Why are restaurants selling discounted meals this week? Durham Restaurant Week returns in 2023

One of the best things about the city of Durham is the range and quality of independent restaurants and cafes that you can find here. As a university student who tries to save money when I can, I don’t go out to eat as much as I wish I could. This week Durham Restaurant Week returns to the city and it is the perfect chance for students or other members of the local community to eat out for less. The week, which is running from the 28th of January to the 4th of February has been organised by the Business Improvement District and aims to increase the reach of restaurants in Durham and beat the slump of businesses in January. Offering menus worth £10, £15, £20 or £25, all the options are discounted from their original price. This display of food culture in the city is one of many reasons why Durham has recently been shortlisted to be the UK City of Culture 2025. Although the list of restaurants involved in Durham Restaurant Week includes chains, I would like to highlight some of the independent restaurants that are offering money off their menu. If you are looking for a birthday dinner, date night destination or just want to experience food that hasn’t come from college, this is a great opportunity to try out a new restaurant at a more affordable price. The full list of restaurants partaking in Restaurant Week can be found here.


Although more expensive than other options on the list, one restaurant in particular that I want to highlight is Coarse as it has recently been favourited by the Michelin Guide. The restaurant which opened last Autumn features a six-course tasting menu and caters for vegetarian and other dietary requirements. The restaurant which currently features courses such as smoked haddock, truffle mac and cheese and rhubarb and meringue for dessert changes its menu regularly and seasonally. This week, the restaurant is offering a snack, a three-course meal and a glass of cava or a non-alcoholic drink for £20. I have always wanted to try a tasting menu but have never been able to afford it as they are often priced out of budget. The aim of the restaurant according to their website is to ‘make tasting menus more affordable, accessible and fun’. If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a very reasonable price given the quality and accolade of food that is being served, Coarse is perfect. A meal at the restaurant would make for a special evening out for an occasion such as an anniversary or a birthday.


A more affordable option that is included in the list of restaurants and one of my favourite restaurants in Durham is Gussto. Gussto serves Mediterranean cuisine and is offering three tapas and a drink for £15. With the most expensive tapas costing up to £8.00, this is probably a more cost-effective deal for meat eaters than it is for vegetarians. Nevertheless, this option is highly recommended as every tapas I have tried from their menu has been delicious. Gussto is accompanied by other Mediterranean restaurants taking part in Durham Restaurant Week such as El Pincho and Tapas Factory which are offering 25% off the bill or three tapas and a drink for £15 respectively. Although I have not yet tried either of these restaurants, I would love to as the range of Greek, Moroccan and Spanish food all provide a different take on small sharing plate meals. The 25% reduction at El Pincho would also be a great option for a larger table.


If you are looking for a smaller bite to eat, Durham Restaurant Week features a large range of options such as cafes like The Coffee House and The Food Pit.  The Coffee House is offering a sandwich and soup or a slice of cake and a hot drink for £5. Durham has an overwhelming amount of coffee shops and The Coffee House is another choice that stands out among the others on the high street. Eating lunch here instead of at a chain café would also support an independent business whilst likely costing less money. The food pit is also a unique space which hosts a range of different food places ranging from Greek food to Bubble Waffles. The venue is open daily from 8 or 9am -10pm and hosts live music in the evening. The Food Pit is ideal for large groups who can’t decide what to eat or for those wishing to study as it doubles as a social space for students to study together. The crepe and coffee from Bubble Waffle for £6.00 would be a great accompaniment to a study session.


Image Credit: James Stringer on Flickr

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