England NR23 1EX
Tel: 44 1328 710 209
In this whitewashed 16th-century coach inn fronting a pretty fishing port, chef Chris and wife Jo Coubrough serve up good English grub with Pacific Rim and Mediterranean influences. Dining at the ocher-walled restaurant is pretty swank: Flash-fried squid, bacon, and black puddingor a lamb-and-sweetbread terrinemight be followed by roasted breast of partridge with wild mushrooms on crushed potato, or steamed North Sea cod with ginger, lemongrass, and lime. In the adjoining black-beamed Crown Bar, things are much more casual: You can order great sandwiches or share a Crown Black Slatea platter of mixed Asian and Euro appetizers (smoked-chicken salad, seafood spring rolls, goat cheese and rosemary brûlée) served on a slab of slate. Weekend reservations are essential for the restaurant. And by the way, "hotel" is no misnomer: There are 12 beautiful rustic-minimal rooms upstairs.
Norwich City Football Ground
Tel: 44 1603 218 704
Imagine if Jacques Pépinno, if Rachael Ray owned the Baltimore Orioles and set up a restaurant at Camden Yards that was open only on game nights. That doesn't quite approach the absurd glory of this venture. Delia Smith is sort of like Julia Child crossed with Julie Andrews, a quasi-saintly culinary savior and TV personality who also happens to be a sports nut. She owns the Canaries, the Norwich City soccer team, and she put her reputation on the line by operating the Carrow Road catering. Here you can eat the intelligent, yummy EnglishContinental food that endeared Delia to at least three generations of gastronomic neophytes: coarse country pâté with cornichons and toasted granary bread; swordfish ceviche with cilantro and mint; confit of Norfolk duck with sour cherry compote; jerk pork with grilled pineapple salsa; spinach-and-pine-nut lasagna with three cheeses. And you can see a championship soccer match, too.
Tel: 44 1328 738 588
Burnham Market sometimes seems to be populated entirely by ex-Londoner antique dealers, and they all like to gather here. There are plenty of reasons why. When current owners Matthew and Caroline Owsley-Brown took over Fishes, half of Norfolk went into mourning that the previous owner was no longer in charge; as if that wasn't a hard enough beginning, the Owsley-Browns opened for business on September 11, 2001. Despite all this, the place has grown and thrived under their care. Their menus change not once but twice a day, according to what has arrived fresh on the local Brancaster, Lynn, Great Yarmouth, and Lowestoft boats. Smoked eel with foie gras and piquillo pepper terrine made even more decadent with homemade brioche, and roast Thai-buttered lobster with ginger, scallions, and sweet basil stir-fried noodles are just a couple of choices you might get to try. Desserts are amazing too, as is the daily-home-baked bread. Even the wine list is exemplary (if you have a few too many glasses, ask about one of the two luxury bedrooms overlooking the village green that are available for overnight stays). Reservations are essential. No children under five are permitted after 8:30 p.m.
Closed Mondays September through July.
Tel: 44 1328 738 777
This gorgeous 16th-century inn is officially a gastropub, but it's an extremely elevated version. Here in the heat-lamp-warmed gardens or on the covered terrace, in the air-conditioned dining room or the wood-paneled bar, pick from a long menu of new-Brit food that wouldn't be out of place in the hippest Notting Hill brasserie. Duck and beetroot broth with juniper oil; braised pork cheeks with mead sauce and vegetable-and-borlotti-bean cassoulet; or spiced black bream with curried parsnip mash and lemon and cumin dressing—these are the kinds of dishes to emerge from what the restaurant claims is the world's largest Aga (solid-fuel stove; increasingly trendy stateside).
Unit 410 Chapelfield Plain
Tel: 44 1603 305 280
Named in honor of the candy factory that once stood here, neither this upstairs dining room nor downstairs café, located just outside the newer of Norwich's two shopping malls, is remotely canteenlike. Rather, they're cheery places for intelligently cooked, locally sourced food, such as dressed Cromer crab with celeriac rémoulade, or pesto-baked corn-fed chicken with goat cheese mash. (Burgers, by the way, are better next door at Tootsies.) At the end of the meal, everyone gets to dip into the huge dish of Quality Street chocolatesMackintosh's most-recognized candies. Children, of course, adore this.
England NR1 3RF
Tel: 44 1603 766 670
A one-minute walk from the cathedral close is this bi-level bistro that many consider to be Norwich's best casual restaurant. With walls painted in National Trust colors (historically correct hues—a bit of a U.K. cliché, but still good-looking), pine farmhouse tables, bare floorboards, and leather chesterfield sofas in the upstairs bar, the ambience is laid-back—as is the kind, efficient service. Chef Brendan Ansbro's cooking is confident in the extreme: He pulls fresh, seasonal, local ingredients into slightly unusual combinations, such as salt and pepper fried squid with black bean dressing and crispy onions, or Haughley Farm chicken breast with pancetta ragout, wild mushrooms, chorizo, and cabbage and mash. Altogether, this jolly place typifies all that's good about "nouvelle Norfolk." Do reserve ahead, especially for weekends; it's popular.
Tel: 44 1328 713 230
This suite of sunny rooms filled with farmhouse tables and Rajasthani doodads is so comfy you won't feel like leaving once the meal's done (and that may take a while; the servers here tend to be young and somewhat distracted). The food is exemplary, and all local. The beef was raised here on the surrounding estate of the Earl of Leicester; the game was shot here, and the oysters gathered from down the nearby shore, as was the samphirea kind of wild seaside asparagus with a sadly short season (late spring). Some typical dishes: spaghetti with local crab, lemon, cream, and Parmesan; skate wing with fondant potato, baby leeks, capers, and aged balsamic vinegar; pan-fried calf's liver with parsley mash, crispy bacon, and maple syrup. There's also amazing fish and chips and kid-size miniburgers made of Holkham beef. Reservations are essential. The ten-room hotel upstairs is also recommended.