There are many places locals love to eat in Derby, which range from simple food stalls to converted pubs within UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In recent years, the dining scene has been transformed by the kind of talent and imagination that made this vibrant Midlands city’s fortunes in the first place.

    Many visitors ignore Derby in their hurry to reach the countryside idyll of the Peak District National Park. Yet, those who can put off the Derbyshire countryside for just a little longer will be rewarded with restaurants and cafés that manage to combine the region’s rich industrial heritage with a contemporary twist. This guide shows you where to find Derby's best local food.                               

    1

    The Cotton Shed at Darley Abbey Mills

    A marriage of industrial heritage and good food

    • Food
    • History

    The Cotton Shed is a local favourite in Derby’s dining scene. This converted pub is within the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, overlooking the River Derwent and one of its historic bridges from the Darley Abbey Mills development.

    Small sharing plates and casual grazing boxes make The Cotton Shed a great place for dining out with friends. Once a cotton polishing factory, the building still retains much of its original character, with exposed brick, vaulted ceilings, and cast-iron beams adding to the relaxed ambience.

    Location: Darley Abbey Mills, The Cotton Shed, Haslams Lane, Derby DE22 1DZ, UK

    Open: Thursday–Friday from noon to 11 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 11.30 am to 11 pm (closed from Mondays to Wednesdays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1332 980790

    Map

    photo by Humphrey Bolton (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Anoki

    Upmarket Indian cuisine in a theatrical setting

    • Food

    Anoki is a smart and sophisticated Indian restaurant that breathed new life into Derby’s Old Picture House when it opened in 2003. The ornate decor and attentive service set it apart from the run-of-the-mill curry houses – even its name means ‘unique’ in the Urdu language.

    Tables clad in crisp white linen stand beneath a gilded, vaulted ceiling. Laden with crowd-pleasers like rogan josh, chicken tikka and korma, Anoki has many customers become returnees. Make a point of trying at least one of the more unusual dishes on the menu.

    Location: 129 London Rd, Derby DE1 2QN, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 5.30 pm to 11 pm (close on Sundays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1332 292888

    Map
    3

    Bustler Market

    Bringing global flavours to the heart of Derby

    • Food
    • Budget

    Bustler Market is a street food venue in Derby’s centrally-located industrial quarter. This award-winning market offers a wide selection of delicious food, craft beers and cocktails in a family-friendly setting.

    Try flavoursome food from Kebab Cartel, which brings a taste of the Middle East with spit-roasted lamb and chicken shawarma bowls. You’ll find Asian fare from Homeboys UK, grilled cheese sourdough toasties from The Toastie Club, and vegan doughnuts with a whole host of toppings from Flats Doughnuts.

    Location: 7 John St, Derby DE1 2LU, UK

    Open: Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from noon to 10 pm, Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm

    Map
    4

    Spanish Bar Lorentes

    Authentic Spanish fare served up in the British Midlands

    • Food

    Spanish Bar Lorentes lies in the heart of Derby’s Cathedral Quarter but once you step inside, you’re transported to sunnier climes. Those who work in the Lorentes kitchen have a knowledge and passion that shine in the extensive menu.

    Spanish produce such as Manchego cheese and chistorra sausage from Pamplona are skilfully combined to create dishes that are as authentic as any you might consume in the Iberian peninsula. Sure, you’ll find some of these dishes on the menu of any self-respecting tapas joint, but you’ll also find plenty to surprise you.

    Location: 118 Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1EX, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Friday from 4 pm to 10 pm, Saturday–Sunday from noon to 10 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +44 (0)7508 706982

    Map
    5

    The Squashed Tomato

    A local-favourite cafe in the Cathedral Quarter

    • Food

    The Squashed Tomato is one of Derby’s most popular cafes. It opened in 2017 to rave reviews, and as a consequence of its friendly service and mouth-wateringly good food, it’s as busy as ever.

    A good selection of sandwiches, filled jacket potatoes, and cakes are made on the premise. There’s plenty of choice for vegans, vegetarians and those requiring a gluten-free diet. Loose-leaf tea and decent coffee make this an equally smart choice for a mid-morning stop, while afternoons are all about the cream teas.

