Top restaurants and cafés in Brighton and Hove

Carrot cake and tea for two at Metrodecco

When you’re on a limited budget like I am (whose idea was it to get married and go back to uni in the same year anyway), there is nothing more frustrating than when you part with your hard-earned cash for a meal and get a sub-standard experience. Or even worse something you could cook at home except you can do it better. Brighton has such a wealth of quirky little cafe’s and restaurants it’s hard to know which to choose.  Let Dr January recommend the perfect eatery to suit your mood and budget (all eateries have received the coveted HWSNBN stamp of approval)…

If you want a posh takeaway…

order from  Pizzaface, based in Kemptown, who deliver the yummiest pizza’s. Thin crusted, with the perfect mozzarella to tomato sauce ratio and with a range of inventive options with amusing names like Holy Cheeses (a personal favourite) and Vesuvius. Even better they offer gluten-free and vegan pizzas as well as a nice choice of side salads. For those who don’t already know, HWSNBN likes gluten but gluten it doesn’t like HWSNBN. Pizzaface’s gluten-free pizza is so good that he didn’t believe it was gluten-free and made me taste it, lots. I *may* have taken a slice or too longer than necessary to decide it was gluten-free.  The pizza’s are pricey at around 9 quid but personally I think it’s worth it for restaurant quality Italian food delivered straight to your doorstep.

If you’re organising a meal out with friends…

go to Steki’s, a traditional Greek taverna in the heart of Brighton. A recent discovery with two of my best friends, we were looking for somewhere wouldn’t break the bank and line our stomachs before a big night. As well as being very reasonable (14 quid for tapas to share), the food is lovely: Greek salads, stuffed vine leaves, houmous and pitta breads and as much halloumi and feta as you can eat (as well as loads of seafood). All within a stones throw of the West Pier. I visited with my parents today who had great fun practising their greek pronunciations with the waiters and trying the Greek beers. Make sure if you order the Greek salad to dress it with oil and vinegar otherwise the waitress will tell you, you’re not doing it right. Steki’s even have the straw covered bottom-numbing Greek chairs for that authentic atmosphere :0)

If you’re dining a deux…

visit the Chilli Pickle, think gourmet Indian cuisine with a modern twist. The food is stunning, clever combinations of herbs and spices enough to satisfy even the non-curry fanatics (aka moi) A word of warning however, unless you have a stomach of steel treat the hotness ratio on the menu with caution. Two chilli’s does not mean, as I thought Jalfrezi level of hotness think more Madras baby.  They’ve moved to a new premises in Jubilee Street with more space and HSWNB and I have been searching for a special occassion to revisit.

If you want to impress…

go to Food for Friends in the Laines. Yes, it only serves vegetarian food but HWSNBN, an avowed carnivore, has fallen hard for their innovative flavour combinations. The restaurant is light and airy and with much friendly staff than the nearby Terre a Terre. It’s got a great atmosphere, and if you get a window seat you can watch the world go by. Food for Friends feels like a true locals restaurant. I went out for dinner with my mum and sister and found myself sat next to a friend and her boyfriend. Try the Thai Platter to Share, the Tom Kha soup is mouth-watering good. I’m going there for a hen do this weekend and I cannot wait!

If you’re craving after club carbs…

drop into Casba’s on Western Road for Lebanese food. These are kebabs Jim, but not as you know them. According to HWSNB the kebabs are perfect, fresh, wholesome ingredients, topped with salads and sauces. More importantly they are great value for money. And they cater for vegetarians too with the best falafel wraps smothered in tonnes of houmous. The kind of food you would eat: drunk or sober. I wouldn’t eat anywhere else.

If you cake just like your women, big and covered in icing (some people are going to get very disappointed google results from that search term)…

eat at Metrodecco an Art deco cafe in Kemptown, which doubles as a furniture store. They have an amazing range of fresh leaf teas which always lead me into spasms of indecisiveness. Although Metrodecco do sandwiches, quiches and soups (all very good) you have to try the cake. Freshly baked the cakes change every time but my personal favourite:  parsnip and white chocolate cake is to die for. Best of all the cake is sliced up in very generous portions so you may have to have a sleep on the tiger print chaises longues after. I love spending an hour at Metrodecco, people watching and admiring the gorge thirties decor. The staff can sometimes be a little moody but I think it adds to the faux Parisian atmosphere.

If you’re not paying…

eat at Okinami’s, a Japanese restaurant, in the North Laines. Chic, contemporary Okinami does the best sushi for my money in Brighton. And I say this as a vegetarian who doesn’t eat fish, so the sushi must be good, the cocktails aren’t bad either. But you do pay for that quality as it is on the expensive side. Try it on a Mondays where sushi platters are under a fiver. While you’re waiting for your meal you can brush up on your origami skills with the instructions on your chopsticks wrapper.

These are my favourite eateries in Brighton and Hove. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect brunch, (beyond the good but packed Bills) any recommendations dear readers? Or Sunday lunch just like my Nan used to make it? Tell me what I’m missing.

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