Pasta, wine, and some seriously stylish décor – what’s not to like about Franks Dundee?
Well, I really picked the wrong time to move out of Dundee, because the restaurant scene in the city is properly buzzing right now. Franks Wine & Pasta Bar is the latest addition to the Dundee food scene and it’s a place I’ve been dying to try ever since it opened its doors.
The reasons for my excitement are pretty evident – I’m sure. What’s not to like? Pasta? Wine? Where do I sign? But aside from the obvious food-related temptations, there are a few other reasons that make Franks a really exciting addition to Dundee’s city centre.
Franks Dundee: what’s all the fuss about?
I knew that Franks was going to be good before I even walked through the door.
How so, you might ask? Well, call it local knowledge. Franks is another string to the bow of the business peeps who already run a few other really successful restaurants and bars in Dundee. You may have already heard of the secret bar in Dundee, Draffens, right?
The team behind that also run bars The King of Islington, Abandon Ship, and The Blue Room, the latter of which is actually located just upstairs from Franks. Basically: they know their stuff in the hospitality industry.
The great news is that all the places I’ve named above are super close to Franks, so if you fancy trying them afterwards then they’re not far. Like everything in Dundee!
I will talk more on them later, but for now, onto Franks…
It’s so fancy
I really need to mention the décor at this place. Let’s just say if you’re looking for pics for the gram then Franks is gonna be one of your go-to destinations. It’s a lil bit fancy.
I love the cosy banquette seating (a term I learned on the TV show Interior Design Masters) in pastel blue. I also love the round marble tables edged with gold that ooze glamour. And then there’s also the exposed brickwork, leafy wall décor, and the hanging chairs.
If you’re looking for art installation vibes then this is it. Everywhere you turn there are charming elements waiting to surprise you, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It definitely reminded me of The Ivy in Edinburgh, which can only be a good thing, right?
Franks Dundee menu
OK, now onto the main event – the food!
I mentioned that Franks is a pasta and wine bar but what’s actually on the menu? Well, that pretty much sums it up – pasta, wine, antipasti, and some tiramisu to round it off.
In a nutshell: the menu at Franks is small but perfectly formed. That might not suit everyone but, for me, it indicates a restaurant that is totally confident in what it’s serving.
My pet peeve is the opposite: a restaurant that basically tries to be a bit of everything. A round the world buffet restaurant is my idea of a nightmare, for example. I’m sorry!
On the flip side, Franks feels totally sure of what it wants to be. As a result, it stays on brief from the moment you order from their extensive wine list (comparatively anyway) to the time you get to their dessert menu, which stands at one item only. The mighty tiramisu.
Not many restaurants are that brave, but Franks is – and I applaud them for it!
You can view the menu at Franks Dundee here
What should I order at Franks?
This was a little unusual to me but I had to google a LOT of the items on the menu. Don’t let that put you off as it’s not a pretentious place in the slightest, it was just that I didn’t know the names of some of the Italian cheeses and so on that were on the menu.
However, to help anyone out who is maybe thinking of visiting Franks in the future, I thought I would list some of the items from the menu at Franks below…
Franks Dundee: my mini menu guide
Finocchiona: a type Italian salami of made with fennel seeds
Spianata: spicy salami made with pepper and chilli
Fontina: a semi soft cheese with a nutty, buttery flavour
Provolone: described as a cousin of mozzarella, it’s got a slightly sharper flavour
Dolcelatte: a soft, creamy blue cheese that’s a little milder than other varieties
Burrata: an Italian cheese that’s a soft centre of cream and curds in a slightly firmer mozzarella shell. You died and went to cheese heaven, basically!
Pappardelle: a large flat pasta. Like tagliatelle or fettucine, but wider.
Percorino: an Italian hard cheese, similar to parmesan but made from sheep’s milk
To start with I ordered the burrata with rocket pesto, i.e. a big ball of cheese with sauce. Yum! I also shared bread and oils with my boyfriend. Sometimes it’s the simple things that are best and bread dipped in balsamic vinegar and oil is definitely one of those!
For my main course I ordered the tagliatelle with roasted celeriac, sage brown butter, and percorino. It was wonderful – rich, buttery, and super satisfying. The portions at Franks aren’t huge, but after wolfing down the starter it was definitely enough for me.
For dessert I went for their signature dessert, tiramisu. I’m a huge fan of tiramisu and lucky this one didn’t disappoint. In fact, I probably could have had another!
Franks Dundee booking
If you’re suitably intrigued by Franks then you may want to book a table. How do you do that? You can phone, book through their booking app, or message them on Facebook.
I couldn’t get their online booking platform to process my request for some reason, and so I just messaged them on Facebook and they booked me in through that.
Franks Dundee opening hours
Monday to Sunday
11am to midnight
36-38 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4ET
Tel: 01382 203024
Where to head afterwards…
The King of Islington
It’s teeny tiny, but if you like rum then this is the place for you. It’s also tucked away behind some inconspicuous signage (i.e. there isn’t any) so you’ll have to sniff it our yourselves.
Instantly recognisable by it the graffiti frontage, Abandon Ship brings all the too cool for school vibes – it’s a bit indie, a bit alternative, and a lot warm and welcoming.
The Blue Room
This stylish cocktail bar is perched on the level above Franks. With plush velvet stools and a moody blue palette, it’s the perfect place to sip on martinis and feel a little bit fancy!
It may be a secret bar but it’s definitely not Dundee’s best kept secret – because everyone knows that speakeasy Draffen’s is one of the best bars in the city.
Looking for other places to eat in Dundee? Check out my posts…