It’s scorchio! Places to eat alfresco in the Chester sunshine.

The beauTiful river dee

The beauTiful river dee

Ok so it’s April, it may not last, but we have another warm sunny day forecast and all our fingers crossed for a lovely summer.

Opera Bar & Grill - gorgeous rooftop restaurant ideal for a cocktail or a glass of fizz, people watching, live music and great food. A real treat! http://individualrestaurants.com/bar-and-grill/opera-grill/

Operas GLAMOROUS rooftop terrace

Operas GLAMOROUS rooftop terrace

The Moorings - beautiful little riverside cafe equally good for breakfast as it is for afternoon tea or a glass of wine in the sunshine. http://themooringschester.co.uk/

Outdoor riverside seAting at the moorings

Outdoor riverside seAting at the moorings

Porta. Open from 5pm every night this small and intimate tapas bar has outdoor seating up against Chesters Roman city walls. The food is excellent and comes when it’s ready. A great atmosphere here, and no bookings. https://www.portatapas.co.uk/

Porta Seating next to the city walls from 5pm

Porta Seating next to the city walls from 5pm

The Architect - a Brunning & Price pub with huge beer garden and terrace overlooking Chester Racecourse - the oldest racecourse in the UK! The food is good British gastro pub, great wines and a huge selection of gin! This pub gets very busy on race days. https://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/architect/

The terrace at the architect, overlooking chester racecourse

The terrace at the architect, overlooking chester racecourse

Carluccios Italian. One of the many restaurants on Bridge Street (pedestrianised to the Chester cross) with outdoor seating. Most are chains with the exception of Urbano32 (great pizza) and The Burger Shed. This area is great for people watching in the sunshine or a lunchtime shopping break.

People watching in bridge st at carluccios

People watching in bridge st at carluccios

Hickories Smokehouse - authentic American Barbeque on the banks of the River Dee. A great spot for children! https://hickorys.co.uk/venue/chester/

Riverside barbeque

Riverside barbeque

Snugburys on the River, our Ice Cream Cafe. This cafe opened at the beginning of the year and has been a huge success - as well as award winning ice cream there’s great coffee, delicious cakes and a lovely range of sandwiches. In the winter there’s hot puds! Dog friendly too. If it’s a great day it can run out of all food but ice cream… definitely a destination when I’m in Chester! http://www.snugburys.co.uk/2019/02/18/snugburys-on-the-river-chester/

Award winning ice cream at snugburys on the river

Award winning ice cream at snugburys on the river

Covino. A gorgeous little wine bar with food, the chefs are linked to our wonderful restaurant The Chefs Table, so the quality of the menu and wine is fantastic. There’s a tiny little courtyard at the back but I’ve not got a photo - yet! https://www.covino.co.uk/

theres a terrace out back!

theres a terrace out back!

The White Horse, Chester Racecourse - this is a great pub for Sunday lunch, just lunch, dinner… with kids (there’s a play area), with grown ups, for a big celebration or just for pizza. The setting on the racecourse is stunning and the food delicious. https://www.thewhitehorsechester.co.uk/

StYlish pub on the racecourse

StYlish pub on the racecourse

Et Alia is a little way out of town but worth the trip for the lovely Italian food and views back to Chester and over the meadows towards Handbridge. Arrive in style by boat to the jetty at the end of the garden. http://www.etaliachester.co.uk

Et alia river garden

Et alia river garden

The Mount Inn - again a little walk out of town but not far. This delightful local pub serves a limited menu of good food, has fires in the winter, sport on the telly, and that view. https://www.mountinnchester.co.uk/

Balcony at the mount inn

Balcony at the mount inn

The Pheasant at Burwardsley - a drive out of Chester into the surrounding countryside. If you are thinking of exploring Beeston Castle, visiting The Ice Cream Farm or walking the Sandstone Trail this is a great destination pub. The Pheasant is famous for its spectacular views over the Cheshire plain towards Liverpool (on a clear day you can see both cathedrals) and the Snowdonian mountains. http://thepheasantinn.co.uk/

A country pub with a view

A country pub with a view

Or, grab a sumptuous picnic from www.lacucinadipaola.it, a rug and a bottle of something delicious and and go for a wander!

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Secret Roman Chester & my Current Top 5 Italian Foodie Destinations...

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So Chester is a Roman city - the MOST Roman city in the UK.  How amazing is that? If you saw the Channel 4 programme Britains most Historic Towns, episode one you would have seen that todays Chester follows exactly the 2000 year old footprint of Deva Victrix, founded in 79AD. There are Roman artefacts and ruins everywhere, large and obvious for all to see, such as the building fragments unearthed in the 19th century and displayed in the Roman Gardens (home to the Chesters Moonlight Flicks - the summer pop-up outdoor cinema) the Roman city walls and the amphitheatre.  But have you visited the secret archeological finds hidden in the basements of Pret-a-manger - the huge original Roman pillars still showing the axe marks from when they were carved by slaves all those thousands of years ago, or the original 'hypocaust' (under floor heating to you and me) in the basements of Spud-u-like in Bridge Street and the former Miss Selfridge in Northgate Street.  

Original Roman columns in Pret...

Original Roman columns in Pret...

Then theres the base of a Roman column in a sunken yard between Watergate Street and Weaver Street, the Roman strong room visible down a tiny alleyway next to The Dublin Packet pub, and the Roman quay wall (from when Chester was a port and the city faced out to open sea) that can be seen if you hang over the walls looking out over the famous racecourse.  

Chester's Roman history is compelling, there must be a little bit of Roman ancestry still walking the walls of our compact and ancient city, and perhaps that is part of the draw for present day Italians making Chester their home, our very own Little Italy?

So. My Top 5 Italian foodie destinations in Chester:

La Fattoria - Bridge Street - the Chester Institution, exactly what you want from a family run Italian restaurant, big portions, rustic tasty food and Italian staff that talk loud and fast.

Gustum Panini - A gorgeous little panini cafe on the walls at the top of Northgate Street.  Amazing flavours, excellent coffee and a warm welcome from Marco.

Professor Alice Roberts from Britain’s Most Historic Towns pays a visit to Marco at Gustum

Professor Alice Roberts from Britain’s Most Historic Towns pays a visit to Marco at Gustum

Stile Napoletano Pizza in the Chester Market - a newcomer and only open 11-4pm Monday - Saturday but so worth the wander for the fabulous pizza washed down with a Moretti. 

Gino Gelato - Ok so this is an Irish/Italian Gelato shop, but it is totally delicious.  The pistachio is to die for as is the Salted Butter Caramel and the Black Forest Cheesecake.  They also make excellent waffles and crepes, but its the gelato that sets my heart racing.

Atina Kitchen - Italian cuisine with a British twist and our local at No.5 - I love this place - the original Marks and Spencers on Foregate Street, its got such a great atmosphere and is just the best place to have a lazy weekend brunch with plenty of buzz and people watching.  The food is great and this family run gem is award winning.

Of course there are others - perhaps a part 2 in the pipeline, but for now these are the little independent Romans that are stand out for me.  Which is your favourite?

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Pizza heaven at Stile Napoletano