These eateries are more than your run-of-the-mill restaurantsJOHN SUTTON via wikicommons / / changes made

Having lived on Mill Road for the past three years as a postgrad, I’ve eventually ticked off all the independent eateries it has to offer (yes, all 30+ of them). I’ve picked the best ten of the bunch and ranked them below – hopefully this will encourage some undergrads to break out of the central bubble and venture beyond Parker’s Piece!

10. Scott’s All Day

A bright, airy brunch and pizza place located slap bang in the middle of Mill Road, just before the bridge. The brunch is possibly my favourite of all the cafes on Mill Road. Although it can be a little expensive, there’s something indescribably good about their avocado smash.

9. Zi’s Piri Piri/Carlos’ BBQ

My two favourite late-night places on Mill Road – they fill the same role in my mind. Zi’s always seems to be frequented until closing (half midnight), and they’re great for their iconic fried chicken and chips on a tipsy walk home from town. Meanwhile Carlos’ BBQ (open until 1am) is renowned for its famously hospitable owner Carlos, who once brought out a portable speaker to start an impromptu dance party when my friends visited.

“They’re great for their iconic fried chicken and chips on a tipsy walk home from town”

8. Bibimbap House

The only Korean place on Mill Road, which holds a special place in my heart for being the first Mill Road restaurant I ever went to, way back in freshers when my best friend was craving Korean. Unassuming, family-run and small (as all the best Asian restaurants are), they’re not necessarily reinventing the wheel, but they really don’t need to when their food is as good as it is.

7. Al Casbah

The next best North African restaurant after Bedouin, Al Casbah’s specialty is their charcoal-grilled meat, which you can watch being prepared atop huge licking flames if you walk by the windows. They also have a lovely street counter which opens up in summer so you can sit on the pavement.

6. Cafe Blue Sage/196

A Mediterranean brunch location, with limited seating but incredibly reviving shakshouka and menemen. It’s also next door to 196, by far the best cocktail bar in Cambridge, and with whom it shares its outdoor seating (Blue Sage by day, 196 by night). These venerable institutions are an absolute power duo when it comes to ‘I know a spot’ Mill Road dates.

5. Noodles Plus

A legendary restaurant. I’ve heard so many rumours about the couple who run this place, even that they worked for a Michelin-star restaurant in China. It has an unassuming interior, with green walls and bare tables, but anyone who’s been there can testify to the fact that it serves the best noodles in Cambridge – and its soup dumplings (first item on the menu) are undoubtedly iconic. There’s a reason this place constantly has a queue of Asian regulars (the best mark of a good Asian restaurant) and non-Asian irregulars. Go at off-peak times to avoid the inevitable lunch and dinner rush.

“These venerable institutions are an absolute power duo when it comes to ‘I know a spot’ Mill Road dates”

4. Fancett’s

Relatively new husband-and-wife-run French restaurant, with a cosy but upscale interior and possibly the best presented food of any restaurant on this list. I had the calf liver, and my partner the sole. Both tasted great, but weren’t quite outstanding enough to justify being closer to the very top. Make sure to take advantage of the lunch prix fixe menu (the best value option).

3. Fin Boys

The first restaurant on Mill Road (closest to town) is also one of its best. With an open kitchen whose heat mists the windows, Fin Boys serves fish dishes with rich and delicate flavours. It’s expensive, but worth it if you want to treat your favourite pescatarian. It also has fish-shaped jugs for water that go glug-glug when you pour them.

2. Bedouin

Stepping through the massive tavern-esque door of Bedouin reveals the cosiest interior of any restaurant on Mill Road. With a ceiling draped in cloth from ‘a real Bedouin tent’ (as per its website), the place has a homely warmth absent from some of its more clinical Mill Road contemporaries. The affordable, melt-off-the-bone tagines, served in their traditional clay pots, are consistently delicious. Bedouin is well-established as the North African restaurant of Mill Road, and hopefully, this institution is never going away.

1. Vanderlyle


Mountain View

You’ll take the high road and I’ll tackle Mill Road

Tucked away beneath an unassuming faded shop sign is the best high-end vegetarian restaurant in Cambridge. For £85 per person, you’re served an 11-course tasting menu with no meat or fish in sight – only locally sourced seasonal vegetables cooked by a team of chefs led by Alex Rushmer (Masterchef’s 2010 runner-up). It was a genuinely mind-expanding experience which blew all my expectations out of the water; I didn’t think it was possible for certain vegetables to taste the way that they did. This place books out as soon as they release spots for the next month so be sure to plan ahead if you want to visit what is, in this student’s humble opinion, one of the best restaurants in Cambridge.