The Cellar Door

4.3
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642 reviews
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£26 to £40
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Modern European
This restaurant is truly a 'blink and you'll miss it' establishment, tucked away on the main street to the cathedral. The steep entrance leads down to a deceptively open space with floor to ceiling windows providing extensive views of the river and the restaurant's rear garden in which produce is grown for the dishes available. Some of the original 13th century stonework is still visible throughout the building.
There are multiple rooms and floors to provide options for outdoor dining, private dining and larger group bookings.
The food is designed to match the relaxed dining environment, with the main focus on the use of seasonal and local produce, with menus changing monthly to reflect the freshest produce available. A 2 and 3 course set menu is available on a lunchtime and presents the opportunity for extremely good value for money, along with an a la carte menu running all day. Perfect for special occasions as well as regular relaxed dining.

Special Offers

1,000-Point Tables

See availability for 1,000 point tables

Mon - Wed 5:00PM - 6:00PM

What 642 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MP
London
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Friendly and excellent service wines overpriced but overall good experience

DW
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We had a lovely meal on Valentines evening. It was a set menu which was excellent value. The food was delicious, everything was so tasty. We were so pleased we chose it as we were visiting for the weekend and I chose it from previous reviews. We were not disappointed.

AP
County Durham
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Very good menu choice and service too. The food presentation and quality was top drawer. We went on Valentines evening and it was very special indeed.
It was good value for money too.
Looking forward to our next visit.
Thank you all

OT
London
1 review
Dined on 8 February 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience2

We arrived at 8.50pm for a 9pm table.. we were not seated until 9.40 .. we ordered our meal from the reception area of the restaurant.. the starters didn’t arrive until 10.11pm

DK
County Durham
2 reviews
Dined on 8 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Another excellent evening at the Cellar Door to celebrate our daughter's 21st Birthday. Every dish was imaginative and full of flavour, giving a memorable experience

OT
London
5 reviews
Dined on 4 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Another excellent meal at the Cellar Door - this Resturant always delivers! The best Resturant in Durham in my book!

L
County Durham
1 review
Dined on 1 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Quite simply one of the best restaurants in the area. A beautiful, often changing menu of classic dishes and new favourites mean it is my go to for celebrating and special occasions. The service is fantastic, neither too familiar nor stand off-ish. I will be back, and soon.

CB
Yorkshire
2 reviews
Dined on 1 February 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Fantastic location The food was amazing. I would strongly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for somewhere special

SH
London
1 review
Dined on 30 January 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

I already have recommended to a friend!! Lived near Durham for years but this was my first time at the restaurant. Great setting, great views and a lovely experience. Thanks

RT
1 review
Dined on 25 January 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Would have give 5 stars but had a really wonky table which we told a member of staff they said they would sort but never. We both had steak so it was a bit of pain with the table wobbling when trying to cut the steak if I’m honest. Apart from that a lovely place and lovely food. Would recommend x

D
Chicago
1 review
Dined on 25 January 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Positioned itself as a fine dining restaurant, but falls short of the standards you would expect from such a label.

Food and service was perfectly OK, but does not justify the prices. Decor is somewhat worn and shabby in places.

JR
County Durham
1 review
Dined on 25 January 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Really nice find in Durham. Slightly overpriced food but very nice . Waitress could be more friendly but would return

RO
1 review
Dined on 25 January 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience4

As a professional restaurant reviewer, I'm probably more critical than most (it's my job; although this was a night off), so you may want to skip my review if you prefer popular opinion.

The Cellar Door was an interesting visit. The staff were fantastic and certainly the highlight of the meal, whilst the wine list was also superb with some rare treats. We visited on a dark winter evening so did not benefit from the river view out the window, however the venue is pleasant, if arguably too minimalist in design; plain walls preferred over any artwork in the main dining room.

For me, the food was far too complicated with unnecessary flavour combinations which failed to complement each other in all four dishes we ordered. Listening into the conversations of two other adjoining tables, they also seemed to repeat this observation. Perhaps the chef could take some tips from the interior designer.

Sadly, I can't give a reason as to why the group of Chinese students, on the table next to us, returned most of their dishes only half finished, as I don't follow any of them on Instagram - the only medium in which they seemed to communicate; glued endlessly to their phones over a space of an hour, pausing only to snap and share pictures of their food.

As somebody who judges my food on taste, rather than looks, the dishes sadly were a let down - the lamb was slightly overcooked, despite the knowledgeable waitresses informing me it would arrive "pink" (as it should), whilst the wild halibut was also cooked for too long, being far too dry in parts.

There's no doubting the adventurous spirit of the chef, and presumably global travels for inspiration, however, at £9 for starters, £17 - £25 for main courses, and £8 for desserts, it's on the high end of "reasonable", and, as a result, I would probably expect more accomplished dishes for that price.

RC
1 review
Dined on 19 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

An excellent find for Sunday lunch while visiting our son at university. Great food at good value, lovely venue with excellent view of the river. Thank you and will definitely be back on another visit!

AS
Glasgow
3 reviews
Dined on 18 January 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience5

We had outstanding service and the food was delicious. The menu is innovative without being outlandish and executed brilliantly. Oh and the cocktails were done to perfection. Good wine list too. Can’t wait to go back.

JB
1 review
Dined on 18 January 2020
Overall4food3service3ambience4

Overall it was a nice meal but I thought that it was overpriced. My boyfriend didn't really enjoy his main - the beef shin and was pretty underwhelmed. At the end neither of us asked for the bill but they brought it over straight away and we felt a bit rushed. We were sat about 50cm from the next table so if they expect people to pay as much as they are asking for they need to work on the layout too. Felt quite cold in there too, some soft furnishings may help make it feel more homely.

