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Eating Out in and around Stevenage

This is a guide to where to eat out in and around Stevenage.
Unless stated to the contrary, I have eaten in each of the following restaurants - often many times.


Where?

Stevenage
ASK Bengal Diner Cinnabar
Destinations Waterfall Spice Rouge
Hitchin
Bella Vita Bridge Street Bistro DeRoKa Hermitage Rd Bar & Restaurant
Sitar 2 Strada Zizzi
Hertford
Baan Thitiya
Lussmanns Ruby
St Ippolyts
The Rusty Gun
Stapleford
Papillon
Welwyn
Aqua Vita
The Wellington
Willian
The Fox

What?

Italian
Aqua ASK
Bella Vita Strada
Vita Zizzi
Bistro/Restaurant
Bridge Street Bistro Cinnabar
DeRoKa Destinations
The Fox Hermitage Rd Bar & Restaurant
Lussmanns Papillon
The Rusty Gun The Wellington
Indian
Bengal Diner Ruby
Sitar 2 Spice Rouge
Thai
Baan Thitiya
Chinese
Waterfall

Latest Bill

Friday evening - DeRoKa free olives, 1 bottle pinot grigio, free tap water
1 x Greek feta cheese & spinach parcels
1 x smoked duck
-
1 x sea bass
1 x chicken breast
-
2 x strawberry cheesecake

£62.49 (plus small tip)

Restaurants

Aqua

28 High Street, Welwyn - 01438 716322 www.aquaristorante.co.uk

This is a modern Italian restaurant in Welwyn village.
The food and cooks are authentic Italian, and most of the food is good.
It can be noisy inside, and you are sometimes rushed so they can have two sittings in an evening.

Latest Bill (Sunday lunch)

1 x glass each of house red & white
1 x fegatino di pollo
1 x tre colore
-
2 x chicken in a limoncello sauce
1 x spinaci
£51.40 (plus tip)

Aroma

Stevenage Leisure Park - 01438 352183 www.thearoma.co.uk
This used to be a large, self-service, eat-as-much-as-you-like Chinese restaurant convenient for the multiplex cinema etc.
There was a large selection of food, most of it reasonable.
The staff were very efficient at whisking away dirty plates etc., and supplying more drinks (we always have Tiger beer).

ASK

15 High Street, Stevenage - 01438 356636 www.askcentral.co.uk

This is one of a large chain of pizza/pasta restaurants, but is surprisingly good. It is at the far north of the High Street.
The pizzas are proper Italian-style ones and the pasta is fresh and tasty.
A reasonable selection of starters and mains (and specials) is also available.
A second ASK restaurant is situated in the Stevenage Leisure Park.

Latest Bill (Sunday lunch)

2 x glass house white
2 x chevre grill
-
1 x ravioli burro e pesce
1 x polpette al forno
1 x side salad
£36.65 (plus tip)

Baan Thitiya

34 St. Andrew Street, Hertford - 01992 587706 www.baan-thitiya.com/hertford/

This is an excellent Thai restaurant on the edge of Hertford town centre.
The food here is always good and the staff are friendly.
It is one of our regular Sunday lunch restaurants - they have a small, fixed-price, three-course menu on Sundays (but you miss out of the pad thai!

Latest Bill (Sunday lunch)

2 x glass Singha beer
1 x chicken sateh
1 x dim sum
-
1 x sizzling pork
1 x yellow Thai curry
2 x egg fried rice
-
1 x deep-fried banana
1 x banana in cocunut milk
£32.40 (plus tip)

Bar Meze

35 Bucklersbury, Hitchin http://www.barmeze.net

This used to be a Greek/Cypriot restaurant that specialized in mezes rather than set meals (though specials are often available).
The "Special Meze" (for two) was good, but you had to be hungry (the courses sometimes arrived too quickly).
You got a selection of Greek starters and pitta bread; then a grilled course of halloumi cheese, smoked pork loin and Greek sausage (or sometimes meatballs) and Greek salad; then a seafood course of kalamari, prawns, swordfish and mussels; then a final meat course of skewered chicken and pork (I thought it was lamb) and spicy rice.
NOTE: This has now closed, soon to reopen as "The Brick Rooms", yet another Hitchin wine bar.

