With Spring here and the weather warming up, many are looking for a great place to grab a bite and unwind.

After looking online, consulting residents, and working with various colleagues in the Echo's Darlington office, we have compiled a list of some of our favourite places to grab a bite (or drink) in the town centre.

While this is not a definitive ranking of the best places to grab lunch in Darlington, all of the eateries featured on this list provide some good grub.

Here are 12 of the best places to grab lunch in Darlington town centre.

Vineyard Cafe, Post House Wynd

The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo have compiled a list of the 12 best places to grab lunch in Darlington town

This eatery offers up coffee, tea and cakes and has proven a hit with the town's residents.

The Echo's Digital Audience and Content Editor Patrick Gouldsbrough said he was a big fan of the cafe, located on Post House Wynd, and praised its "cosy atmosphere."

He said: “My favourite place for lunch in Darlington is Vineyard Cafe - the coffee is amazing, and they do such a range of sandwiches, both hot and cold.

"It's a cosy atmosphere but there's plenty of space. A brilliant find on Post House Wynd."

The Wandering Duck, Grange Road

The Northern Echo:

A favourite of one of our editors, Andrew White, The Wandering Duck (TWD) boasts a slogan of "Wander in, Waddle out."

With a quick glance of the menu, and accounts from various Echo staff members, this is not without merit.

The breakfast and brunch restaurant, located on Grange Road, carries an impressive range of sandwiches for those looking to indulge on their lunch break.

From the smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese bagel, to the pan-fried steak sandwich with onions and peppers, the venue has a wide range of delicious food on offer.

The sandwiches are served from 12pm onwards along with salads, while various bar snacks such as marinated olives and salted pretzels are also available.

In fact, for those looking to grab a breakfast meal, which is served from 9am to 3pm, our very own Chris Lloyd reviewed the TWD and rated it an impressive 8/10.


Another denizen of the Indoor Market, Sides offers brunch with a twist, including burgers, sandwiches and a wide range of side dishes.

A spokesperson for Sides said 90 per cent of all food sold at by the vendor is homemade.

They have pledged that all items will be sourced from the "best suppliers" and sourced locally where possible.

They have also promised “restaurant-quality food in cardboard containers” from the business which will open in the street food hall.

Imperial Express, Northumberland Street

The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo have compiled a list of the 12 best places to grab lunch in Darlington town

Imperial Express is a continental cafe which serves up a variety of delicious food and specialises in Italian wines.

Another suggestion from the esteemed Andrew White, he said the cafe was in a league of its own.

He praised the food on offer, the atmosphere, and presentation of the venue.

He said: “Imperial Express is a cut above. Delicious food and friendly service in lovely surroundings.

"A touch of class.”

Hash Bar and Kitchen, Coniscliffe Road

The Northern Echo:

This restaurant and bar, located on Coniscliffe Road close to Number Twenty2, is family run business open since 2015.

The eatery is known for its sandwiches, fries, and cocktails (though we would not recommend this on a work lunch break), and is beloved by many a Darlington resident.

This sentiment was certainly shared by our staff after one mentioned them in the discussion, and it was quickly met with approval.

The restaurant caters to a mix of palates, perfect for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike.

From a chicken shawarma, hummus and pickle sandwich, to a goat's cheese and red onion marmalade sandwich, the venue carries a range of different sandwiches that all look tasty.

Spud Gun Loaded Fries, Darlington Indoor Market

The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo have compiled a list of the 12 best places to grab lunch in Darlington town

This establishment, which sadly has announced its closure at the end of March, was the first answer to come from our Regional Audience and Engagement Editor, Amy Smith, when collecting information on the office's favourite places to eat.

Those looking to try the stall and its delicious loaded fries and mouthwatering smash burger will have to act quickly as the business leaves the indoor market on March 31.

Amy Smith said: “Top pick for lunch in Darlington for me has to be either the pizza loaded fries or the bacon cheese fries from Spud Gun in the Indoor Market.

