The Naked Deli, Gosforth & Heaton
If the North East’s ‘healthy’ joints formed a gang, this place would be the leader of the pack – a guilt-free zone where health and nutrition are paramount. Head to either of its trendy deli-style restaurants for some of the best good-for-you grub around – popular with students, yummy mummies in gym gear and even families, all of whom stop by to tuck into their five-a-day and perhaps (definitely) one or two sweet treats. Everything is unprocessed, natural, gluten-free and freshly-prepared; all meats are grass-fed and/or free range, the fish is responsibly-sourced, eggs and dairy are organic and everything is cooked in good old coconut oil. Think buckwheat and protein ‘bancakes’ (pancakes made with egg and banana), quinoa porridge and acai yogurt for brekkie and baked sweet potato with cacao beef chilli or rye burgers with superfood salad for lunch. It also specialises in cold-pressed juices and superfood smoothies, loaded with fresh veggies, fruit and other health-boosting ingredients, and probably the most decadent, brain-teasing ‘raw desserts’ you’ll find around these parts, all gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free, of course.
Order this: Grass-fed beef balls with garlic, mushroom and tomato sauce and courgetti, £8. For a sweet treat, it has to be a ‘Raw Snickers Bar’, £2.95
231 Chillingham Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5LJ; 0191 908 7260
Gosforth Shopping Centre, NE3 1JZ; 0191 284 6941
Coast Kitchen, Tynemouth
Tynemouth’s newest addition promises it all; creative flavours, guilt-free snacks, inventive blackboard specials and healthy, energy-packed brekkies and brunchy plates to kick-start your day. Its fresh, home-cooked fare speak for itself – the perfect example of ‘good food’ done really well, with minimal fuss. Craving something sweet? Try ‘raw’ chia berry jam on sourdough, almond milk porridge with fresh rhubarb or a bowl of homemade granola with oodles of nuts and seeds and dollops of Greek yogurt. Savoury-seekers will love the salads – everything from puy lentil, tabbouleh and goats cheese to roast squash, spelt and red onion – smashed avo with pickled chilli and the healthy ricotta ‘gnudi’ – a bit like gnocchi. Try the smoothies too – the Green Goddess, packed with kale, coconut water, banana and pineapple, is our favourite.
Order this: Cumin-roasted cauliflower steaks with braised cannellini beans and coriander yogurt, £10
Tynemouth Front Street, NE30 4BP; 0191 257 7257
Pulp Fiction Future Food, Whitley Bay
A quirky, deli-style dining spot for healthy eaters, smoothie-drinkers and gym-goers, on the village’s poshest street, Park View. Pop in for a juice and a protein ball or two on-the-go, or take a seat for lunch. Kudos to the team, who make it their mission to create food that’s only good for your insides, but tastes phenomenal too. Many dishes are products of their own foodie imaginations – fresh, good-looking creations packed with so much flavour and nutritious goodness, your brain will think you’re treating yourself. Healthy/veggie/vegan brekkies and brunchy plates are served all day long, plus a number of mouthwatering daily specials, like the popular mushroom and bean burger, which smushes together mung beans, woody mushrooms and tarragon, smothered in a tahini, garlic and lemon dressing. Take your pick from a range of juices, smoothies, ‘health shots’ (try an ‘Aloe Vera’ – it’s nicer than you might think) and cool hot drinks – the warming ‘Super Food Hot Chocolate’ is great for those battling sweet cravings.
Order this: A slab of raw ‘chocolate orange’ brownie, a peanut butter protein ball or a ‘clean’ chocolate crispy cake made with quinoa and ‘natural’ caramel. Prices and options vary.
193 Park View, Whitley Bay, NE26 3RD; 0191 252 2205
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The Good Apple Cafe, Sunderland
This independent coffee shop and veggie café is a winner if you like your food home-cooked style. Plonked in the city centre, near the Sunderland University’s city campus, it’s an obvious and popular choice for students, but also a good one if you just fancy a grab-and-go lunch or a quick bite between meetings or shopping. Go there in the morning to tuck in to small brunch-style plates and full veggie and vegan brekkies (they serve up a mean veggie sausage), or settle in after midday for healthy wraps, loaded with hummus, carrots, beets, avocado, spinach and pine nuts for flavour and goodness, and a few toasted creations such as ‘healthy bagels’. Bread-lovers rejoice.
Order this: Scrambled tofu on toast with kale and sesame seeds, £3.75
18 Derwent St, Sunderland, SR1 3NU; 0191 564 1763
Olive & Bean, Newcastle
This casual and cosy restaurant/cafe doesn’t claim to be a clean-eating place, but their healthy stuff is definitely worth a mention (and a visit for sure). You’ll find it in the heart of the city centre, inside the most gorgeous two-storey original Grainger building, where a committed kitchen works hard to give diners plenty of fresh-to-order choices, bursting with healthy flavour and nutritious ingredients. There’s good old porridge, made with good-for-you grains and served with fresh fruit, homemade granola with yogurt, silky smoked salmon and chilli, roast peppers and avocado on sourdough, plus falafel, mango and homemade hummus wraps and the fudgiest gluten-free brownies from its famous cake counter.
Order this: The falafel ‘big bowl’ salad, with Greek feta, olives, almonds, coriander and mint, £6.95
17-19 Clayton St, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5PN; 0191 233 0990
NOSH Healthy Kitchen, Middlesbrough
Somewhere for fast food – without the guilt. NOSH’s menu may be small, but it’s jam-packed with nutritious goodness – ideal for gym-goers, macro-counters or those simply wanting to put something healthy in their bellies with minimal fuss and effort. They do protein well; think ‘skinny’ chicken parmo, saffron-sizzled breasts and homemade ‘clean’ meatballs. For veggies, there’s the chickpea, sweet potato and tofu stew, and for sweet-toothed diners, things like chocolate protein pancakes and wildberry cheesecake. For in-and-out lunchy bites, simply pick your salad, add your main-player (grilled chicken, steak, halloumi and veg or fishcakes), sauce it up with things like spicy harissa or fresh salsa mayo and add your side. We like the sweet potato mash!
Order this: Grilled veggie patties with sundried tomato bulgar wheat and red pesto mayo and salad, £9.70.
206-209 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 3QW; 01642 269856