In The Know Where To Go (2007)
This is an archived article from 2007.
View the up to date Sugarvine guide to all Restaurants in Blackpool
Whether it's a great wine list, a fantastic view or a private dining room, sometimes you just need to know where to go to get it. So after five years covering the Blackpool & Fylde dining scene, we decided it was high time we put our collective heads together to come up with some suggestions for you. We've deliberately limited ourselves to a single choice in each category, even though there are often multiple venues that would fit the bill. So here's Sugarvine's highly subjective guide to help you know where to go for. . .
A Great Wine List
OK, so strictly speaking it might not be on the Fylde Coast but it is (just) this side of the M6 and that's good enough for us. The Italian Orchard is set in acres of grounds off the Broughton to Longridge Road. The venue itself is huge and can accommodate up to 300 diners. There's a play area outside and plenty of space for the kids to run around leaving you in peace to get to grips with the wine list. Not the one on the back of the main menu but the one you have to ask for specially which runs to 200 or so all-Italian bins (with plenty of magnums) and reflects the owner's passion for Italian wines, all individually tasted and selected.
Special Dietary Requirements
If you're gluten-intolerant you're probably used to being treated like a leper when you eat out. For the rest of the population, most of us can't even spell coeliac never mind tell you that it means intolerance to wheat, barley and rye in the diet. Ajs Bistro on Blackpool's Topping Street is the place to head for as here all the sauces are freshly prepared and the gluten-free dishes don't contain any wheat products. There are even home-made rolls and pastas prepared with gluten-free flour. Low-cholesterol meals can also be prepared upon request.
Al Fresco Dining
One of the few pluses of global warming and the human race's imminent demise is that the British summer is not the joke it once was. The Mediterranean climate is moving north so you need to know where to go to eat under the stars. The best bet is Salvatores at Newton-with-Scales near Kirkham where there is a decked al fresco dining area. This popular Italian also boasts the area's only authentic brick-built, wood-fired pizza oven.
A Cheap Meal Out
Let's narrow this down to Indian, Chinese and Italian as rice and pasta are staple ingredients that don't exactly break the bank. Still loads of choice but we're going with Mammas Too in St Annes. Here you can get any lunchtime pizza for 3.25 or a full three-course set lunch for 5.95. Sure, there's bound to be some chain pub somewhere with steaks cheaper than a Ryanair flight but you can track that one down yourselves.
The Fylde's classiest private dining room is also the newest. Jali opened at the Best Western Carlton Hotel on Blackpool's North Promenade in May 2007. It's a sumptuously decorated fine dining Indian restaurant fitted out in high style and the private dining room - with an antique door from the subcontinent - seats up to 16 people. Jali's sister restaurant in Hastings has an AA rosette so you know to expect a little bit more than your average curry house.
A Great View
Blackpool is a seaside town so if you're looking for a rural panorama, try the Lake District. Best savoured during the Illuminations in September or October, the view from the White Tower restaurant at the Pleasure Beach takes in the promenade, the Irish Sea, the Lakeland Hills and - after dark - the famous lights. This penthouse restaurant is reached by elevator; very Las Vegas.
Farm Gate To Plate
Provenance is all the rage these days and any top-end restaurant worth its salt (and pepper) will rhapsodise at length on the menu about where the meat they are serving you was born and bred. (Are there any chickens left that weren't brought up in Goosnargh and fed on corn?) Rigbys Farmhouse Restaurant at Warton goes one better as much of the meat on their most traditional of menus comes direct from the family farm - Little Carrside - where you're sitting down to eat.
Where else but the Seafood Restaurant on Blackpool's Bond Street? The haunt of journos and politicians during the autumn Party Conference season, this retro restaurant is the place to go year-round for lobster, oysters, Dover Sole and other marine classics. Two of the waiting staff have been here more than 20 years and we'd be surprised if they'd seen many changes in the dcor in that time.
An Illicit Encounter
Nominally in Pilling, Springfield House Hotel is hard to find even if you're familiar with the highways and byways of the Over Wyre area. This classic Georgian-style country pile dates back to 1860 and has been lavishly refurbished by the new owners who took over in 2004. If it's that kind of illicit encounter you're planning, the hotel has eight well-equipped ensuite rooms to retire to after your meal. But remember sod's law states that the more effort you put into concealing your movements, the more likely you are to get busted.