“Massive portions, reasonably priced and always cooked fresh to order.

“The PB&J burger is also one to try but maybe not for lunch as combined with the fries you'll end up in a food coma for the rest of the day. 

“Also, Spud Gun, if you're reading this, bring back the spicy fries you used to do.”

The Black Olive Deli, Grange Road

The Northern Echo:

One of this writer's personal favourites, this delicatessen is a perfect place for a quick bite to eat.

Those looking for a filling lunch, with a bit of a treat, would do well to peruse their wide array of sandwiches and bagels which seemingly fly off the shelves at lunchtime.

This reporter's personal picks would be the beef and horseradish sandwich, the pasta selection, and even the pulled pork scotch egg (though admittedly this a bit heavy).

Outside of this, hungry visitors will be greeted with a range of baked goods and cheeses.

Adding to this, the deli has a selection of sweet treats including brownies, tarts and other decadent delights.

H Taylor & Sons Ltd, Skinnergate

The Northern Echo:

A favourite of our very own Andy White, 'Taylor's' carries loads of savoury pies and other meaty meals.

Their pork pies proved extremely popular among those working at the Echo, who seemed lost for words when describing them.

Outside of these takeaway options, the cafe also sports various meal options such as the mince slice, chicken curry, and roast beef and pork.

First established in 1922 by Harry Taylor, the business has spanned several generations of the same family and gradually expanded to become one of the regions most popular butchers.

For those looking for a good pie, or just some warm food, you certainly can't go wrong with Taylor's.

Thomas the Baker, High Row

The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo have compiled a list of the 12 best places to grab lunch in Darlington town

This shop, which has recently become a favourite of several members of the office, boasts a wide variety of tasty baked goods and delicious sandwiches.

Our Darlington reporter Tom Burgess singled the store out as being one of his favourite places for a lunchtime break.

He said: "The sandwiches there are fantastic. The bread and the size of the sandwiches are quality.

"There are also a good range of puddings for those with a sweet tooth like me."

The chain also has locations across the North East and North Yorkshire -  with these located in Middlesbrough, Stokesley, Richmond, Northallerton, Bedale, Thirsk, and Ripon.

Falafel Fella, Clark's Yard

The Northern Echo:

This vegan-friendly falafel restaurant is located in Clark's Yard, just off Skinnergate past Al Forno.

The eatery boasts freshly prepared authentic Syrian food, with a menu offering various falafel deals along with desserts such as baklava and basbousa.

The fast food joint also offers chicken wraps, chips, hummus, halloumi wraps, and salad.

Adding to this, it sports other food such as babba-ganoush, Syrian flat bread, muhammara, matubl shwander, and fattoush.

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The Northern Echo:

This Asian Fusion restaurant is ranked #2 on TripAdvisor for best restaurants in Darlington and is located on Gladstone Street.

It is open 12 and 3:30pm every day and offers a mix of Chinese and Thai dishes.

One resident said: "The food was amazing.

"My favourite was the peanut sauce, to die for, but overall the service was 5/5.

"Would recommend here and now has become our usual Sunday eating spot."

Echo 3 Coffee House and Roastery, Clark's Yard

The Northern Echo:

This coffee house is loved by Darlington residents and has received rave reviews online to match this.

On TripAdvisor, Echo 3 currently holds a rating of 5/5 stars, with one reviewer calling it the "best coffee in Darlington by a mile."

Adding to its wide coffee selection, the shop also sells tasty baked goods such as tarts, cakes, brownies and flapjacks.

Additionally, the business is dog-friendly which means those wishing to bring their furry pals along are free to do so.

This venue is a big favourite of our social media expert, and this comes as no surprise with the food and coffee possessing that 'instagrammable' quality.

If you feel we've missed any of your favourite places to grab a bite, be sure to let us know and we will do our best to give them a go.