Dining out in Staffordshire - 10 of the best restaurants
From its rolling rural hills to urban city centres Staffordshire offers a wide range of restaurants, pubs and cafes.
And increasingly the food on offer is reflecting the wealth of great local produce grown in the county.
Graeme Whitehead, tourism manager Staffordshire County Council – and the man behind the Taste of Staffordshire Good Food Awards - said it was great to see so many places flying the flag for ingredients grown in the county.
He said: “We have some of the best vegetables, meat and poultry anywhere in the UK and it is good to see more and more places trying to make use of it. That is what the Taste of Staffordshire Awards are all about.”
And the knock-on effect of this trend is having an impact on locals and visitors to the area alike.
Graeme said: “I think every piece if research you read shows that when people look for somewhere to go on offer they want to discover the food and drink on offer. They want to sample the local culture by eating and drinking it and they can certainly do that here.”
Graeme says tea rooms are a particularly strong-hold for the county but they are being increasingly rivalled by top-quality restaurants and pubs who have upped their game in recent years.
The county has also seen growth in the production of drinks in the county with numerous small breweries popping up all over the place in addition to Staffordshire’s two vineyards.
But for a true taste if Staffordshire Graeme says there is still one thing that stands out above all others.
He said: “If you want something absolutely unique and quirky you need to try a Staffordshire oatcake. They are getting harder to find but some places do modern takes on it and it is certainly something to worth seeking out.”
So whether you are after oatcakes or a la carte cuisine here’s a list of 10 of the best places to try in Staffordshire.
1. The Conservatory at The Moat House, Lower Penkridge Road, Acton Trussell, Staffordshire, ST17 0RJ. Tel: 01785 712217.
Opening times: 12pm to 2.15pm and 7pm to 9.30pm, Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 2.30pm Sunday.
Style: Modern British
Prices: Brasserie menu from £5. The Conservatory: Lunch from £17 for two courses. Dinner: Three courses for £30, tasting menu £50 per person.
Try: Slow cooked Staffordshire shoulder of lamb, fondant potato, pea and mint purée, baby carrots, lamb jus.
‘Restaurant of the Year’ at the Taste of Staffordshire Awards, The Conservatory offers the unbeatable combination of inventive, gourmet cooking and beautiful surroundings.
Housed inside a Grade II-Listed manor house, the view of the moat from the canopied dining room is a feast for the eyes while the food is enough to please any palate.
The emphasis is on using the best seasonal local produce and there are a range of dining experiences on offer. From the seven course tasting menu in the restaurant to bar snacks in the more informal brasserie, you won’t be disappointed.
2. Sanjeev’s, 861 Leek New Road, Stoke-on-Trent ST2 7HQ. Tel: 01782 545533.
Opening hours: 5.30pm to 11pm daily.
Prices: Mains from £6.95.
Try: Delhi-style chicken
In addition to offering award-winning authentic Indian food, Sanjeev’s also claims to be able to gauge your mood and create the perfect dish to match.
Using a mood-measuring device and the right blend of fresh herbs and spices, head chef Sanjeev Kumar promises to restore their guest’s emotional well-being at the same time as cooking up a wonderful meal.
A former ‘International Indian Head Chef of the Year’ the warm and welcoming restaurant is Staffordshire’s reigning best non-European restaurant.
3. The Ramblers Retreat, Red Road, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST10 4BU. Tel: 01538 702730.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, June to September and until 4pm the rest of the year. Saturday and Sundays from 10am to 6pm June to September and until 4pm the rest of the year.
Prices: Mains from £7.15.
Try: Staffordshire Oatcake Pizza. A Staffordshire Oatcake topped with tomato, onions, herbs and smothered with mature cheddar cheese accompanied by a fresh crispy seasonal salad or chips and garnish.
The Rambler’s Retreat is a haven for visitors to the beautiful Churnet Valley.
This country cafe and restaurant specialises in serving wholesome homemade food using the very best local ingredients. From three course meals to the famous North Staffordshire oatcake there is a wide range of choice and the puddings are worth a trip on their own.
Situated in one of Staffordshire’s most picturesque spots, a visit to the Rambler’s Retreat is the perfect stop-off for a day spent exploring the stunning scenery.
4. The Staffordshire Knot Inn, Sheen, Buxton, Staffordshire, SK17 0ET. Tel: 01298 84329.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 9pm.
Style: Modern British
Prices: Mains £10.95 to £15.95.
Try: Pork Tenderloin served on a bed of fried cabbage with pancetta, finished with a port and thyme jus.
One of the county’s best-kept secrets the Knot offers top-class restaurant dining at pub prices.
Produce is locally-sourced and immaculately prepared by owner and chef Jacqui Allsebrook while the service is always warm and welcoming.
The dining room combines the inn’s traditional features with a sense of style, providing a wonderful retreat for everyone from windswept walkers to seasoned foodies.