Latest Bill (evening)

1 bottle house white (menu says it's retsina, but it was actually French), free tap water
2 * special meze
£52 (plus tip)

Bella Vita

9 Sun Street, Hitchin www.bellavitahotel.com (seems to be down)

This is a traditional Italian restaurant that also happens to be a small hotel.
We have been coming here for decades and the food is almost always good, and made from fresh ingredients - sometimes cooked by Giorio, the boss, himself.
I don't think that the printed menu has changed in all those years, but Giorgio will recite the day's specials at you.
There is a set-price menu for Sunday lunch that is much cheaper than the normal one, and just as good.
We have no experience of the rooms but online reviews are incredibly mixed.

Latest Bill (Sunday lunch)

1 x glass each of house red & white
2 x cozze alla marinara
-
1 x piccata di vitello alla Venezia (with prawns!)
1 x anatra with piselli
2 x side veg
-
1 x fruit-of-the-forest cheesecake
1 x strawberry pavlova
2 x espresso
£49.50 (including 10% service charge)

Bengal Diner

123 High Street, Stevenage - 01438 318811 www.bengaldiner.co.uk

This is a better than average Indian restaurant at the south end of the High Street in Stevenage old town.
All your favourite Indian meals are on offer.

Latest Bill

2 x small glass of Cobra beer
1 x reshmi kebab
1 x chicken chat
-
1 x Sharisha chicken
1 x Bengal chicken masala
1 x dahl samba
1 x pilau rice
1 x plain naan
£33.10 (plus small tip as service not included)

Brasserie Gérard

21 Fore Street, Hertford - 01992 504674 www.brasseriegerard.co.uk

This was one of a chain of authentic French brasserie-style restaurants. It is now closed
The food is excellent, and includes a range of tajines. There is a plat-du-jour (in a daily rotation), but it may not be available if there are few customers expected.
The house wine is drinkable, and is available in a half-litre carafe.
NOTE: This has now closed - a branch of Prezzo will be opening soon (overpriced and rather ordinary pizza/pasta).

Latest Bill

2 x glass of house white
2 x salade nicoise
-
2 x salade de petits calamars a la marrocaine
-
2 x tarte au citron

£35.90 (prix fixe plus small tip as service not included)

Previous Bill

2 x glass of house white
2 x petite friture (squid and whitebait)
-
1 x tajine d'agneau
1 x demi poulet (grilled half chicken with lemon and thyme sauce)
1 x seasonal vegetables
-
1 x tarte au citron
1 x tarte amandine aux griottes (cherry & almond tart)

£56.54 (plus small tip as service not included)

Bridge Street Bistro

26 Bridge Street, Hitchin - 01462 440072

This is a French/European restaurant on the edge of Hitchin town centre.
The food here is reasonably good, if somewhat expensive for a "bistro" (and it never seems to change).
Sunday lunch is more economical (everything comes with a Yorkshire pudding!) - but you will often need to book.

Latest Bill (Sunday lunch)

1/2 bottle Argentinian Malbec red
1 x carrot and coriander soup
1 x Cornish mackerel fillets
-
1 x bistro chicken
1 x halibut on roasted vegetables
1 x side vegetables (included in price)
-
2 x toffee pudding

£48.50 (plus small tip as service not included)

Cinnabar

54-56 High Street, Stevenage - 01438 340202 www.cinnabarcafe.co.uk

This is a new bistro-style restaurant at the north end of the High Street in Stevenage old town.
It is open in the morning for breakfast (full English and eggs benedict look good), all day for coffee etc. and at lunchtime and in the evening for dining.
There is a small selection of starters, and a reasonable selection of English and European mains. Wine is available by the glass or bottle, and a house red and white are available in 500ml carafes.
We found the smoked haddock fish balls quite tasty, but both tuna steak and the calves liver a bit overcooked, but perfectly acceptable.

Latest Bill

Glass of house red, glass of house white
2 x smoked haddock fish balls
-
1 x calves liver
1 x tuna nicoise
1 x broccoli

£41.10 (plus small tip as service not included)

DeRoKa

32 Sun Street, Hitchin - 01462 455666 (no website yet, but is on Facebook)

This restaurant has taken over from the late lamented Just 32.
The menu is broadly similar to Just 32 (southern European / Mediterranean) but the prices are considerably cheaper.
You get free olives (but no bread) while you study the menu.
There is a reasonable range of starters (which do come with pitta bread) and mains and a small selection of desserts. The ones we chose were all simple but good. We were given a free glass of an orange liquer at the end, and some (genuine) Turkish delight with the bill.
I'm told that the menu will change every few months. Now the name of the restaurant is supposed to be ancient Sumerian for a harvest festival meal - I can't find eny evidence for this.

