Southampton is well known for being culturally diverse and what better way to showcase and celebrate that than with a line-up of gorgeous food!? Check out these local, independent businesses cooking up a taste tour of the world right here in our city.
Mango is a family-run Thai tapas bar that has grown over the last ten years from one to three venues. I recently visited the original Portswood restaurant for the first time and absolutely loved it. It was a summers evening and we sat by the window with the sunset creating a gorgeous glow. It really gave us that holiday vibe of sipping cocktails whilst awaiting your meal at a small bustling restaurant. The service and food was amazing and the new veggie/vegan menu made it easier than ever to order. I can never resist the golden curry and also devoured an assortment of starters which are impossible to choose from - if you’re really struggling, you can order everything as tapas size and try more of the menu! Mango are well known for their cocktails, too, so do as I did and take the night off from driving.
Lakaz Maman is a relaxed, informal Mauritian restaurant serving up a modern twist on street food that you can get messy with. I had never tasted Mauritian food until this year and thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve tried from the menu, complex flavours and an ideal menu for vegetarian/vegan diners. You may recognise the owner, Shelina Permalloo, from Master Chef which she deservedly won in 2012.
Southampton is lucky to be sprinkled with curry houses all over, but Coriander Lounge is definitely a standout venue for my friends and family whether we are going out for a meal or ordering a take away so I could not not include it here! If you order online to collect you can get 20% discount but nothing beats the attentive service when eating in. Whilst you will easily find recognisable Indian curries you know and love featured on their menu, they pride themselves on authenticity so there will definitely be a few new things for you to try. I’d recommend anything with paneer!
Bacaro is an Italian restaurant with a difference. Boasting a menu completely set apart from the chain Italians you’re used to, the vibe celebrates traditional Italian Bacari (Venetian wine bars) with a relaxed atmosphere, great wine and delicious food. Named after The House of Bacchus, the Roman God of wine and ecstasy, you know it’s going to be a pleasure for your taste buds! The menu changes all the time but is perfectly suited to sharing so just order a bunch of small plates between you and dig in! One of our best-kept secrets tucked away in Ocean Village.
Nara has been my go-to Japanese restaurant for years now. The pricing, in particular, is really great compared to a lot of other places I’ve tried - you can get a full-sized curry or ramen bowl for under £8 and they have a large, varied menu. My sister loves ordering a selection of sushi from here which is great when you’re trying to eat a little healthier whereas I’ll opt for everything battered. I usually order either a katsu curry or loads of smaller plates like dumplings, tempura vegetables, and pumpkin croquettes with a side of edamame beans of course! Authentic and relaxed atmosphere with friendly service - a great place to catch up where you won’t feel like you’re being rushed out of the door.