A real foodie trend-setter down by the coast, known and loved for its ever-changing, ever-mouthwatering blackboard specials and inventive and inspiring vegan options. The food here is ridiculously good-looking (a quick peek at its Instagram page tells you all you need to know); a fusion of Vietnamese and Thai, bursting with fresh, zingy flavour. Think gut-friendly ‘maki’ bowls, filled ginger-glazed salmon and wasabi, creamy ‘coco’ soup and comforting curries, steaming bowls of ‘bun cha’, tofu scramble and avo on toast, lemongrass and ginger broth and perky pad thai.
12 Front St, Whitley Bay, NE25 8DF; facebook.com/omnionthecorner
Parichat at Sohe, Jesmond
Book a table here and prepare to be whisked away to the Far East. The sophisticated restaurant, with award-winning chef, Parichat Somsri-Kirby, at the helm, dishes up a dynamic menu packed with exotic flavours – some you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Plates – whether from the tempting tapas menu or the a la carte menu – are original and Japanese, Malaysian, Thai and Korean-inspired. Our picks are the roasted rump of lamb in chilli and basil, roasted halibut in Thai red curry sauce and spicy chicken coconut broth.
97-103 Osborne Road, Jesmond, NE2 2TJ; sohe.co.uk
Meet & Treat, Newcastle
You’ll find this quirky little find on the outskirts of Chinatown; a casual, shabby-chic cafe, promising a true taste of the Orient through its Pan-Asian delights. Choose from small bites, soup noodles, plump bao buns, hearty rice dishes and colourful desserts. Think deep-fried Japanese-style dumplings, Korean-style honey BBQ ribs, spicy jellyfish, Malaysian king prawn noodles, Taiwanese braised pork, Szechuan tofu and mighty matcha cocoa waffles for afters.
41 Bath Lane, Newcastle, meetandtreat.weebly.com
Durham’s favourite spicy spot presents a menu inspired by authentic Asian street and market food. Think fun, far-out Far East food, made from scratch daily by a team of passionate, creative chefs. You need to try the ‘quacking duck rollies’ (confit duck tossed in hoi sin ketchup and wrapped in pastry), the ‘rocket man ribs’ (North Korean-style with a sticky chilli BBQ glaze), steamy tom yum soup, any of the Hong Kong roast meats and the ‘oh Buddha me’ stir-fry.
Court Lane, Durham, DH1 3JS; zendurham.co.uk
The Funky Indian, Sunderland
Known for its Indian-style tapas; awesome appetisers like masala fries and mini bowls of slow-cooked stew, plus sizzling prawn roasts, spicy veg spread on sweet naan, Punjabi samosas with all the trimmings, creamy daal and paneer, ghee-roasted mutton and tremendous tandoori platters to share.
39 Borough Road, Sunderland, SR1 1PS; thefunkyindian.co.uk
New Rendezvous, Ponteland
Renowned chef, Kevin Liu, and his family are behind this elegant and hugely-popular Chinese restaurant, which specialises in Cantonese cuisine and seafood, fine-dining style. There’s tons on offer, but you can’t beat its banquet options, which showcase some of its best-loved dishes, like the crabmeat sweetcorn, duck pancakes, beef in kung po sauce, salt and pepper chilli mussels and steamed seabass.
3-5 Bell Villas, Ponteland, NE20 9BD; newrendezvous.co.uk
A contemporary, family-owned curry house, named after India’s famous clay stoves, tucked away in Low Fell. The atmosphere is deliciously laid-back, the food is unfussy and the portion sizes are very pleasant indeed. Expect poppadoms and naan as big as your head, generous skillets of aromatic, homemade curry and some of the best Indian desserts in the North East. Don’t leave without trying the buttery prawn makhni, chicken kalimirch, pistachio kulfi (ice cream) and gulab jamun – milky dumplings soaked in cardamom and rose syrup.
168 Kells Lane, Gateshead, NE9 5HY; angeethi.co.uk