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Top 10 restaurants in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 18:00 13 November 2015

EADT Top 10 restaurants in Ipswich. The Townhouse

EADT Top 10 restaurants in Ipswich. The Townhouse

Sarah Lucy brown

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis lists her top 10 places to eat in Ipswich, Suffolk’s county town

In the course of my job I eat out – a lot. I’ve seen, and eaten, the good, the bad and the ugly. Admittedly, mostly good.

If you’re struggling to think of somewhere to eat in Ipswich, or are fed-up with going to the same place over and over again, why not try one of these?

They are…in no particular ranking or order.

1 Aurora, The Tented Building, Helena Road

One of the most impressive-looking restaurants of the bunch, this place stands out amongst the crowd in the Waterfront district with its white sail roof.

One side of the eatery is entirely glass, allowing amazing views out across the jumble of boats bobbing in the marina.

Expect funky background music, fresh artwork, soft lighting and some of the best cocktails in town from the downstairs bar. Food is elegantly presented and uses some of the best local produce.

Click here to find out more

2 The Eaterie, Salthouse Harbour Hotel, 1 Neptune Quay

Chris McQuitty’s food is scrummy – especially the desserts. A chocolate delice with flavours of salted caramel and peanut eaten here earlier in the year was astonishingly good. And the restaurant serves one of the most popular (and best) afternoon teas in Ipswich, ranking highly against others (in my opinion) including some London establishments.

The quirky Pyrex tiered teas come with unlimited hot drinks and include dainty sandwiches, cheese scone, fruit scone with preserves and a medley of patisserie – which could include tiny buttercream-topped fairy cakes, zippy lemon tarts and squares of dark chocolate brownie. The interior is uber-cool and, if you’re on a first date, the artwork will mean you never run out of things to talk about.

Click here to find out more.

3 @twenty5, 25 St Nicholas Street

A family-run affair in one of the nicest parts of the town. Chef Mel dishes out food from the galley-style kitchen that hits the mark on flavour and is fairly generously portioned as well.

Her green curry (not authentic but delicious all the same) is a winner if it’s on the menu, and the burgers are piled high with yummy things.

At lunchtime there are some interesting light options to try as well.

I like the simple décor, and (in the warmer months) the walled terrace garden with its bright purple flowers.

4 The Townhouse, 4A Orwell Place

This roomy restaurant re-opened earlier this year following a programme of work to repair fire damage.

I’ve eaten a few meals there since and have never once been disappointed. Despite its understated appearance, the restaurant serves hearty portions of well-judged, excellently flavoured food. A herby, tarragon infused roasted chicken with fondant potatoes showed excellent skills in both keeping the bird juicy and producing a sticky, proper jus. The falafels served as a starter in the middle of the year were amongst the best I’ve ever eaten. And as for the deconstructed lemon meringue pie…

Click here to find out more.

5 Momentum Mexican Cantina, 27-29 St Nicholas Street

Originally opening with a limited offering, this eatery now has a full range of hot and cold dishes, the majority inspired by the flavours of the Mexican chef/owner’s heritage.

Proper Mexican chillies, cheeses and seasonings are used to bring real authenticity to the menu, from fresh tacos and quesadillas to clay-pot cooked dishes.

A good selection of beer and wine as well.

A fab bet pre or post cinema.

6 Cult Café, James Hehir Building, University Ave

Chef Mike Keen’s travels have heavily influenced the on-trend street food inspired menu at this trendy café.

When Mike took on the student bar a few years ago, noone could have envisaged how popular it would become.

It’s turned into a hangout not just for students (who get a discount with ID), but also for couples, professionals and families.

Imagine a mish-mash of vintage furniture, stacks of odd books and board games, industrial lighting and a dash of colour – that’s Cult.

The food is very very reasonably priced and always interesting. Poutines (fries topped with cheese curds and gravy) seem to be having their day at the moment and you can try them here alongside homemade proper hotdogs, one of the best darn burgers in town, and all kinds of nibbles inspired by the States, Asia and beyond.

Live music is a regular fixture here.

Click here to find out more.

7 Aqua Eight, 8 Lion Street

Whenever there’s a birthday, anniversary or any other occasion in my family this is the first place we think of. Highly ranking nationally, the restaurant just gets so many things right.

The whole place looks slick and stylised, the cocktails (I’d recommend the awesome non-alcoholic mojito if you’re driving) are delicious, and the food is some of the best in Suffolk.

I’m not a huge fan of Chinese cuisine as it can be really heavy, but that’s not the case at this Pan-Asian eatery. Every plate comes out looking like a piece of art. Nothing feels greasy or over fried. And the flavours are incredible.

I recommend the mixed starters, spicy capital pork chunks, divine organic sweet and sour pork, soft shell crab and any of the prawn dishes. It’s all great.

Click here to find out more.

8 Pizza Loft, 1 Bixley Dr, Rushmere St Andrew

Sometimes you find the best food in places you’d least expect it. Take this place as a case in point, found over the top of a motorbike shop on the outskirts of town.

It’s a one-man operation, with the owner/chef working tirelessly in his tiny kitchen to turn out pizzas any Italian mama would be proud of.

Crisp crust, flavoursome sauce, tasty toppings and gooey cheese, all served in a friendly ambiance that feels homely, like you’ve popped to see a mate for tea.

Take your own booze.

9 Alaturka, 9 Great Colman Street

I’ve never had a bad meal at Semra’s fun Turkish restaurant. Those heady aromatic flavours of the Med wind their way through the menu, which (despite being a meat-lover’s dream) has plenty of veggie options.

Start with the mixed platter of exquisitely spiced falafel, hummus, feta and spinach pastries and other morsels to whet your appetite. I’d recommend following this with the house special of grilled chicken, lamb pieces and lamb kebab, served atop grilled puffy pide bread with a moreish tomato sauce.

Save room for the baklava and sutlac, lemon perfumed traditional rice pudding.

And try the Turkish wine. It slips down a little too easily.

If you can, book a table for one of the bellydancing nights – they’re a hoot.

Click here to find out more.

10 Museum Street Café, 1 Museum Street

Open during the day, this busy café is a complete haven for vegetarians and vegans who, quite frankly, don’t just want to eat Quorn and beanburgers.

Food is innovative, packed with flavours and inspired by flavours from across the globe.

The cakes are always original and flavoursome too.

Even ardent meat eaters will enjoy the food here, with its bold taste.

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