5. Netherstowe House, Netherstowe Lane, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6AY. Tel: 01543 254270.
Opening hours: Lunch 12pm to 2.30pm Monday to Friday, 1pm to 2.30pm weekends. Dinner 7pm-9pm Monday to Saturday.
Style: Modern British
Prices: Light lunches from £6.95 to a la carte dinner; £12.50 to £24.95 for a main course.
Try: Chargrilled fillet of Staffordshire beef with pont neuf in duck fat, haricot vert and red wine jus.
Elegant fine-dining in a beautiful Grade II Listed Georgian Manor, Netherstowe House oozes class.
From it’s perfectly presented modern British food to its attentive service it has rightly established itself as one of Staffordshire’s most impressive dining destinations.
One restaurant with three different dining areas, visitors can choose between the fresh flowers, candles and crisp linen of the main dining room or the less formal surroundings of the lounge.
6. The Country Kitchen at Essington Fruit Farm, Bognop Road, Essington, Wolverhampton, WV11 2AZ. Tel: 01902 735 724.
Opening Hours: 10am-4pm summer, 11am-3pm winter.
Try: Home-reared roast pork Sunday lunch.
There can be few places in the country where the journey from plough to plate is shorter than the Country Kitchen at Essington Fruit Farm. The home grown fruit, veg and meat are at the heart of all of its dishes, creating a fresh and vibrant dining experience.
The famous Sunday roasts are a treat, as are the extensive range of homemade cakes and desserts.
A multi-award winner at this year’s Taste of Staffordshire Good Food Awards, the cafe is the perfect place for a hard-earned rest after picking your own fruit or perusing the on-site butchery.
7. The Three Horseshoes Inn, Blackshaw Moor, Nr Leek, Staffordshire. Tel: 01538 300296.
Opening hours: 11am-9pm Monday to Thursday and from 11am until 10pm on Friday and Saturday. Sunday 11am-8.30pm.
Style: Modern British/Thai
Prices: Afternoon bar meals from £6.50. Dinner: Mains from £10.50 to tasting menu £45 per person.
Try: Wood pigeon, butternut squash puree, pancetta rosti, wild mushrooms, soured red wine sauce.
A wealth of dining options await you at one of Staffordshire’s most popular eating out destinations. From bar snacks to fine-dining there are options for all tastes and budgets at this old country inn and hotel in the Peak National Park.
These include include traditional pub favourites, a grill menu and a unique modern British/Thai fusion restaurant.
A winner of numerous awards, the Horseshoes uses fresh local produce throughout and offers a range of atmospheres from cosy log fires an elegant wood-beamed restaurant.
8. The Dog and Doublet, Sandon, Stafford, Staffordshire, ST18 0DJ. Tel: 01889 508331.
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday; Lunch 12pm to 2.30pm, dinner 6pm to 9pm. Sunday lunch 12pm to 4.30pm and dinner 5.30pm to 8pm.
Prices: Light lunches from £5.50, mains from £9.50.
Try: Beef, mushroom and Joules Ale pie, creamed mash potato, roasted root vegetables.
Staffordshire’s reigning, ‘Traditional Pub of the Year’ the Dog and Doublet takes great pride in producing wholesome home-cooked food using local produce.
Hearty and un-fussy it serves some of the best traditional pub grub going from tasty pies to warming casseroles.
Dating back over 100years the ‘Dog’ has retained its traditional charming character while adding a stylish contemporary twist to its interior.
9. The Swan With Two Necks, Nantwich Road, Blackbrook, Staffordshire, ST5 5EH. Tel: 01782 680343.
Opening Times: 12pm to 10pm daily.
Style: Modern British.
Prices: Mains from £9.95
Try: Seared duck breast with sweet red cabbage, cubed
potatoes, parsnip purée and cherry sauce.
Setting the standards for ‘gastropubs’ everywhere the Swan With Two Necks offers fantastic unpretentious food in a relaxed and friendly environment.
Located in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside the pub sources its produce locally to create inventive re-workings of classic dishes.
Great for a pint of real ale and a sharing platter or a more formal dining experience the pub offers something for everyone.
Winner of the Taste of Staffordshire ‘Contemporary Pub of the Year’ it also features a great outdoor area in the summer.
10. DaQuino Ristorante, 3 Little Church Lane, Tamworth B79 7AX. Tel: 01827 65406.
Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday 12pm to 2.15pm and 6pm to 10pm.
Style: Modern British.
Prices: Lunch; mains from £7.20. Three course set dinner £15.95 Monday to Friday, £17.95 on Saturdays.
Try: Cotoletta di Maiale Pizzaiola; Pork loin cutlet with tomato, capers, garlic and white wine sauce.
There are a number of top Italian restaurants around the county but this one is Tamworth is right up there with the best.
Offering an unrivalled warm Italian welcome and authentic food you will feel as though you have been transported into the front room of someone’s house in Rome.
Great service, simple but delicious cooking and excellent value have meant that DaQuino’s has built up an ever-growing number of regulars who return time and again.