    Location: 16 The Strand, Derby DE1 1BE, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 3 pm, Saturday from 9.30 am to 3 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1332 348793

    Map
    6

    The Palfrey

    An award-winning bar and restaurant in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter

    • Food
    • Nightlife

    The Palfrey is an award-winning bar and restaurant in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter. It gained the title ‘Restaurant of the Year’ in 2019 by a local publication, an impressive feat given the fact that it opened just 3 years prior. Serving creative, contemporary cuisine, it occupies a stylish split-level premise in the historic Old Blacksmiths Yard on Sadlergate.

    Downstairs is a bar with a rustic industrial vibe and attached courtyard for outdoor casual dining and drinks. Upstairs is an intimate restaurant. The open kitchen lets you see The Palfrey’s talented chefs in action.

    Location: Old Blacksmiths Yard, Derby DE1 3PD, UK

    Open: Wednesday–Thursday from 5 pm to 11 pm, Friday from 5 pm to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight, Sunday from noon to 7 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1332 293135

    Map
    7

    The Wonky Table

    A fusion of flavours awaits at this charming, casual eatery

    • Food

    The Wonky Table’s mantra is “Eat, Drink, Smile” and that’s surely what you'll find in in this quirky Derby restaurant. Rustic, casual and unique, this is a place where the staff put their heart and soul into what they serve.

    Fresh seasonal produce sourced from local independent suppliers ensures that the food is consistently top quality. The menu is global and eclectic – think Thai fishcakes, Moroccan tagines, and all-American key lime pie. One thing you won’t find? A wonky table.

    Location: 32-33 Sadler Gate, Derby DE1 3NR, UK

    Open: Monday–Wednesday and Friday from 5 pm to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight, Sunday from noon to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1332 295000

    Map
    8

    Annie’s Burger Shack

    As genuine a diner as you’ll find this side of the Atlantic

    • Food

    Annie’s Burger Shack is a burger joint in Derby that interestingly has its roots in Rhode Island, USA. The owner grew up not far from Providence (home of America’s first-ever diner) before moving to the UK. As its name suggests, Annie’s specialises in burgers, made fresh and seasoned on the grill the American way. It’s as far removed from fast food as a beef patty can get – or a vegan burger, for that matter.

    What sets this place apart from other diners are the cask ales that accompany those handcrafted burgers. Also known as cask-conditioned beer or real ale, it’s a beer that undergoes secondary fermentation in the barrel to increase the depth of flavour.

    Location: Friary St, Derby DE1 1JF, UK

    Open: Monday–Thursday 4 pm to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 8.30 am to 10.30 am and from noon to 10 pm, Sunday from 8.30 am to 10.30 am and from noon to 9.30 pm

    Map
    9

    Cosy Club

    Enjoy local-favourite dishes in a sumptuous setting

    • Food

    Cosy Club Derby serves comfort food in the lovingly restored Royal Hotel which opened in 1837. In its gentrified state, replete with elegant chandeliers and striking wallpaper, it’s not difficult to imagine what it would have been like to dine in the hotel’s grand banqueting suite.

    But the food on offer is anything but stuffy, with comfort food staples like slow-roasted pork belly, macaroni cheese, and buttermilk chicken dominating the menu. Desserts are no less pleasing, with the likes of Eton Mess and caramelised apple tart among Cosy Club Derby's must-tries.

    Location: Royal Building, Victoria St, Derby DE1 1ES, UK

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1332 631004

    Map
    10

    The BookCafé

    Enjoy popular cafe favourites in a historic setting

    • Food

    The BookCafé started as a quaint but tiny bookshop in York before switching cities to Derby. For the past decade, the cafe has occupied what was once a bank. It was instrumental in helping to restore the 1879 building to its former glory.

    The result is a cosy cafe that emphasises comfort food and friendly service. Regulars indulge a sweet tooth with blueberry breakfast pancakes – perfect for a weekend brunch – or opt for something more savoury, such as pulled pork bao buns or baked sweet potato with homemade harissa spiced mixed beans.

    Location: Corn Market, Derby DE1 1QH, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9.30 am to 4 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1332 294008

    Map

    photo by Paul the Archivist (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    Julia Hammond | Contributing Writer

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