In 2018 The Times declared Sheffield the Northern Capital of Cool.
In 2022 The Observer Food Monthly awards gave 5/6 Runners Up spots across the Food and Drink categories to Sheffield establishments. So are we now the Northern Capital of Food too?
This is the bit where we need to be the most Sheffield of all things Sheffield (humble) and say a huge congrats to Roots in York and The Ginger Viking in Dorset for winning the food and drink categories respectively. This article is not trying to take anything away from their success.
Instead, we want to highlight the fact that Bench, Tonco, The Orange Bird and Public (a winner for Best Place to Drink in 2018's awards), along with The Mowbray (which featured as a runner up in the Best Sunday Lunch category) have really turned the heads of foodies across the country. It's not often one city gets so many spots in such a prestigious award.
And more than celebrating their achievements, we spoke to a few of them to find out why they think Sheffield has suddenly become so central to the food and drink scene.
"Sheffield has always been a city that's got on with doing it's thing a little out of the limelight and i think over the last few years, largely led by independents, it's developed in to a really interesting place for start-up food and drink businesses.
It benefits from relatively cheap rents where people can get in and create something beautiful and the people in Sheffield are really passionate about supporting these independent businesses. The coverage it's now beginning to receive is testament to all the hard work that these people have put in."
"In Sheffield everyone seems to know everyone else and supports them where possible. A lot of the best places to eat and drink are important parts of their local communities, who are very proud of their local bars and restaurants and are happy to shout about them - locally and nationally.
Sheffield is a very diverse city supported by an influx of students from all over the world, which brings ideas, creativity, and customers. And there is still space for more great restaurants and bars to grow, which will in turn push the scene that already exists."
"There's so much will and endeavour from creative people using their skills and driving their ideas into creating these wonderful food and drink experiences.
This goes hand in hand with the amazing guests who support and champion independent places."
“There has always been good places to eat and drink in Sheffield and there is now a new wave of people who have gone on to open their own places. It’s great to see these venues get the national coverage they, and the city, deserves.”
Tonco is one of the most friendly restaurants you'll find. Working with big, bold flavours in a really modern and unique way, they offer eclectic sharing plates and fabulous wine.
Bench is a scintillating restaurant slash neighbourhood hangout with communal bistro-style dining serving seasonal dishes alongside cocktails, natural wine and beer.
Public is quite simply stunning. Occupying the former gent’s toilet below the grade-1 listed Victorian town hall, Public is a tiny haven of fine drinks and delicious food - or as it was once described: ‘A Wes Anderson train carriage crowbarred in to an old bog’.
The Orange Bird is a buzzing neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of Hillsborough. Their food is based around modern South African, cooked over a Braai (don't worry, you'll see when you get there), with plenty of local charm and twist.
Book a private event from candlelit Wedding Feast, Private Dining, creative away day or conference. You can also book on an occasional Supper or Lunch Club in this restored steel merchants from 1889.
We love championing the scene, so we also asked where they recommend to go experience other parts of Sheffield's food and drink offering. Take a look below to see what they selected, but also check out others which are a bit more under the radar and don't have websites of their own, such as Noodlesta and Kurdistan Restaurant, as well as some classic northern pub grub from places like Fagan's (famous for the Pete McKee street art on the side of it).
Bringing contemporary Italian-style cookery to lively Abbeydale Road. Get there early for their famous cannoli.
The Pangolin is a craft beer specialist in Hillsborough that is well loved (and highly rated) by those who know. They have a bottle shop but also a tap room and have a range of wines and spirits to go with the events they frequently put on.
Conveniently over the road from Millhouses Park, Crumb is a bakery specialising in bread, pastries and doughnuts during the day and a pizzeria by night.
The largest food hall in the North of England, Cutlery Works is over two floors featuring a mixture of permanent and semi-permanent unique and independent restaurants, communal dining spaces, bars and coffee roasters.
Since opening in 2016, this urban restaurant influenced by nature, has been busy wowing food critics and customers alike, garnering awards and is consistently ranked amongst the best restaurants in the country via the likes of the The Good Food Guide and Michelin Guide.
Two Thirds is an independent craft beer bar and bottle shop with 16 rotating craft, draught beer lines from around the world and a giant beer fridge showcasing over 200 bottles & cans.
Specialising in Sardinian soul food in the heart of Little Kelham, this family run gem delivers an authentic and vast variety of dishes. A beautiful outside seating area is perfect for aperitivos in the sun.
Heist have converted this two-roomed old factory into an airy, bright taproom and bar. With Slap & Pickle serving up the grub and arcade games and shuffleboard to go with over 30 beers on tap (plus 100 in cans and bottles), wine, spirits and retro soft drinks - you know this is a place you'll be able to spend some time.
V or V is Sheffield’s first fully meat-free licensed restaurant located on Cornish Street in Kelham Island. Their exciting and ever developing plant based menus use both locally sourced and international ingredients to create familiar dishes with their very own style.
A beautiful repurposed space and cobbled courtyard, combining their passion for heritage with an equal passion for coffee, beer, cocktails, and burgers.
A fantastic old industrial space brought to you by the team behind Peddler Market, Factory Floor is all about taste, flavour and experimentation.