio restaurant, so the meat is cooked on skewers and brought straight to your table. You can stay for as long as you like and the price is the same for everyone. You’re given a token that’s green on one side, red on the other, to show whether or not you have room to carry on eating. When the meat’s this good and tender, restraint isn’t really an option so bring stretchy clothing, a hefty dose of courage and gorge on over a dozen gorgeous cuts of meat.
Cafés in Barnsley
If you’re planning a day trip to Cannon Hall, one of the top activities in Barnsley, and you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat, make your way to the Cannon Hall Garden Centre, where you’ll find Thyme Bistro. The food’s good, fresh and locally sourced. The full English is one of the best in Barnsley, the braised beef jacket potato is absolutely melt-in-your-mouth magnificent, and the salads are sublime, too. Throw in the more than reasonable prices, a delicious cake selection, and a quality brew and it’s really no wonder that Thyme Bistro is so popular.
Moving into the town centre, Aroma Café Bar is in The Victorian Arcade. If you’re struggling to find somewhere with a good gluten-free menu, then your search is over; at Aroma the chef has concocted more than 20 gluten-free dishes and is always happy to talk to any customer about what kind of meal they may want. The rest of the menu offers excellent eating right the way through the day too, so come for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner, and you won’t be disappointed. Alternatively, if you’re just looking for somewhere to grab a brew and a slice of cake then make your way a couple of doors down to The Victorian Tea Rooms, which is another excellent option.
Last of all, if you’re staying at our Barnsley (Dearne Valley) hotel, less than a five-minute drive away, The Bolthole Café is a brilliant café for cakes, paninis, jacket potatoes, and last time we checked they did a full English for less than a fiver.