Latest Bill

Free olives, 1 bottle pinot grigio, free tap water
1 x Greek feta cheese & spinach parcels
1 x smoked duck
-
1 x sea bass
1 x chicken breast
-
2 x strawberry cheesecake

£62.49 (plus small tip)

Destinations

St George's Way, Stevenage - 01438 722727 www.histevenage.com

The is the restaurant attached to the new Holiday Inn hotel in what used to be the Manulife building.
A banner on the building advertised a 1-2-3 offer (one bottle of wine, two people, three courses) so we went along on Thursday evening.
We were told that it was only available at the weekend (It WAS on the banner - in very small print) so, after looking at the expensive a la carte menu, we booked a table for the following evening.
We turned up at the time booked to be told that the dining room was full and we had to eat in the bar.
The staff were very friendly, and the food was reasonable - we might go back one day (but probably not).

Latest Bill

1 x bottle of house white.
2 x chicken and chorizi terrine (rather bland)
-
2 x Scottish salmon with roasted vegetables (OK)
-
1 x strawberry pavlova with raspberry sauce
1 x cheese selection

£35.00 (plus no tip!)

Dew Drop Inn

122 High Street, Stevenage - 01438 313600

This was just an ordinary, average-quality Chinese restaurant (but it was better than the Jade Palace). It is now closed
We hardly ever eat there, but sometimes get a takeaway.

Eastern Corner

Unit 7, Stevenage Leisure Park - 01438 720430

This was a joint Indian/Thai restaurant in a sort of single-story hut at the north end of the so-called Leisure Park in Stevenage.
It was run by a chap who used to work at the Bengal Diner.
As well as the two normal menus, they did a buffet serving which is especially good on Sundays (more choice).
They didn't get enough customers and went out of business.

Latest Bill

2 x Sunday Buffet
2 x small Singha Beer
£25.80 (plus tip)

Hermitage Rd Bar & Restaurant

20 Hermitage Rd, Hitchin - 01462 433603 www.hermitagerd.co.uk

This is a modern bar/restaurant in what used to be a ballroom.
It is mostly full of younger people and can get crowded and very noisy.
The food is mostly modern European and is not bad.

Latest Bill

1 bottle house red, free tap water
1 x mackerel pate
1 x crab on toast
-
1 x fish special
1 x sea trout
1 x vegetable selection
-
2 x sticky toffee pudding

£78.50 (plus small tip)

Just 32

32 Sun Street, Hitchin - 01462 455666 www.just32.com

This was an elegant modern restaurant in the middle of Hitchin, but it has now closed.
It was one of our favourite places to eat on special occasions, or just for the hell of it, as it it not cheap.
The food was consistently good and the service always friendly.

Latest Bill

1 x bottle Le Midour (cheap French red), free water
1 x chicken liver and fois gras terrine
1 x goats's cheese tartlet
-
2 x belly of pork with fennel and wilted spinach, truffle-scented mash
1 x selection of vegetables

1 x white chocolate and raspberry brioche and butter pudding
1 x lemon tart with blacjkcurrant sauce
2 x espresso
£85.00 (plus tip)

Lussmanns

42 Fore Street, Hertford - 01992 505329 www.lussmanns.com/restaurants/hertford-restaurants

This is a modern restaurant in the centre of Hertford.
The food here is very good, and seems to be made from fresh ingredients; the specials menu changes seasonally.
We often have the Lussmanns special starter for two (or the sprats) - very good.

Latest Bill

2 x glass white wine, free tap water
1 x Lussmann's special starter
-
2 x linguini with rabbit and wild mushroom sauce (very tasty)
1 x house salad

£42.80 (plus small tip)

Papillon

17 High Rd, Stapleford SG14 3NW - 01992 535123 www.papillonrestaurant.co.uk

This restaurant is part of the Woodhall Arms pub.
The food is good and plentiful, though everything is a bit dated. The only things not out of the 1970s are the prices, though a cheaper set menu is available at all times except Saturday evening.
So, if you want your Steak Diane served with Piesporter Michelsberg, this is the place for you.

