Eating in Sheffield

                       Mama's and Leonie's                                        Eating at the bar                                       Downstairs in Mama's 

Mama's and Leonie's,111-115 Norfolk Street, S1 2JE (0114 272 0490), is near the Crucible and Lyceum Theatres, the Town Hall (opened by Queen Victoria in 1897) and Sheffield Winter Gardens, and is about 10 minutes walk from the railway station. Mama's is the oldest Italian Restaurant in Sheffield, opened in 1968, not cheap, not expensive, but excellent value. There is plenty of sitting space downstairs and upstairs (upstairs is usually booked tables only, whilst downstairs is mostly first come first served). In addition, there are 10 seats around a bar overlooking the kitchen area, where you can watch your food being prepared, cooked and served up, and you can converse with the friendly staff. However, be warned, it does regularly get very busy and social discourse with the efficient staff then becomes nearly impossible, as they also then have to meet the needs of others, and not just me!

The last time I visited I had the surprisingly very filling chicken and bacon salad, but missing out the croutons (with concern for my wasteline), a great feast that fills the gap for me every time. With a half litre of the house red wine, this cost me less than £20.

Visiting football teams often stay at the hotel (MacDonalds, really:-) just down from Mama's, next to the Winter Gardens and facing the Town Hall, or use it for their base when arriving earlier in the day for evening matches. So, this is a likely place to spot your team when supporting the away club in Sheffield.

During the World Snooker Championship held at the Crucible Theatre every year, Mama's is regularly visited by snooker celebrities, including Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Parrot and Denis Taylor (I have a story to tell about a certain close friend who fell asleep whilst sitting in between Parrot and Taylor one Saturday, but that's a story for another day, and a great anecdote).


            Silversmiths                                      Inside Silversmiths Restaurant                                                 The Milestone 
I was told that one of Gordon Ramsay's programmes had been to Silversmiths Restaurant & Bar, 111 Arundel Street S1 2NT (0114 270 6160). This was the first I had heard about it, but every review I have seen of this restaurant has given it an excellent rating and, after my own visit, I found this to be deservedly so.

Silversmiths was opened in July 2008 and is located in a 200 year old building in the city centre, not far from Sheffield Hallam University and the railway station, in the “cultural quarter” of Sheffield. The restaurant uses fresh local and free range produce from only small, family and independent suppliers, worth commending in itself.

They have 3 menus, following Ramsay's suggestion of set menus for less busy times, an a la carte menu Fridays and Saturdays, a special 'Pie Night' on Tuesdays, and 'Chef's Special Set Menu' on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2 courses costing £14 and 3 courses £16. The restaurant is open Tuesdays to Thursdays 5.30-11.30pm and on Fridays to Saturdays 5-11.30pm. The latest time to reserve a table is at 9.30pm, except for theatre nights on Fridays and Saturdays, when they have a 'post theatre' offer of £14 for 2 courses for tables booked between 10 and 10.30pm.

I certainly do add my personal recommendation to all that I have seen written elsewhere, the food is very good, the service is very friendly and excellent too. To see examples of Silversmiths' menus, look at their website, that can be reached by clicking on their name above.

Another Sheffield restaurant/bar that recently won a national competition Gordon Ramsay has also been involved in, is the Milestone, 84 Green Lane S3 8SE (0114 272 8327), a 'gastro pub' close to the Shalesmoor/Kelham Island pub circuit. This is another restaurant that champions local and free range produce, with a bar that is gradually being pushed to the back of their priorities, concentrating more and more on the restaurant side of the business.

I have not eaten at the Milestone, so can make no informed comment, however, somewhere strongly recommended by Ramsay cannot be all that bad. The business also has very recently taken over and re-opened another bar/restaurant in the centre of Sheffield in the legal quarter, behind the Cathedral, the Wig and Pen, 44 Compo Lane S1 2EG (0114 272 2150). Further details can be found on the Milestone's website.

The Red Deer, University Arms, Fat Cat, Hillsborough Hotel and New Barrack Tavern have all been mentioned amongst the real ale bars to visit and many pubs sell the usual bar snacks plus sandwiches and other food.

In addition, there are the 3 Weatherspoons pubs, which don't need my introduction, with their usual range of fare, if money rather than quality is your requirement; you know what you'll be getting.