Revealed: The best places to eat and drink in Ipswich
- Credit: Gregg Brown
From top notch cafes to fancy restaurants, these are officially the best places to wine and dine in Ipswich.
Ipswich Central business improvement district revealed a list of the town’s best independent eateries after a poll of more than 2,000 people during its food and drink Forknight earlier this year.
They have now revealed the winners of the best cafe, restaurant, pub/bar and the best dish, with gold, silver and bronze winners in both.
Scooping gold for best restaurant was Turkish cuisine Alaturka, in Colman Street.
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Manager Semra Sahinoglu said: “We try our best to reach all the requirements of our customers and make them feel at home when they are with us.
“All our food is freshly prepared and the ingredients are sourced locally. We take so much pride in our kitchen and to make sure staff make guests feel welcome from the moment they walk in to the moment they leave.”
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Alaturka has won the Ipswich Central award three times and has won TripAdvisor’s award for excellence every year since opening.
Mrs Sahinoglu added: “Everyone tells us how clean we are and how easy on the eye the restaurant is. Customers always comment on our decoration and interior, they often look around the restaurant and spot different things.”
Ipswich Central also awarded the venue with a silver award in the best dish category for their Alaturka Spesiyal.
The tasty meal consists of lamb, chicken and meatballs laid on a bed of homemade bread with their ‘infamous’ red sauce. The sauce is made with 12 vegetables but the rest is a mystery with it being a secret recipe.
Gaining the silver award in the same category was The Forge, which has only been in the town for a year and replaced Loch Fyne.
Robyn Owen, who owns and runs the business with her husband Grant, said: “Our concept from the very start was to offer very simple, stripped back, and customised plates of food.
“We appreciate that diners love the unique ability they have here at The Forge to choose exactly what their plate consists of - smoked and charcoal oven-grilled meat, fish and veg, mix and matched with tapas style small bowls and plates, and an array of side dish options to suit each and every taste.
“Food forged ‘your way’ every time we like to say. Also, unlike many other smokehouses, our vegetarian and vegan offering has always been as important to us as getting the meat just right.
“We’ve had an amazing response to a recent menu addition – the ‘Moving Mountains’ B12 ‘bleeding’ burger. It’s 100% vegan, delicious, and definitely not just another veggie burger.
“We also feel our customers appreciate having a place to eat out that focuses on the whole experience in equal measure – good food, drink, service and atmosphere.”
The Cult Cafe was delighted to also be presented with a silver award but their win came in the best cafe category.
Supervisor Seb Brett said: “We are family friendly and dog friendly - we cater to everyone. We are also currently rolling out a new menu which will include vegan, gluten free and other allergy options.”
The student cafe-bar is located on the Waterfront next to Athena Hall.
Mr Brett added: “We have a great spot so we really appeal to the students and offer them 20% off. We also offer the staff at the university the discount too.
“We are also always moving furniture so it is more comfortable for customers and we have loads of board games which guests like to play.”
Following after Cult Cafe with the bronze award is Jacey’s Cafe on St Stephens Lane who are currently in their 20th year of trading.
Colin Williams, who runs and owns the business with his family, said: “We have customers who use to bring their children in when they were little, and now we see the children who have grown up bringing in their own offsprings.
“Jacey’s feels more like a social club with its friendly social atmosphere, it is a place where anybody is welcome and everyone is treated the same. People come in and can find someone they’ve never met before but just start talking to them - it is relaxed and comfortable.”
Mr Williams takes care of Jacey’s with his wife Jackie, daughters Katie and Amy, and assistant manager Julie. He is sure that their homemade treats are the reason customers return time and time again.
He added: “The food is almost all home made with the highlights of the menu being the Welsh rarebit and the quiche. They are both a hit because they are good value for money and home made. The Welsh rarebit is a traditional recipe and one I learnt when I was 14.”
Another award winner was The Greyhound the much-loved pub received a silver award in the best pub/bar category.
Landlord Dan Lightfood said: “We maintain high standards and make sure everyone is happy. We have a friendly environment and the staff make sure they smile and greet customers.
“There is lovely food, Adnams beers, and a relaxing safe environment. We also have our famous chilli which everyone speaks about, it has had the same recipe for 25 years and they love it.”
In bronze place in the same category was The Steamboat Tavern who are known for their real ales and live music.
Andy Barlow, who is the landlord, is grateful for the recognition from Ipswich Central and puts it down to their traditional ways.
He said: We are one of the only traditional pubs left, there are a lot closing down, but we are still here doing traditional things like live music and pub food.
“The ale and ciders here don’t have a permanent home, they are always changing so it is like a constant mini beer festival.”
This wasn’t the only award for the venue received. They came in first place with a gold award in the best dish category.
Their chilli cheesy chips have won the hearts of many in Ipswich. Mr Barlow puts this down to their originality.
He said: “We think it is because we make the chips ourselves, we don’t use frozen so they are all fresh and it goes down really well.”