A local’s guide to the thrills and spills of East Anglia’s most popular seaside resort

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The people of Great Yarmouth live on chips. Unofficial statistics predict that over 85% of the local diet consists of this highly-prized local delicacy, with the other 15% made up off the thick mounds of cheese and mayonnaise they dollop on top. Because that’s exactly what a deep-fried potato needs - a couple of extra layers of fat!

 

The local market place is famous for its numerous chip stalls - and the size of the killer seagulls that hover around the area is a testament to what the Yarmouth chip diet is capable of. Because these once very slim and sweet, natured birdies have been fed and fattened into feathered thugs who will think nothing of swooping down and snatching a whole battered sausage straight out of your hand - and will then happily wolf it all down in one go, before nipping off for a donut and a knickerbocker glory on the seafront.

So, forget the diet during your holiday here, because you really must eat some chips on the market. Not least because adding a few extra pounds to your body mass will give you some chance of fighting back against the killer seagulls. Yes, you really do need to bulk up in order to deal with our feathered friends, so that means chips, battered sausages, deep-fried haddock, candy floss, donuts and a nice 99. But do keep an eye on the skies if eating outside - and please, under no circumstances, feed the seagulls. If they get any bigger, they’ll be taking over Norfolk. In fact, one’s already standing for the council this year.

 

But seriously, folks, it’s not all chips here in Great Yarmouth. Well, yeah, it is - but there are a few other options, including a few hidden gem restaurants that are not to be missed.

 

PLANET PAPADUM

 

This popular seafront Indian restaurant serves a wide selection of classic Indian dishes in a bright, modern environment. So, don’t be put off by the faded signage, as the food at its best is a proper treat. There’s an extensive menu of curry house favourites, but I’d recommend heading for the House Special dishes, particularly the naga if you can handle the heat, or Tiger by the Sea if you’re a fan of prawns cooked in the shell. Service is very friendly and takeaways are available, too, so whether dining in or dining at home, you should be in for a pleasant meal. Booking is  advised at the weekends - just call them on 01493 330777 - and Wednesday nights getting busy in summer, as it’s a great place to watch the fireworks from.

 

TOP TIP: Thursday night is Banquet Night, which means you get a starter, main, vegetable side dish and rice or a nan for just £9.95.

HMS HINCHINBROOK

 

Ignore the dodgy name, which references one of Lord Nelson’s vessels - and head inside this friendly and welcoming restaurant for what might well be the nicest plate of fish and chips in Great Yarmouth. Served on a plate, rather than a plastic carton or wrapped in yesterday’s Daily Star, the fresh cod and haddock here has a delicious light batter and comes with a generous portion of chips and home-made mushy peas.

 

Steaks, burgers and hot dogs will keep the meat-lovers in your party happy, while those watching their figures can opt for a tuna steak, a piece of grilled salmon or even a fresh summer salad. It’s fully licensed, too, and offers a selection of wines, beers and spirits.

 

TOP TIP: Grab an outside table in the summer months and stuff your face in full view of the sea.

RESTAURANT BALEAL

 

The Portuguese have brought lots of great things to Yarmouth in recent years and have been a welcome addition to the local community - and this charming, little restaurant, tucked away in a side road off Marine Parade, is a great way to try out some classic Portuguese cuisine, as well as the best homemade pizzas for miles around. The chef honed his pizza-making skills during a stint in a London branch of Pizza Express - and his thin, supple bases are lovingly topped with carefully selected toppings. The hot and spicy Etina, for example, combines delicious Nduja sausage with Roquito peppers and salty speck, and each option on the pizza menu has the same exciting mix of flavours and intriguing combinations.

 

And the Portuguese dishes are every bit as good as the pizzas, as witnessed by the large number of Portuguese diners all eager for a taste of something that reminds them of home. The sharing dish, Beef Picanha, is a particular favourite - and it goes well with a litre of the house red wine! Service is friendly and the place has a low-key Mediterranean feel. It’s like stepping out of Yarmouth for an hour or two - and boy, am I always grateful for that!

