The City of Sunderland may not be the largest city in the North East, but it does have its fair share of great places to eat and drink! Over the years, I have been ‘conducting research’ to find the best of those places and their runners up. So within this post, I will be listing where I think are the not to be missed bars, restaurants and cafes in Sunderland.
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Lets get on with it!
Best Italian Restaurants in Sunderland
There are many different Italians in the city you would be absolutely spoilt for choice! And I do pride myself on trying most of them over the years. Here are my top 5:
Some people may say this one is the best and it is a strong contender. However, the last few times I have been the service hasn’t been great and the food was nothing special. That’s just my opinion but I felt like we weren’t treated the same as the other customers and received a lower standard of service.
This place is one of the oldest Italian in the city and does deserve a place on this list as I recognise how many other people in the city rate it. For me, it’s just not it.
This place is another golden oldie in the city and is a true staple of the city which is why I have ranked it at number 4. And with that, I am ashamed to say I have only ever been once and it was perhaps 10 years ago for a friends 14th birthday. Despite this, I do believe it to be one of the best in the city based upon the outcry from the people about its potential closure.
If you are local to Sunderland then you will have heard that this place is at risk because its current location is going to be demolished. Perhaps what the business needs is the people of the city to visit and enforce that we want it to stay. It is up on my list to visit soon otherwise we might lose it!
If you are local to Sunderland then you will have heard of this one. And if not you should try it because I’ve had many meals there over the years and every one has been great!
I have also heard that they do incredible Sunday Lunches so if you’re in the market for that then give it a go!
Up until recently, I had no idea this place was there, but nestled in Sunniside is Angelos Italians which was incredible! Especially their cocktails. I couldn’t fault my experience here which is why it ranks in my top Italians.
However, taking the top spot absolutely has to be:
1. Roma Italians.
If you haven’t been absolutely go get this one booked. It’s small and decorated with such an authentic Italian vibe. The staff and service are always top-notch and the food is better. We have been going here for years and it has always been incredible!
The last time we went they had a great happy hour offer on and the total bill for four main courses, two garlic bread, three deserts and drinks was less than £90! And that was on a Sunday night for a table booked at 6pm. You absolutely can’t be robbed.
Others to consider are:
Best Indian Restaurants in Sunderland
Now then I know this one will divide the people. However, It is my opinion and it’s okay if you have a different one!
But here are my favourites
It has been a fair few years since I visited this one, however, I have included it here because for a very long time it was the top-rated Indians on trip advisor. And technically still is based upon the number of reviews it has received.
They have a really good looking happy hour menu and might be worth a try? From what I remember about my visit it was delicious. But at the time I thought it was expensive because I was a proper student with no money. I have added it back to my list to try again now with adult money and see how it fairs!
Although I have never been to the restaurant itself, the takeaways are always amazing. Perhaps it would rank higher if I ever get to the restaurant. But I do know that the people who frequent it a lot are always raving about the place.
I can only speak on behalf of the takeaway food and I can confirm the portions are huge, always delivered piping hot and overall cannot complain!
3. Spice Empire
The number 2 and 3 spot was difficult to place with this category because they were both similar. However, Spice Empire just misses out for a small reason. As you may know, I am a vegetarian and I simply found the staff at Moti Raj to be more accommodating to that and have more options.
That’s not to say the food was bad or limited. It was delicious and the portions were plentiful. It’s also in ideal proximity to the Sunderland Empire Theatre or the new Fire Station so if you’re visiting those this could be a perfect place to visit.
2. Moti Raj
As I said in the last place Moti Raj was very accommodating with my vegetarianism as well as my sister’s veganism. It’s actually one of the best places for vegans to eat in Sunderland.
Overall though I do remember the food here being incredible. The portions weren’t daunting either. I sometimes find when you go out for an Indians they pile it on whereas here it was very manageable and I polished the lot!
1. Mumbai Silk
If you have been following me over on Instagram for a while then this one won’t come as a shock to you at all. Mumbai silk is by far the best Indian restaurant in the city. Everything from the staff to the melon martinis, to the food is above and beyond!
Quite frankly if you haven’t been to Mumbai Silk yet then what are you doing? Be sure to check out their happy hour too because it is well worth it!
Others to try are:
The Best Brunch in Sunderland
Brunch is one of my favourite things to eat! I absolutely love going out on my days off for it. and trying new places. So here are the top brunch spots in Sunderland
5. Love Lily
This is another one which I do think might divide the people here. Don’t get me wrong I do really enjoy Love Lily. Their coffee is delicious and the food I’ve had from there never disappoints.
However, I have ranked it at number 5 simply because there are plenty of other places in Sunderland that offer a similar thing for better value for money or just better products. No shade to Love Lily, I do highly recommend you visit! It’s just not my go-to place!
The Good Apple Cafe is the only fully vegan restaurant in Sunderland. And for those who are instantly scrolling away, just hold on. Just because they serve nothing but vegan food doesn’t mean non-vegans can’t eat there.