Latest Bill

1 bottle Pinot Grigio, free tap water
1 x duck liver pate
1 x smoked trout & apple terrine
-
1 x skate wing
1 x venison
-
1 x sticky toffee pudding
1 x pear & almond crumble (with Birds custard!)

£72.00 (plus small tip)

Ruby

51 St Andrew Street, Hertford - 01992 504504 rubyhertford.com

This is a modern Indian (actually Bangladeshi) restaurant, opposite the Baan Thitiya Thai restaurant, where the Merchant House restaurant used to be.
The food is very good, and there are quite a few out-of-the-ordinary dishes on offer.

Latest Bill (Dinner)

2 x half pint of Kinfisher lager, free tap water
2 x chat poti (sweet and sour chick peas)

1 x fish bhuna
1 x Ruby pathila
1 x cauliflower bhaji
1 x plain rice
1 x plain naan
£42.50 (plus tip)

Sitar 2

3a Sun Street, Hitchin - 01462 451896 www.sitarindian.co.uk

This is a better-than-average Indian (Bangladeshi) restaurant. I can recommend it.

Latest Bill

2 x half pint of Kingfisher lager
2 x fish bhuna

1 x Achari Ghost
1 x Chicken Bakhori Khani
1 x bindo bhagi
1 x chana dahl
1 x plain rice, 1 x naan
£41.65 (plus tip)

Spice Rouge

High Street, Stevenage - 01438 369696 spicerouge.com

This is a new Indian (actually Bangladeshi) restaurant that has opened where the White Hart pub used to be.
It has a very interesting menu with lots of unusual dishes (along with all the old traditional ones).
The food is very good, and the Sunday buffet is better than the average, with plenty of choice.

Latest Bill (Sunday buffet)

2 x half pint of Kingfisher lager
Good selection of starters and mains, rice and naan.
£24.30 (plus tip)

Stable Door

12 High Street, Welwyn - 01438 715200 www.thestabledoor-welwyn.co.uk

This was a Spanish restaurant and tapas bar in Welwyn village.
It was open in the morning for breakfast, all day for coffee and cakes etc., and at lunchtime and the evening for tapas and meals.
There was a good selection of hot and cold tapas; mostly very good but they often came in a strange order.

Note: The Stable Door has now closed, and briefly reopened as an "African Grill and Steakhouse" - I never did try it!
It is now the Grapevine wine bar and only does bar snacks.

Latest Bill (Dinner)

1 x bottle "Poco Mas" Chilean merlot, free tap water
1 x grilled figs, goats cheese and pancetta, toasted walnut bread (to share)

1 x pan-fried venison steak, braised red cabbage, port jus
1 x slow-cooked pork-belly, creamed potato, cider cream sauce
1 v veg of the day

2 x lemon cheesecake, bluueberry sauce
£36.50 (plus tip)

Latest Bill (Sunday lunch)

2 x glass white wine, free tap water
1 x lamb kofta with mint yoghurt
1 x pan-fried chicken livers with Pedro Ximenez shery
1 x crispy fried squid and aioli
1 x tortilla paisana (with choriso and peppers)

1 x sticky toffee pudding
1 x pera, almond and chocolate bread-and-butter pudding
£58.50 (plus tip)

Strada

26 Sun Street, Hitchin - 01462 457746 www.strada.co.uk

This is one of a small chain of modern pizzerias in the middle of Hitchin.
They have a good range of reasonably authentic Italian starters, pasta and main courses, but their speciality is good authentic pizzas.
We have often enjoyed the polenta con funghi starter and our favourite pizza is probably the caprese or the rustica.
WARNING. It sems to have gone downhill lately, the food being just about acceptable. We don't go there much - Zizzi, almost next door seems to be much better.

Latest Bill

2 x glass each of house white (free with voucher from website), free tap water
1 x insalata caprese
1 x polenta con funghi
-
2 x risotto zucca

£32.23 (including "optional" service charge)

The Fox

Willian - 01462 480233 www.foxatwillian.co.uk

This is an old village pub mostly converted into a modern restaurant.
The food is mostly modern English and European, and is quite pricey.
You get "free" olives and crisps, then bread with oil/balsamic vinegar after your order has been taken.
The food is always pretty good, but we think that Just 32 is better.

