Last year I had the joy of visiting different towns across Staffordshire and Cheshire and speaking to wonderful indy business owners. Of course, whilst I’m there, I’ve been testing out some independent restaurants and cafes along the way! I thought it was time I chose my top independent food picks of 2023. To see how I rated my fave coffee order, a caramel latte click here.
Today I’ll be rating some of my favourite meals of 2023! It’s important to say they were all amazing and the service in every place I went was incredible, another reason we love supporting small businesses here!
Rating from my Least Favourite to Favourite Restaurant
First up is The Drawing Room cafe at Foxlowe Arts Centre.
This is a lovely cafe based in the arts centre run by lovely volunteers and some paid staff. I went for the sausage and cheese oatcakes (typical Stokie!) I do prefer the thicker oatcakes and these were more of the traditional thin ones. However, there was a good amount of cheese which I loved. 2.5/5
To support the Foxlowe Arts Centre you can make a donate or volunteer here.
Next is a tie between Café on the Corner, Knutsford and DV8 Congleton.
Cafe on the Corner is a great cafe for breakfast and lunches! The menu is amazing from small plates, baguettes, grilled meats and jacket potatoes. I went for a Caesar salad as when I was there it was roasting, I added avocado and they were so generous with a massive amount of smashed avocado on top. The staff were amazing and the salad was lovely, 3.5/5.
DV8 Congleton is a great restaurant with amazing cocktails and a nice outdoor seating area perfect for summer. I had the signature DV8 chips and WOW. Firstly you can build your own loaded fries which I love you pick your chips, topping and then the best part… the cheese. I opted for the skinny fries with beef stroganoff and stilton cheese. It was very good, with a nice amount of cheese and beef, my only critique would be that the beef was slightly chewy. Really nice atmosphere, and great portions 3.5/5.
And the Top Three…
In 3rd place is All Things Nice in Macclesfield.
I had a ham and cheese toastie with hand-cut chips. The ham was incredible and a good amount of cheese on lovely thick white bread, the chips were amazing, the perfect chunky chip. I loved the atmosphere and really enjoyed looking at all the fresh bread and cakes they had on display. The staff were lovely, a really nice cafe, I would definitely recommend. 4/5.
Deadwood Smokehouse in Nantwich is coming up in 2nd place.
This place is great for meat/BBQ lovers. The menu is incredible, with so many options (they also have veggie and plant-based options), you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice! I chose the brisket grilled cheese sandwich which came with red Leicester cheese and house-made slaw on the side, I also added fries and overall I really enjoyed this meal. The sandwich was really good, the brisket was lovely and you got a good amount of slaw and fries. Service was lovely, they also have plenty of deals on midweek and at lunchtime. 4.5/5
Coming in First Place…
And in the top spot is… Little Tap in Tarporley.
I loved this place, Myles the owner is incredible, he took time to explain the menu and talk us through the journey Little Tap has been on. Myself and Laura went to this one so we had a couple of things to share off their summer small plates menu. We had Taiwanese fried chicken with house hot sauce. I’m a sucker for fried chicken and this didn’t disappoint. It was so crispy, and light and the sauce was a hit for the spice lovers. Then we also had the fennel salad with fermented orange and feta, the little tap mac, and skin on fries which were also all amazing. For me, the fried chicken was the star of the show. Amazing drinks selection, great atmosphere, the friendliest owner and staff, and of course incredible tasting food, takes the top spot 5/5.
Alright indy-loving foodie friends, I hope you enjoyed tagging along while I reflect on the great food eats of 2023. From cheesy oatcakes to loaded fries and everything in between, it’s been a mouth-watering adventure. A big shout out to these indie spots, the food has been amazing and the service is impeccable. If you are ever in one of these areas, be sure to check these restaurants out. You honestly won’t be disappointed. To learn more about each one, click here.