The food was really good from here and is always highly recommended to me! They serve a classic brunch avo toast as well as so many other options. And their coffee is so good. I really do suggest you give this one a go, especially if you aren’t vegan!
I have a full review of the Good Apple Cafe here on MackemLife if you want a read.
Fausto is a really good cafe. They’re slowly coming famous across the city for their bagels and for good reason. They are sooooo good! Sitting in their window, or outside in the sunshine watching the waves is a perfect way to start a day.
Although I wish the coffees were bigger because they go down quickly. Perhaps if they were they would rank higher on this list. But that’s my only complaint about it!
2. Clean Bean
I know this one is technically (and by technically I mean 100% is) in Seaham and not Sunderland. But, This is probably my go-to brunch spot. However, because it’s not in Sunderland I have put it down at number 2.
Regardless, it is a really amazing place to visit. The service is always great and the food comes out quickly. My favourite thing to order is their avo toast with feta cheese and poached eggs.
1. Coles Kitchen
Coles Kitchen is my number 1 for a few reasons. Firstly their food items are incredible. I’ve only had their breakfast items but what I’ve tried was amazing! The coffee is on the same level, it is really good coffee! And finally, it’s so close to the beach you can grab your food and go a lovely walk and enjoy the food.
I know some people would prefer to sit inside somewhere but I really enjoy being able to walk with my food and coffee. I also think this place needs more attention than it’s getting because it really is the best brunch spot in Sunderland.
Others to Try:
- Yolo Coffee at the Stack
- Blacks Corner
Best Pubs/Bars in Sunderland
Sunderland is known to be a bit of a drinking place. And while I am not a huge drinker, I do like visiting nice modern bars and pubs a few of which are in Sunderland. So here are my favourites:
When this place first opened I remember it was all anyone could talk about. It was always heaving and it was a really fun place to be with an epic atmosphere. But since the pandemic, it was closed for a long while and I haven’t been back since. And I do feel it’s dropped off the radar a little.
Nonetheless, it is back open, the fire station next door has opened too and it’s slowly coming back to life. So if you’re looking for somewhere to visit, give this one a go and get it back to where it was!
If amazing cocktails are what you want, then this could be the top contender for you. I don’t visit often because it’s not very close to where I live but Poetic Licence is a really great place for day drinks or a night out!
And their cocktail menu is very good, you will be spoilt for choice!
3. 808 Bar and Kitchen
808 Bar and Kitchen is probably the best place in the whole city for cocktails. Famous for gin trees and instagramable decor, 808 is a really good place for a night out! Apparently, they also do really good bottomless brunch and their food always looks amazing.
My only gripe with 808 is its location. It is a little out of the centre and a good walk from anywhere else so if you are doing a night out, it’s a long way to walk in heels to the next place.
2. Port of Call
Any long-term followers won’t be shocked to see this place ranking. I’ve been visiting Port of Call since it opened and have loved it ever since. I don’t recall ever having a bad meal there and their Sunday lunches were incredible back before I was veggie!
But for a night out and drinking this is the best place in the city centre. It’s leagues above the rest of the pubs in town and has set the standard for what Sunderland town centre could be.
1. The Stack
Simply put, The Stack is the BEST place for a night out in the entire city of Sunderland. Fact. Nowhere is in the same league. There is always an incredible atmosphere, the food options are plenty and you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to food (especially when you’re drunk). They host so much entertainment there is always something new going on. And of course, there is a bar everywhere you turn.
Yes, it’s expensive for drinks when you compare it to a Wetherspoons but the place justifies its own prices when you end up having a great night.
Some other bars to try:
There are some other restaurants I would like to mention here and their best of categories.
Best Burger in Sunderland
The best burgers in Sunderland are absolutely from No 2 Church Lane. They have so many options on their menu I cant believe they have managed to make an entire menu from simply burgers!
Especially if you have veggies or vegans with you, they have a great selection of meat alternatives! Service is always great and the food generally comes out pretty quickly too.
Best Tapas in Sunderland
Quite frankly, there is only one restaurant in the city doing tapas and doing it well right now and that is Six Pier Point. Every Thursday they host Tapas Night which usually sells out!
They always use incredibly fresh ingredients and it shows in their products. If you do fancy tapas then give this one a go because it is delicious.
Best Mexican Food in Sunderland
It may come as no surprise that Sunderland doesn’t have many Mexican restaurants. However, the one we do have Mexico 70 is a very nice place! I haven’t been since the last Tuesday of freedom before the first national lockdown back in march 2020. But it was amazing!
I’d highly recommend taking advantage of their Taco Tuesday deals! But because it is a small place if you don’t book you usually don’t get in!
Well, thats all I have to say about this. Although I probably will continue to add to this list over the years as I conduct more ‘research’.
If you can think of anywhere that I need to add to this list then let me know! I’d love to hear your opinions on all of this. Thank you for reading and as always it really helps me out if you drop your email below to be notified of any and all my upcoming posts. Or feel free to follow me on any of my socials which are linked below.
Stay Safe and Happy Eating!
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Really enjoyed reading this and getting to know the Sunderland food scene more!