 

 

YANKEE TRAVELLER

 

Located on King Street, this popular burger joint has been packing in the locals for over thirty years. And with it’s Americana decorations, funky, little bar and family-friendly restaurant, it’s a great place to pig out on burgers, hot dogs, steaks and piles of freshly cooked fries. The portions are on the enormous size - even the seagulls are struggling to clean their plates - but the quality of the burgers and the moreishness of the fries means you’ll keep on going long after you’re full. And it’s a shame, in a way, because the desserts here are really quite delicious, too - but it’s so rare to have room for one after all those thin, crisp luscious fries and that big, fat greasy burger and bun.

 

With very-friendly service and a genuine buzz on a busy night, this is how all local burger restaurants should be!

CHICKEN BBQ

 

Overlooking St. George’s Park, this Portuguese family restaurant is all about its awesome charcoal grill. You can sit and watch your meat being cooked, whether chicken, steak, pork belly or the incredibly succulent liver, but it’s when you taste that very first bite of the meat, which will have taken up all the flavour and smokiness of the charcoal, that you’ll realise what grill cooking is all about. It gives a depth of flavour that you just can’t beat. What’s more, the meat stays lovely and moist - and served with a side salad, chips and rice, you’ve got a wholesome, hearty and delicious-tasting meal.

 

The ambience in the restaurant is lovely, too, and there’s a well-stocked bar, a wide range of desserts and outside seating when the weather allows.

 

BOMBAY NITE

 

Great Yarmouth’s first ever Indian restaurant is located in King Street - just a short walk from the market area - and has been serving up good quality bhunas, danzaks and chicken tikka massalas to the locals for over 40 years. The bright, spacious interior can cater for large parties; and while the food maybe lacks its own signature style, it’s a reliable choice for one of those nights when only something hot and spicy will do.

TOP TIP: Ignore the freezer packed with bought-in ice creams and pick one of the homemade Portuguese deserts from the fridge, such as the sickly but moreish Serradurra - think crushed up biscuits with thick whipped cream - or the almost too-rich rich caramel-flavoured Baba de Camelo. Or how about a slice of the classic Portuguese chocolate cake, Brigadiero, perhaps with a splash of cream on top.

MFC

 

Reliable takeaway, with some indoor seating, situated near the Prince Regent pub on Regent Road. Pizzas are good quality, with some excellent toppings, and kebabs are always fresh and tasty, as is the fried chicken. Quick free delivery in the local area, including to the local holiday camps. My current favourite of Yarmouth’s many takeaway joints.

 

If you’ve got a red-hot date, a birthday to celebrate, or maybe you’re thinking of popping the question, then where better than Great Yarmouth’s nearest equivalent to a Michelin Star restaurant, Greggs? The locals flock there like seagulls - as, indeed, do the seagulls - to dine on wholesome treats such as the pastry-based Steak Bake, the pasty-based Chicken Bake and the mouthwateringly scrumptious pastry-based cheese and bacon wrap.

 

A full a la carte menu is on offer, as well as a four-course tasting menu consisting of a sausage roll for starter, another sausage roll for the fish course, a beef and vegetable pasty for the meat course and two sausage rolls and a donut for dessert. An extensive wine list does not exist, so I’d recommend a fizzy fruity Tango to cut through the richness of the sausage rolls; and a classic Coca-Cola straight from the can to bring out the meatiness of that Cornish Pasty. The 2018 vintage is drinking very well right now.

 

Dress code is casual, with tattoos essential - and  Greggs does not take bookings, so there might well be a queue. Outside dining is available on the stylish terrace, but do expect to fight a running battle with a some particularly brutal seagulls. Cos once those buggers get a taste for something like a warm Greggs Steak Bake, they will stop at absolutely nothing to get their dirty, filthy beaks on one.

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