Caffe Capriccio Durham Italian Review

Caffe Capriccio Durham

caffe capriccio durham frontWe have walked past Caffe Capriccio on many many occasions, in favour of other cafes, as it always appeared incredibly small, with only a few tables inside, and a few outside, but ooooohhhhh how I wish we’d visited sooner, it was fab!

We visited at about 10am on a Sunday morning. There were more tables than expected on the inside, although still not very many to choose from, due to the quirky shape of the building. We decided on a window seat so we could watch the world go by. On one side of the doorway we had the choice of a breakfast bar style table, and on the other side of the doorway, there was a slightly squished two-seater table. We opted for the squished two-seater, but when we sat down, we didn’t even notice the lack of space, as the ambience of the Caffe Capriccio far outweighed any other thoughts. We were served by a pleasant and friendly lady behind the counter, and in the background was the sound of Italian singing, no not the radio, it was a gentleman going to and forth from the kitchen with the happiest sounding singing voice. The happy-Italian-singing lasted for the whole of our visit, with the exception of the odd conversation in between, and it was like a breath of fresh air to go into a place where people are naturally happy at what they are doing, not because of good training, not because every customer demands a high quality service with a smile nowadays, but because some people appear naturally happy, happy with themselves, happy with the world, and happy with their work.  On this occasion we only ordered 2 coffees, and two caramel slices, but without a shadow of a doubt, we will definitely be returning, on a lunch time next time around. When we left, we were waved goodbye by both the lady and gentleman.

Before entering, we had the impression that it was going to be a tiny place inside, and it would feel more like a coffee take-away shop, rather than a café, but how wrong we were. The size is part of it’s charm, it is perfectly formed, with happy-characters, and we left with a smile, with every intention of returning.

Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 8  Service : 8  Food : N/A  Value : 8

cafe capriccio score eight

Caffe Capriccio,
26 Elvet Bridge,

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Ciao Ciao Durham Mediterranean Review

A long time favourite with us, Ciao Ciao is a little Mediterranean bakery/deli at the bottom of North Road, just over from The Bishop Langley. We were first drawn to it by the wonderful selection of artisan breads displayed in the window.

Ciao Ciao Durham Inside

Since then, the inside of the shop has changed to make more seating space, but the food is just as nice. They make fresh sandwiches from Mediterranean ingredients, all wrapped up in your choice of bread. There are Mediterranean, white with olive oil and sea salt, wholemeal or spelt multigrain to choose from for the sarnies, but you can take away other options such as black olive and rosemary, or feta cheese and mint. The sarnies are named after Mediterranean holiday places like Kos and Tuscany, and they serve them hot or cold, to eat in or take away, your choice, so you close your eyes and make believe you’re sunning yourself in paradise. All the breads are made on-site in the bakery. Service is always polite and quick as you order from the counter, with the sandwich menus laid out behind, so it’s simply a matter of picking filling and then bread. My own favourite is the Milano – Chicken breast, parmesan shavings, Caesar dressing & salad.

We’ve sampled the sandwiches many times before at Ciao Ciao, but this time we just wanted a light snack so had a Shortbread and Filter coffee and Mrs DFD had a rather wonderful slice of spinach and feta pie (Spanakopita) and an infused tea. The Spanakopita was served warm and was worth the slight wait whilst it was warmed up. In fact, the first time it got a bit burnt when toasted, so it was replaced without ever reaching the table. I was offered a morsel or two for being a good lad.

Incidentally, Ciao Ciao also have a shop on Sunderland Road in Gilesgate, midway between The Shoes and The Queens Head.

Ciao Ciao Bread

The price for our two little snacks and drinks came to just £6.50, so really good value. The sarnies are priced between £2.90 and £3.50 are really substantial, so try these if you can.

Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 8, Service : 9, Food : 9, Value : 9


Ciao Ciao
3 Framwellgate Bridge,
Phone : 0191 3830149

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Treats Coffee Shop Durham Review

Treats is a nice little place for a cup of coffee and a snack. Treats is about half way up Silver Street on the left hand side on the way up from Millburngate Bridge towards the Market Place. Once again, it’s up a flight of stairs, so maybe a bit daunting if you’re not walking 100%, but it’s worth the climb.

treats durham counter

Service is at the counter, but meals are delivered by the waitress to the table. As usual, we only went with the intention of having a cup of coffee and a scone, until Mrs DFD declared she loved the look of the Corned beef pie in the display case, then I had to follow her with some steak pie and chips, both served with mushy peas, so it turned into a total main meal at breakfast time 😉 Both pies arrived super fast and were delicious and with the little jug of gravy proved to be just the job for a cold morning this early in town.

