10 restaurants in Ipswich you have to visit

From left, Beth Cook, Nelly Keen and Hannah Huntly at Applaud Coffee in Ipswich. Picture: Contribute

From left, Beth Cook, Nelly Keen and Hannah Huntly at Applaud Coffee in Ipswich. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

From Pan-Asian to Moroccan and British with a twist, how many of these restaurants, pubs and cafes have you eaten at?

A platter of desserts at The Last Anchor in Ipswich. Picture: Contributed

A platter of desserts at The Last Anchor in Ipswich. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

The food scene in Ipswich is best described as multicultural. As well as traditional cafes and restaurants, Suffolk’s county town blooms with sushi and noodle bars, award-winning Asian and Indian restaurants, top drawer burger joints, and some exceptional Turkish eateries.

Here are our top picks for eating out.

Mariners

A classic dish at Aqua Eight, Ipswich. Picture: Contributed

A classic dish at Aqua Eight, Ipswich. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

This place can literally float your boat! Mariners can be found bobbing around on the tide at Ipswich’s Waterfront. Gleaming with polished glass and brass, and with pressed linen tablecloths and chandeliers, there’s a sense of grandeur to the restaurant which is not reflected in the very reasonable pricing of the set menus, at only £20.95 for three courses at lunch, and £29.95 in the evening. Flavours and presentation are superb.

On the menu: Recent additions have included gratinee of shellfish, and honey and yuzu parfait with confit orange and rosemary shortbread.

@ Twenty 5

A bento box at Takayama, Ipswich. Picture: Contributed

A bento box at Takayama, Ipswich. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

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A real family affair with a husband and wife duo at the helm. The ancient building, with its historic quirks, sets the scene for well conceived, nicely seasoned, generous plates of food. There’s always a bit of a buzz at this place, especially in summer when diners spill out onto the lovely terrace.

On the menu: Dishes have included Thai prawn curry, lobster mac and cheese and the regular house burger. Steaks are especially good here.

Aqua Eight

The Big Smoke burger at Love Thy Burger, Ipswich. Picture: Contributed

The Big Smoke burger at Love Thy Burger, Ipswich. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

One of the jewels in Ipswich’s dining crown. Think slick, cool interiors. A bar serving up top drawer spirits, fabulous cocktails and well chosen wine. And a menu of artisticly plated, mouth-wateringly good Pan-Asian cuisine. Booking is essential, especially on weekends.

On the menu: We have to recommend the soft shell crab cooked with curry leaf, the tender gyozas, and the sweet and sour pork, which is some of the best you’ll ever have.

The Last Anchor

Sea bass and tiger prawn ceviche at Mariners, Ipswich.

Sea bass and tiger prawn ceviche at Mariners, Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Another Waterfront favourite, The Last Anchor delivers a cracking venue with great views (especially at night time). Food is consistently good, and you can’t beat the mid week set dinner (£20.95) for value – especially pre-cinema.

Food is seasonal and interesting, with the menu mainly boasting bistro classics with a twist.

On the menu: Recently there’s been bouillabaisse of crayfish, king prawns and hake, and rump of lamb with roasted fennel, shallots, duchess potatoes and redcurrant and caper sauce.

A mixed grill at Casablanca, Ipswich. Picture: Su Anderson

A mixed grill at Casablanca, Ipswich. Picture: Su Anderson - Credit: Su Anderson

Love Thy Burger

A real burger joint. The interior is…interesting, with its raw wood tables. This is an informal kinda place where the focus is all on food. Burgers are hand-pressed in the kitchen using local butchers meat every day, and cooked to juicy perfection before being piled high with toppings, including an array of homemade sauces. Upgrade your burger to include the delectable rosemary fries and a soft drink for just £3.

On the menu: As much as we love the meaty creations, there’s no denying the brilliance of the vegetarian Goody Two Shoes burger. A substantial and flavoursome falafel patty layered with salad, grilled halloumi, garlic mayonnaise and homemade chilli jam.

Takayama

Food is the life of chef/patron De Xing Chen, who runs this Japanese/Korean restaurant with wife Irene. Watch the pro carve sushi, fresh to order in front of your very eyes. Try a bit of everything with one of the keenly priced bento boxes. Or satisfy your craving for Korean bulgogi. There are some unusual drinks to sample too, including sparkling sake.

On the menu: You won’t get fresher sushi. And the tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet)) is excellent.

The Arbor House

A smart but casual neighbourhood pub, just a hop and a skip from Christchurch Park. The team have got the formula so right. At the bar find a changing array of interesting and local beers (try the Barista Stout), and hard-to-find Waddle Goose Cyder from Aspall. The menu is succinct and formulated mostly from small plates to share, and a board scrawled with specials such as the ‘pie of the moment’. A homely place you’ll definitely go back to time and again.

On the menu: We enjoyed crisp halloumi chips with homemade tomato chilli jam, a gravity-defying burger, and moreish cod fritters with spinach aioli.

Applaud

Sister’s Hannah and Beth must be doing something right, as their cool, bijoux café on St Peter’s Street won them the Best Café trophy in the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards in 2016. The duo and their team know how to make the perfect cup of coffee. And the selection of cakes always offers something a bit different, as well as classics such as brownies and flapjacks. It’s a relaxing little town centre haven. Oh, and they make the best hot chocolate in town.

On the menu: The afternoon tea is really very good. And you have to try the cheese scones!

Berridges Tearoom

Easily missed, this traditional tearoom is hard to forget once you’ve found it. The serving staff in the eatery (about the jewellers) are so friendly and welcoming. And everything is made on site, from gigantic salads and warming soups and stews, to the magnificent cakes, which take centre stage in the dining room. Tables are limited so booking ahead is recommended.

On the menu: Don’t miss the cakes. The gooey chocolate cake (warmed up) is out of this world good, as is the fabulous, tangy lemon meringue pie.

Casablanca

A Lebanese/Moroccan restaurant with intricately detailed décor and a customer-facing grill, which sends the scents and sounds of the kitchen whirling around the dining room. Everything we’ve tried here has been generously sized and brimming with flavour. And the front of house team can’t do enough for diners.

On the menu: The meatballs are so succulent and come with a delicately herby tomato sauce. And, oh, the lamb chops!

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