Latest Bill

1 x bottle rosé de Provence, free tap water
1 x asparagus with lemon artichoke puree and goats cheese salad
1 x breast of wood pigeon with black pudding and pancetta cabbage
-
2 x supreme of guinea fowl wrapped in Parma ham with boudin blanc, roasted red onion (strange) and pesto
1 x carrots and mangetout with garlic and herb butter
-
2 x cherry bakewell with apple crumble icecream
-
2 x espresso
£86.50 (including "optional" service charge)

The Rusty Gun

London Road, St Ippolyts - 01462 432653 www.therustygun.co.uk

This is an old pub converted into a bistro/shop. It is owned/managed by the same people as the Wellington, and some of the food is exactly the same. The menu is quite short, but most of the food is very good.
As at the Wellington, you can have small, medium or large glasses of any of the wine.

Latest Bill

1 x each, medium glass of white and red wines (pinot grigio, shiraz)
1 x Barbary dusk in Chinese-style pancake
1 x salmon, crab and basil fishcakes
-
1 x fillet burger (with Wobbly Bottom cheese)
1 x battered seabass
-
1 x cheesecake (I was full up)
£56.30 (plus small tip)

Vita

12 High Street, Welwyn - 01438 712690 www.vitaristorante.co.uk/

This is an Italian-style pasta joint that also does good starters and some mains.
It is on the corner where the late-lamented Stable Door used to be.
The fish dishes have been a bit disapointing and I'm not sure if there is room in Welwyn for two Italian restaurants - Aqua is better.

Waterfall

122 High Street, Stevenage - 01438 313600

This is a better-than-average Chinese restaurant (that used to be The Dew Drop Inn).
There is an "eat as much as you like" option in the evenings.

The Wellington

High Street, Welwyn - 01438 714036 www.wellingtonatwelwyn.co.uk/

This is an old village pub converted into a bistro/restaurant/hotel.
It has recently reopened after a major fire.
The food is of the typical English/European bistro variety and is mostly quite reasonable, if a little expensive.
They do not take bookings (except for large parties) so, if you turn up when they are busy you will be asked to come back later (i.e prop up the bar).

Latest Bill

1 x bottle Italian pinot grigio, free tap water
1 x antipasti starter platter (to share)
-
1 x skate wing with capers, herby butter sauce, new potatoes
1 x pan-fried calve's liver and bacon, "bubble & squeak" (actually cabbage and separate mash)
-
2 x "tart tatin" (not authentic)
£70.10 (plus small tip)

Zizzi

21 Sun Street, Hitchin - 01462 440708 www.zizzi.co.uk

This is one of a chain of modern pizza / pasta joints in the middle of Hitchin.
They have a good range of reasonably authentic Italian starters, pizza, pasta and main courses.
It is better than the nearby Strada.


Locations

Stevenage

The Old Town lies to the north of the town centre, the High Street being the old Great North Road.
There is parking along most of the High Street and there are two free car parks (one shared by lorries) behind Waitrose.
There are several car parks in the town centre, but only the one at Tesco is free (customers only).
The Stevenage Leisure Park (between the railway station and the industrial area) is one big car park.

Hitchin

This market town is just a few miles north-west of Stevenage and it is served by plenty of buses.
There is limited parking in many streets, and there is a large car park behind the church.
Bella Vita has its own small car park behind the restaurant

Hertford

The county town of Hertfordshire has limited bus access from Stevenage, but it is not too far to drive.
There is limited parking on a few streets, but there is a free car park opposite Baan Thitiya.

St Ippolyts

St Ippolyts is a small village southish of Hitchin.
You can get there through little lanes from the Stevenage to Hitchin Road, or from Fishers Green, but it is simpler to go to Hitchin and then back down the Codicote road.
The Rusty Gun is in the middle of nowhere down this road. It has a big car park.

Stapleford

Stapleford is a little village on the A119 between Stevenage and Hertford.
The pub car park is a bit limited, and at busy times it is best to park in the layby opposite.

Welwyn

Welwyn village (not Welwyn Garden City) is easily reached by bus from Stevenage, but it is only about six miles down the motorway by car.
There is some on-street parking (especially near the Wellington) and there are two small car parks, one at each end of the village.

Willian

To get to Willian village, drive up the motorway and leave at Letchworth. Take the first turning on the left as you go towards Letchworth.
The Fox is the second pub that you come to. The pub car park is quite small and tends to overflow into the road when busy..