S
Newcastle
2 reviews
Dined on 17 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely quaint establishment with great views over the river. Delicious found, brilliant presentation and good lunch time offers. We will be going back.

H
Yorkshire
12 reviews
Dined on 14 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We came to Durham for the day and found The Cellar Door....what a find!!!Absolutely outstanding food at such a low price for the set lunch,We eat out a lot and this is up there with the best!We shall recommend and return!

OT
Oxford
1 review
Dined on 11 January 2020
Overall3food2service3ambience4

A very disappointing experience. Meat was very over cooked and dry , I asked for gluten free options and they still forgot to remove items with gluten . Luckily I am intolerant and not allergic. It was a shame as had dined once before and had enjoyed it. Would now definitely not dine there again

D
Cambridge
3 reviews
Dined on 10 January 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Second time of visiting and, again, a good meal. Very busy with a nice ambience. Good service.

G
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 9 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great early evening menu

A
County Durham
1 review
Dined on 9 January 2020
Overall2food4service1ambience4

Unfortunately the food took over an hour to arrive with no real explanation. This meant we had to rush the main course and had no time for dessert.

OT
County Durham
1 review
Dined on 9 January 2020
Overall2food3service1ambience2

Service was slow, their contours attempts to sell us more drinks became irritating. Several of the courses were disappointing.

EB
Yorkshire
1 review
Dined on 3 January 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Our must visit place when we visit Durham. Can't wait until our next visit.

DC
1 review
Dined on 30 December 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience2

We visited as a group of four in December 2019, secured a table with a view overlooking the river and chose from the Lunch Menu..
The starters were disappointing except for the calamari. The arancini was oily and dense, with three balls being too much. The mackerel pate came with some thin slices of radish and some broken biscuit, there was too much pate for the accompaniments,
The Cod en Papillote consisted of overcooked cod which didn’t seem fresh. The vegetables were undercooked and the meal was quite tasteless.
The Glazed Beef Feather Blade was flavoursome, but overcooked and the thick yellow sauce was stodgy and practically inedible.
The saving grace was the risotto which was acceptable but nothing special.
Very disappointing for what is claimed to be good quality restaurant. However the service was good and the staff were very friendly.

SH
County Durham
5 reviews
Dined on 29 December 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Very good service, good choice for a Sunday lunch menu, pleasant environment.

DF
1 review
Dined on 28 December 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

The food was truly excellent. Different takes on modern British food packed with flavour. The lunch menu was excellent.

DP
1 review
Dined on 27 December 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Very impressive fixed lunch. Excellent quality food. Good value at £18 for three courses. Risotto rather than arancini but calls now from my fiancee to make that at home as she loved it. My duck Wellington could have been a bit bigger and a bit more duck in it. But flavours and cooking was superb, flaky buttery pastry and creamy rich beets. Cod en papillote for the boss, fish fractionally over cooked but not enough to detract from enjoyment as subtle fresh flavours combine well to give a wonderful flavour. And the world's biggest chicken kiev! An ode to the humble chook. Canon ball sized and quite how chef managed that whilst keeping it moist on the inside and crisp on the outside is a testament to the skill. A rich chocolate fondant and a decadent vegan sticky toffee pudding (huge!) Finished off a hearty delicious meal. Ended up £30 for three courses a large glass of wine and a half pint of stout per person... can't go far wrong there!! Service excellent too! Next time we're in Durham a return visit is definitely a must.

DA
Yorkshire
1 review
Dined on 27 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent value, not sure how they serve such good food at the price!

HG
Newcastle
1 review
Dined on 21 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Very enjoyable meal in a lovely setting .
The lack of choice around Real Ale via a pump would be my only suggestion , Take care Harold Nasuwt National Executive 14

SW
County Durham
1 review
Dined on 21 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Had a lovely lunch with my two daughters. The food was so good and enjoyed every course. Menu had something for everyone. Service very professional. Will definitely be back soon!

JB
1 review
Dined on 13 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and service. We will definitely return

TC
County Durham
1 review
Dined on 12 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, served perfectly. A treat anytime of year.

C
1 review
Dined on 9 December 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Good food well presented. Lovely surroundings. We sat at the back next to a window and my partner felt a bit cold there, or was it a ghostly presence?
The staff were all very helpful and friendly. If I visit Durham again I would want to experience other
restaurants ( and there many) of course but I would be tempted to go to the Cellar door again.

CW
Newcastle
3 reviews
Dined on 7 December 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Very good, friendly restaurant. Staff welcoming and very hospitable, definitely go back

S
1 review
Dined on 28 November 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A little gem in Durham centre. Good food and excellent service

JB
1 review
Dined on 26 November 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We arrived at the Cellar Door about 15minutes before the time we had booked. A charming young lady gave us a warm welcome , took our coats and showed us to our table. After giving us our menus she left us to decide what we wanted. The order was taken and soon after an appetiser was served to us. The well presented meal was served and looked delicious, which it was. As we finished the meal the lady who took payment had time to have a chat with my wife and I. I can speak for my wife as well as my self when I say it was lovely experience from start to finish.

AD
Newcastle
1 review
Dined on 25 November 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The food was good, the service was attentive and unobtrusive, and the atmosphere was peaceful and relaxing. Not the cheapest restaurant in Durham, but a great choice for a special meal.

M
1 review
Dined on 24 November 2019
Overall3food5service4ambience3

Lovely food at good value but the place felt rather a bit dirty, especially the floor stairs, corridors and WC

SS
County Durham
1 review
Dined on 22 November 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was amazing, great service and environment was lovely.