Despite the stairs, the cafe is very popular with older folks, who use it as a place to get out of the hustle and bustle and have a natter, which is nice. Nothing is hurried, service is pleasant and the place is warm and welcoming. Note to the owner though, you need to invest in a proper Xmas tape next year, Dean Martin’s ‘Let it Snow’ became a bit annoying after the 45th consecutive play! 😉

Price wise, Treats Coffee Shop is very competitive, with a meal for two with drinks coming in at around £16. This was ok for us, as we needed to keep our pennies for xmas presents, but this set us up for the fight on the shop floor.

Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 8, Service : 8, Food : 7, Value : 8


Treats Coffee Shop
First Floor
27-28 Silver Street

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Cafe Continental Durham Review

Cafe Continental Durham

“Cafe Continental is a family run cafe / restaurant situated on Elvet Bridge in the centre of Durham City.

Occupying two properties dated back to the late 1800s; there is a cafe situated at ground floor level which leads up to a restaurant area arranged in a number of quaint rooms; reflecting the character of the grade two listed building. Seating is available for up to 60 people with some tables overlooking the river wear.

Boasting a large menu serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner; Cafe Continental offers dished from ‘light bites’ such as homemade soup, paninis, sandwiches, crepes and baked potatoes to homemade daily specials, reflective of the season; which include a large number of dishes suitable for those with vegetarian, gluten and dairy free diets”.

cafe continental outside view
An, up until now, undiscovered place we always seem to walk past but never go in, The Café Continental is sandwiched (no pun intended) between The Half Moon Inn and Tealicious, at the bottom of Elvet Bridge In Durham. The downstairs facade is of a small, pokey cafe, but there’s an upstairs to the place as well, and this opens out into an extensive area with several sub rooms and niches. It’s a Grade 2 listed building. The walls are painted a grey colour, and windows are sashed, without curtains. This sounds drab, but actually works ok. I’d think this would be great for ventilation in summer, but we found that the cold creeps through the glass into the window seats in winter, a little bit uncomfortably. Maybe some curtains would help a bit?

Climbing the stairs (make sure to shut the door behind you to keep the draught out) takes you up to the main restaurant dining area, and we were shown to a table straight away and given some menus. These are huger than huge, and a bit unwieldy, but there’s a great selection of stuff on there. A selection of the grub is also highlighted on the numerous blackboards hung around the place, which is a bit bewildering to begin with, but once we homed in on what we wanted it was ok. Taking of our order was a little slow, but it was a busy shopping day just before Christmas, about two o’clock in the afternoon, so we can forgive them that I think. We noticed that the food is actually prepared ‘down below’ and arrives via Dumb Waiter. It’s a long time since I’ve seen one of those used in anger. Fascinating for anyone who hasn’t seen one operating before.

Mrs DFD had ordered a Moussaka and I had Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie from the Home-made section. Both came with chips and mine had veggies too. The puff pastry lid on the pie was about 4″ thick when it came, and needed removing to let off steam and get at the filling, which was of course blowlamp hot, but it lacked volume and was a bit bland to be honest. The chips and veg were fine. Mrs DFD’s Moussaka looked quite dry, but tasted ok (I was offered a morsel or two), although it too would have benefited from a few veggies I think. For drinks, we had a cappuccino coffee and a Pepsi.

After the mains, a small dessert menu (very small and hand written on a card) drew us into sharing a Ginger Sponge and Custard for our afters, which was lovely, with a good bite to the ginger. I could have done some serious damage to the cake cabinet as well (it was full of gooey looking, fancy gateux), but that would have just been making a pig of myself (again, never stopped you before -Ed). The food in the Café Continental overall was nice, without really being outstanding. The place was quite full when we got there, so it seems a popular place to eat and there was a good cross section of punters, from students to families. Our final bill came to £23.50, which wasn’t going to break the bank for a two course meal for two with drinks. Most main courses on the menu seem to be £7-8 and sarnies are cheaper, so there’s no need to spend that much if pennies are tight, and it would be quite possible to get a decent meal for £10-12. A canny enough place to take the weight off your feet if you need to, slightly out of the main shopping mayhem on a busy day.


Price : £23.50 for two

Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 7, Service : 7, Food : 6, Value : 8

cafe continental rating seven

Cafe Continental Durham
87a/b Elvet Bridge
0191 386 0000

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