Opened in 2013 by Richard Holmes and Benny Peverelli, this gastropub serves craft brews from the UK and abroad and a great selection of artisan gins and homemade soft drinks – best enjoyed with a pie or hot Scotch egg. The restaurant area offers a more extensive menu, with meat cooked over a charcoal spit roast (try the devilled kebab with marinated pork belly).
Steak & Honour
In 2017, Steak & Honour added a bricks-and-mortar site to its fleet of street-food vans. The offering remains the same: a brioche bun with lettuce, onions, gherkins, mustard, ketchup and a thick, juicy Riverside Beef patty, made from cattle that graze by East Anglian waterways.
Old Bicycle Shop
On the site of what claimed to be the first bike shop in Britain (Howes Cycles, which is said to have counted Charles Darwin among its customers), the Old Bicycle Shop is open all day for brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks. There’s a varied menu, from wild mushroom ramen to fillet steak and chips, and the cocktail list has plenty of tempting options.
This is a haven of barbecue, beer and bourbon, offering finger-licking buns, wings and ribs. Try the deep-cut St Louis pork ribs, cooked low and slow and slathered in a sticky BBQ sauce. There are two SmokeWorks joints – one in the centre of Cambridge and one towards the south-east of the city.
This iconic tearoom down the road from the Fitzwilliam Museum was rescued from closure in 2011 by food writer Tim Hayward. Its sticky Chelsea buns are a local institution. As well as being a great spot for afternoon tea, it also offers a bespoke hamper service of finger sandwiches, scones and cakes, perfect for a picnic on The Backs (the grassy banks of the Cam behind King’s College) or on a punt down the river.
The Clarendon Arms
This is an independent real-ale pub just off Parker’s Piece. Try the glazed, smoked shoulder gammon with poached eggs and chips, or check out the ever-changing specials list for more creative dishes, like roast garlic, white bean & macaroni pie or crisp fried panko pork belly dumplings. On Sundays, the menu is limited to classic roasts. It’s a small, popular neighbourhood pub, so booking ahead is advised.
Blue Ball Inn
This small, cosy pub is believed to have been named after a hot-air balloon that once landed in the nearby meadows. The beers are all East Anglian (with at least one ale from Adnams always on tap) and the menu features simple, hearty home-cooked dishes such as roast beef, chilli con carne and sausage casserole, all for around £9. Soups and filled rolls are also available. There are a couple of B&B rooms available, and there’s often live music on Thursday evenings. You may recognise the landlord and pub from ITV drama Grantchester.
This unique hangout spot opened in the city’s east in 2015. Start your day in a multi-format space centred around a love of road cycling, healthy food, local art and great coffee. Try the mashed avocado and smoky chickpeas on toasted sourdough for a filling breakfast, washed down with a cup of coffee made from the ever-changing roster of beans.
This colourful collective of street-food trader’s pops up at various locations around the city and is where you’ll find the next generation of food businesses in Cambridge. Traders include Guerilla Kitchen, which serves up delicious steamed bao buns and Kura Kura, which concentrates on Sri Lankan and south Indian curries.
After a few summers selling from his tricycle, ex-chef Jack van Praag opened a shop on Bene’t Street. The menu of freshly made ice cream and gelato changes daily, and features incredible flavours like raspberry and red wine or goat’s milk and wild honey. It’s open late, so you can enjoy a postprandial evening stroll with a cone and pretend you’re in Italy.