A Wild Night Out
Too old for clubbing but still want something a bit more exciting than a taxi home after your meal? Head for Chicory in Lytham which scores highly on the bling factor (rich food, rich customers) then upstairs to their swish cocktail bar, Flamb (pictured above), where you can choose from more than 100 cocktails and a hand-picked champagne list.
Cleveleys promenade (they have one?) is now quite the happening place with a new cinema, pub and skatepark. But for live music fans, The Venue has been showcasing local talent for years. Before the gig you can sample the Med/Italian delights of La Mezzaluna on the first floor and, if you're lucky, enjoy a stunning sunset.
A First Date
A tough one. Do you take her (or him) somewhere flash and pricey and set the bar too high for the rest of your relationship? Or somewhere cheap and cheerful that shouts out housework and ironing rather than the desired sex and champagne? Twelve at Thornton's Marsh Mill village fits the bill. A funky new cocktail bar to break the ice, a minimal and modern ambience, Michelin Bib Gourmand cooking and it won't break the bank if you stick to the set menu.
Read More Features: Pub Food In The Fylde (2009) | The Hastings (2009) | Locanda Bragagnini (2008) | Exploring The Food Chain (2008) | Septembers (2007) | In The Know Where To Go (2007) - Twelve (2007) | The Bistro Experience (2007) | What's New For Fylde Diners (2006) | Chicory (2006) | Dining With The Stars (2006) | Gurkha Buffet (2006) | Where To Have A Party (2006) | Fylde Rugby Club (2005) | Three New Italians For The Fylde (2005) | Where To Eat By The Sea (2005) | Dining Choices Along The M55 (2005) | Whelans (April 2005) | Breaking The Mould (April 2005) | Michaels (Febuary 2005) | A Michelin Tour Of Lancashire (Febuary 2005) | The Gastrotourist (December 2004) | Bar Culture Comes To Town (December 2004) | Joya (October 2004) | Where To Eat In Warton And Freckleton (October 2004) | Fish & Chips, The Nation's Favourite (August 2004) | The Villa (August 2004) | Frankie & Benny's (June 2004) | The New Arrivals (June 2004) | The Italian Orchard (May 2004) | Where To Eat In Kirkham (May 2004) | The Gastrotourist (April 2004) | Indian Food In The Fylde (March 2004) | La Mezzaluna (March 2004) | Twelve (February 2004) | Fylde's Romantic Rendevous (February 2004) | The Atrium (January 2004) | Clifton Arms Hotel (December 2003) | Winter Warmers (December 2003) | Samurai Nights (November 2003) | Morena (November 2003) | Dangerous Liaisons (October 2003) | The Derby Arms (October 2003) | County Country Carvery (September 2003) | The Business Lunch (September 2003) | The Choice Is Yours (August 2003) | The Gastrotourist (August 2003) | Casa Verde (July 2003) | Where To Eat In Fleetwood (July 2003) | Bistro Gerry (June 2003) | Eating Al Fresco (June 2003) | Portofino (May 2003) | Thai Food On The Fylde (May 2003) | Eating Out Over Wyre (April 2003) | Rigby's Farmhouse (April 2003) | Terry's Balti House (March 2003) | In Search Of The X Factor (March 2003) | Great Fortune House (February 2003) | A Grand Night Out (February 2003) | Censored (January 2003) | Banthai (December 2002) | Simply The Best? (December 2002) | Dining With A Difference (November 2002) | Italian Food In The Fylde (October 2002) | Where To Eat Out In St. Annes (September 2002) | The Park Brasserie (August 2002) | A Room With A View (August 2002) | Chinese Food In The Fylde (July 2002) | Jack's Bistro (July 2002) | Where To Eat Out in Thornton-Cleveleys (June 2002) | The Red Fort (June 2002) | Set For Summer: 10 Fylde Country Pubs (May 2002) | Kwizeen (May 2002) | Where To Eat Out In Lytham (April 2002) | Tolley's Ryecroft Hall (April 2002) | The Best Hotel Dining In The Fylde (March 2002) | The Plough At Eaves (January 2002) | Greens Bistro (February 2002) | Where To Eat Out In Poulton (February 2002)