Celebrity chefs, top-class chippies, curries so good they’ll keep you up at night, countryside fine dining that ‘cuts the mustard’... and pizza; what more could you want from our pick of the best restaurants in Norwich?
Restaurants in Norwich
Grosvenor Fish Bar
Benedicts may well be the best of the bunch. Fans of BBC2's Great British Menu will recognise the chef-patron Richard Bainbridge. He won the programme in 2015, albeit at the fourth time of asking. Nevertheless, it’s no mean feat. You have to be half handy in the kitchen to claim such a lofty accolade and the fact that Bainbridge worked for Michel Roux and was the former head chef at Galton Blackiston’s Michelin-starred Morston Hall only serves to back up his credentials as a top-class chef. So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Benedicts is a seriously good restaurant.
The menu changes every few weeks and features creative dishes concocted from the finest seasonal local produce. Similarly, the wine list changes regularly but consistently yields rave reviews. The staff are friendly without being intrusive, while the restaurant itself is a lovely setting for an evening meal. It has a great location amidst the stylish shops, bars and rival eateries on St. Benedicts Street, less than five minutes’ walk from our Norwich City Centre (Duke Street) hotel.
While we’re here, we’ll point out a couple of our other favourite restaurants that also happen to be nearby. St. Benedicts Street is also home to one of the most talked about restaurants in Norfolk: B’nou. The concept is unique; there’s no menu. Over the course of your meal, you are presented with nine tapas dishes and three desserts. You’re only told what each dish is when it arrives at your table; then it’s up to you whether you want to eat it or not. You won’t be pressured into eating anything you don’t want to, but we recommend giving everything a go. Each plate is perfect for sharing and only costs around a fiver. So, say yes, enjoy your fill of truly tantalising tapas, and don’t worry too much about the bill; it won’t get too out of hand. You do have to book far in advance but all things considered, we understand why.
Can’t get a table at some of the more exclusive restaurants of St. Benedicts Street? Fear not, you can always head down St. Gregory’s Alley to the nearby Grosvenor Fish Bar as a backup. It’s been serving locals and visitors to Norfolk for over 90 years. In that time, they’ve more than mastered their craft. So much so that we wouldn’t recommend a single other chippy in Norfolk over the Grosvenor Fish Bar. Their fish is fresh and battered to perfection. There’s enough seating for 70 people in the stylish downstairs restaurant, and while they don’t have a licence, if you do want a drink, you can place your order and make your way to The Birdcage pub over the road and they’ll bring it over to you piping hot for you to enjoy with your pint.
If you’ve got a taste for fine dining, then Roger Hickman’s Restaurant over the road from The Cathedral of St. John The Baptist should be right up your street. The tables are adorned with white linen, spotless silverware and an array of crystal glassware. There’s no denying its decadence, but contemporary touches stop it from straying into the dangerous territory of feeling antiquated or outdated. The restaurant used to be called Adlard’s, and boasted a reputation for refined eating and high prices. It’s not so different nowadays; it’s merely named after a different chef-patron. It’s not cheap but you do get your money’s worth. The eating is excellent, the menu creative and the service unparalleled.
When it comes to curries in Norwich, you can’t beat a visit to Namaste India, in the shadow of Norwich Castle on Opie Street, or its big brother Namaste Village, south of the city centre on Queens Road. They’re two authentic Gujarati Indian restaurants run by the same family and serving up some of the most delicious vegetarian and vegan food in Norwich. Neither restaurant serves alcohol but for an inexpensive corkage charge, you’re welcome to bring your own. Portions are huge, the food is incredible, there’s always a vibrant atmosphere and you can expect a warm welcome. If you’re looking for spice and all things nice, Namaste is a no-brainer.
Pizza, pizza, oh that most puerile of guilty pleasures. If you start craving some sumptuous slices, then head towards the market and visit Brick Pizza for the best ‘pie’ you’ll feast on for some time. Their dough is made from Caputo Blue flour and cold-fermented for up to 36 hours, which allows the enzymes to break down the gluten and starch. This makes their pizza bases both delightfully light and dangerously moreish. Their meats come from Italy, the cheese comes from closer to home in Somerset, and the veg is grown right in Norwich. It’s only a small place, and each pizza is prepped and cooked to order so don’t be surprised to find the queue weaving its way out of the door. Don’t let it put you off though; the pizzas are excellent and you won’t eat better for the price.
Last of all, we’ll take you a little way out of the town centre to a restaurant with a reputation for being one of the best in Norfolk. Stoke Mill occupies a stunningly refurbished water mill in Stoke Holy Cross, a quick 10-minute drive from our Norwich East hotel. It doesn’t have any stars to its name – yet – but you can expect Michelin-quality dining, top-class service and here’s a tasty bit of trivia: the mill was originally owned by the Colmans of English mustard fame, who began making their acclaimed condiment 200 years ago.