Everyone knows exactly what it feels like when you’re stuck at home, maybe it’s raining (unless you live in the UK, then it’s definitely raining), you’re scrolling through the Instagram pages of the rich and famous, and you’re stuck by a sudden hit of wanderlust. For me, it’s usually when I see pictures of people exploring India, Morocco, or Israel, for others perhaps the beaches of Bora Bora, or the New York skyline. The thing these places all have in common is that they’re away from home, and therefore away from your reality. However, by thinking this way we tend to overlook the amazing places that are often on our doorsteps. I was always told that someone’s rubbish is someone else’s treasure, but I think this also applies to our hometowns.
This is why I’ve decided to write a couple of appreciation posts, starting with eateries, for the city I’ve lived in for the last three years as a student – Nottingham. Not only does it have an amazing history, but it’s super quirky with tons of cool bars, restaurants, and shops. Here are a few places you should definitely check out next time you’re in the land of Robin Hood…
1. Oscar & Rosie’s – this is a really cute pizza place hidden in the centre of town, tucked away in a road which at first glance looks like a parade of run-down shops. Not only is the service beyond friendly, but its menu is pretty impressive too. In addition to your typical pizzas, they also cater for vegan and gluten free diets; not just with a rubbish, half-done margarita like a lot of places, but with really cool substitutes. My personal favourite is the sham and pineapple (vegan cheese, vegan ham, and pineapple)!
2. Alley Cafe Bar – this is another place hidden away in a little side street, so I’m forever grateful that my sister stumbled upon it and showed me the way. This is a completely vegetarian cafe, with delicious lunches, desserts, and smoothies, and a really relaxed atmosphere. Beware: it’s always busy, but you’ll understand why after your first visit!
3. Annie’s Burger Shack – an absolute must for people who love wacky food combinations! The first time I went I sat and read through the menu about 4 times, compiling a shortlist of potential burger choices on my phone notes… There are just that many choices (think of roast dinner burgers, burgers with tacos on top, burgers covered in toffee sauce…) so don’t be surprised if you end up coming back only the day after!
4. Iberico World Tapas – my family took me to Iberico for my 21st birthday, as it’s the perfect place for celebrations or whenever you feel like eating something a little fancier than usual. Tapas is always a great choice, but when it’s this good it’s just one of those things I could pick at all day (especially the manchego and quince jelly…) They’ve even opened a Bar Iberico, which is just like the restaurant although with a more relaxed atmosphere – perfect for students or for those looking for a lighter lunch.
5. Marrakesh – the atmosphere here is so cool that if you couldn’t see the number 34 bus driving by outside, you’d actually think you were in Morocco. If you hadn’t already guessed, Marrkesh serves Moroccan food, so think tagine, falafel, lamb kebabs, and halloumi – all delicious, and all huge portions. The staff were also really friendly when a group of us visited, recommending wines and starters, which topped off the entire visit for me.
There are so many more places for me to visit (Cafe Roya, Zapp, and Sat Bains being at the top of my list), but these are some of the places I’ve grown to love over the past few years 🙂