Eating out in Wokingham
PUBLISHED: 12:40 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:21 20 February 2013
It may be the classic example of an English market town but when it comes to eating out, it is decidedly cosmopolitan, says Carol Evans...
A walk around the bustling town centre of Wokingham reveals a cracking mix of international cuisines. Italian, Thai, Indian, Bengali, Spanish, Chinese and Mediterranean, as well as traditional British fare, are all available in the many restaurants, takeaways and pubs along historic streets. Indeed, for such a small town, Wokingham must rank highly in the number of eateries per head of its population.
Diners travel from miles around to savour the Italian fine-dining experience at Ruchetta in Rose Street. Located in an unassuming, yet immensely atmospheric 16th century cottage in Wokingham's oldest street, it serves dishes that are imaginative and ambitious, demonstrating there is more to Italian cookery than pasta and pizza. Ingredients, including fine wines, oils and cheeses come from the owner's delicatessen, Angelo's, in nearby Broad Street.
There are several more Italian restaurants and pizzerias. Immo (0118 978 5139), is a stylishly modern restaurant which opened in the elegant Georgian mansion, Montague House, in Broad Street earlier this year. Like its less-expensive 'sister,' Prezzo (0118 989 2090), in The Plaza, Denmark Street, it is informal and buzzy.
Diners who like their lasagne in a traditional Italian trattoria, should try Rossini (0118 979 5796) in Denmark Street. Cosy and intimate, it boasts an extensive menu with traditional dishes.
The town is home to a number of Indian restaurants and although the beamed interior of the Sultan Balti Palace (0118 977 4397) in Market Place, may look like a Tudor tearoom, locals report its dishes to be among the best in town.
The Baranda (0118 977 6100) in Peach Street, combines elegance and style both in its Indian and Bangladeshi menu and décor - which, surprisingly, includes a baby grand piano. There's jazz every other Friday and occasional 'tribute' nights to artistes such as Elvis and the Beatles.
For a taste of Thai, head to The Teak House in Peach Street (0118 978 8893). Upstairs, a sunken table and seating arrangement allows diners a truly oriental dining experience.
A Wokingham success story has been The Courtyard (0118 979 4040), a continental-style café which opened three years ago, quite literally, under the Town Hall. It's good for a coffee and a pastry, light snacks and Mediterranean influenced meals with wine. In fine weather, eat alfresco in the leafy Market Place.
And then there are the pubs - too numerous to mention, but for the traditional 'pie and a pint' - and a lot more besides - try the Broad Street Tavern (0118 977 3706) in Broad Street or The Lord Raglan (0118 978 0455) in Denmark Street. The Square Bar in the Market Place is a modern take on a traditional pub.