Durham’s delicious date destinations: part one


Finally, exams are over. The sun is out and the racecourse is packed with people. Streets are filled to the brim in the evening. You meet someone who happens to be a ‘friend of a friend’. Or perhaps it’s someone on Tinder or Hinge. Maybe it’s someone you’ve already had a date with. You get talking and suddenly, you need to figure out where to take them.

I’d like to remind you to think about the food that will be eaten. You don’t want any saucy or messy foods in case your date gets put off by your eating habits. Moreover, you will need to consider if you have been on a date with this person before. Perhaps for the first date, go for a coffee, and for subsequent dates, these locations are the ideal spots. However, if you know that your date really wants to head straight for a romantic meal, go for it. Below, I offer my top three picks for you to take your date, plus a wild card option for those who are more risky!


My top choice for a date in Durham. It’s next to the river, it has good food and coffee, and it’s affordable. Perhaps the only downside to this place would be the amount of people you may bump into queueing on a Saturday afternoon. However, the sandwiches are tasty and neat and there’s a nice variety of meals, catering for both the adventurous and the safe. Alternatively, for those of you with a sweet tooth, the pancakes provide the perfect treat to accompany your date.

Riverview’s most appealing attribute is its location. After your date, you could go on a slow stroll with your sweetheart along the river and admire the natural scenery of Durham. Perhaps walk to the cathedral and move your date over to Hogwarts. Or, follow the river all the way down and sit by the riverbank near the racecourse to enjoy some sun. You could even hire one of those boats on the river and show off your athletic ability. The possibilities are endless.

The pancakes provide the perfect treat to accompany your date

La Spaghettata

Ah Spags, the Rolls-Royce of dates. When you think of a typical date in Durham, Spags is probably the first place that comes to mind. This quaint dining experience provides the perfect romantic, yet fun, atmosphere. The additional use of candlelight and the various desserts on offer are the perfect accompaniment to the conversation that will be flowing between the two of you. However, as Spags is renowned for their pasta dishes and the two-litre bottle of wine, sometimes it might be better to just enjoy the moment and gorge yourselves.

After sharing your two-litre bottle of wine (yes, the majority of you will probably be getting that), perhaps you could wander over to the Library Bar. Overlooking the picturesque scenes of the SU (just joking) and the countryside behind, the terrace is a perfect way to get some privacy and truly connect with your date. While Spags does have its downsides, such as the large waiting time due to a no-booking policy, the Spags-Library Bar combination is probably so popular for this reason: you are guaranteed a solid night out if the date goes badly.


One for the more adventurous, this restaurant located near Elvet Crescent has a fancy and modern feel. The dim sum and rice dishes are tasty and visually pleasing. The outdoor terrace provides an intimate and cosy atmosphere. Above all, Zen’s location offers somewhere a bit more secluded where you and your sweetheart can (at last) appreciate a little bit of peace and quiet. No more of your friends accidentally bumping into you. No more awkward chats with people you know on the street. What more could you ask for?

Perhaps Zen is disadvantaged by being a bit further from the centre, but at the very least this is offset by the privacy you are more likely to enjoy. Besides, it’s Durham – walking from one side to the other would only take 20 minutes at most.

Spoon’s Tapas

Just remember, if anyone enjoys a Spoon’s tapas session, and wants to come back for a next date, they’re either a keeper or run as fast as you can.

Image credit: Pexels (via Pixabay)

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