Our food writers have visited around 50 venues this year, a third of them new, with cuisines ranging from Japanese and Indian to pizza joints and burger bars.
Dining is certainly more informal these days, but there has been no relaxing of standards. Provenance continues to be a key consideration for discerning diners and the watchwords ‘local’ and ‘ethical’ remain a good indicator of quality.
The other key trend in our area is for bistro nights in cafés and bars that don’t usually open in the evening. Most offer great food at bargain prices – and a great atmosphere to boot. Watch out for more in 2016.
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Meanwhile, here’s our top ten of the year…
Expect a big Italian welcome - and plateful - at Dino’s on Ecclesall Road.
But there’s a twist, as chef Adel Riahi is Tunisian, and adds the spicy or seafood flavours of his homeland to the Mediterranean menu.
His family work together to run the restaurant like clockwork, while fiery pollo inferno pasta and chunky calzone is a good shout.
* Dino’s, 762 Ecclesall Road, 0114 2667702 www.dinosrestaurants.co.uk/
Cross Scythes Hotel
One of the city’s longest-established inns is enjoying fresh acclaim following the arrival of new head chef Simon Ayres.
A traditional pub with an upmarket feel, it offers good old-fashioned service and a comfortable place to spend the night, as well as top notch food and drink. The menu has been halved, but everything is now freshly made on the premises.
* Cross Scythes Hotel, Baslow Road, Totley, Sheffield (0114) 236 0204 www.cross-scythes.co.uk
Sheffield has seen an explosion in Japanese restaurants this year - the finest we’ve found is Koko.
The minimalist venue is a slice of something new for Ecclesall Road and owner Stuart Macfarlane, who also has Sakushi in the city centre, and has branched out from just sushi,
This is more leisurely, luxurious dining than its older sister. Delicate, miso-marinated cod and superb steak with oriental sauce both come in a bento-style box packed with extras.
* Koko Restaurant, 503 Ecclesall Road (0114) 2662843 www.kokorestaurant.co.uk/
Bakewell’s newest arrival is a partnership between New Close Farm Shop and accomplished local chef Carl Riley. The result is a restaurant that not only grows its own meat but also transforms it into sublime dishes.
Combining coffee bar, bistro and fine dining restaurant, it serves an impressive seasonal menu ranging from snacks to full meals.
* Riley’s, Bridge Street, Bakewell (01629) 815613 www.rileys-bakewell.co.uk
Vegetarian head chef Jonathan Tite has freshened up the menu at The Showroom with his creative flair.
But there’s plenty of meat and fish, along with innovative gluten free and vegan, choices. From
* The Showroom, Paternoster Row, Sheffield city centre, S1 2BX (0114) 2495479 http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/food-drink/
Trippets Lounge Bar
Arguably the most exciting arrival in the city centre this year, with a welcoming environment, a dramatic monochrome interior and a strapline of ‘Fizz, gin… and all that jazz’.
New owners Carl and Debbie Shaw run the place with daughter Hollie and son James, offering beer, wine, more than 50 gins, live music and ‘tasting plates’ by Alex Dobson, former head chef with the Orient Express group.
* Trippets Lounge Bar, 89 Trippet Lane, Sheffield (0114) 276 2930 www.trippetsloungebar.co.uk
Many people might only think of heading to the Cat for one of their 140 beers - but they’d be wrong.
For hearty, homely, proper pub food it stands out from the crowd, as do the amusing descriptions on the menu.
Head chef Peter Lightfoot likes to keep things traditional but was also bringing in tapas Tuesdays and rib feasts when we visited.
* Devonshire Cat, 49 Wellington St, Sheffield city centre (0114) 279 6700 www.devonshirecat.co.uk
Eight months after launching their gourmet burger restaurant at Kelham Island, experienced chefs Stuart and Niki Baker opened a second branch in Sharrow Vale Road.
The quirky new diner is a pared-down version: bright and clean with trademark red fencing and distinctive logo, offering a choice of beef, chicken or vegeburgers plus a couple of specials.
* Urban Quarter, 376 Sharrow Vale Road, Sheffield S11 8ZP (0114) 453 7719 www.urbanquarter.co
Whirlow Hall Farm
Whirlow Hall Farm has a reputation for animals, education and home-grown produce; now it is earning a name for its regular bistro nights too. Guest chefs take turns to run the kitchen, serving a tasty, four-course feast in the cruck barn café. The aim is to celebrate local food and producers as well as raising vital funds for the charity’s work.
* Whirlow Hall Farm, Whirlow Lane, Sheffield S11 9QF 0114 2360096 www.whirlowhallfarm.org
Venezuelan cousins Miguel and Richard Rolon set up Primoz and want to show Sheffield the flavours of Latin America.
There’s plenty of authentic dishes on the menu at their welcoming spot with lively Spanish music, such as bandeja paisa, a sumptuous-sounding bean dish with beef, belly pork, egg, chorizo and avocado.
Tapas strays from the ordinary lineup too.
* Primoz Café Restaurant, 257 Fulwood Road, Broomhill (0114) 2662579 @PrimozSheff on Twitter