The best restaurants to eat in York
Look beyond the chain restaurants to explore York's vibrant food scene, from modern fine dining to hip wine bars and exotic street food.
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Find cafés that make the most of local produce, or have your tastebuds tickled by the more adventurous international cuisine that's become a draw for tourists visiting this historic city. There's something for everyone in York and if you're a real foodie, there's plenty of eateries to choose from. Here are our choices of the best places to eat in York...
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Best restaurants in York at a glance
- Shambles Market - Cheap eats, kid-friendly
- Roots - Special occasion, casual dining
- Partisan - Casual dining
- The Block - Cheap eats, kid-friendly
- Fish & Forest - Casual dining
- Love Cheese - Cheap eats, casual dining
- Skosh - Casual dining
- The Pig & Pastry - Cheap eats, casual dining, kid-friendly
- Los Moros - Cheap eats, casual dining
- Melton's - Special occasions
- Mannion & Co - Casual dining, cheap eats
- Il Paradiso del Cibo - Cheap eats, casual dining, kid-friendly
- Sotano - Casual dining
- Coconut Lagoon - Casual dining
- Arras - Special occasion, casual dining
- The Star Inn the City - Casual dining, kid-friendly
- The Hairy Fig - Casual dining
- Ambiente - Casual dining
- Café No.8 - Casual dining
- Pairings - Casual dining
- The Perky Peacock - Casual dining, cheap eats
- Shambles Kitchen - Cheap eats, kid-friendly
- The Rattle Owl - Casual dining, kid-friendly
Cheap eats, kid-friendly
Shambles Market Food Court has helped foster a growing York street-food scene. Its vans and huts serve everything from Indian snacks, Thai dishes, gourmet hotdogs and crêpes at Krep to, at Dark Horse Coffee, a superlative flat white. We’ve fallen hard for the burritos at Smokehouse, an offshoot from the nearby Shambles Kitchen. Its beef brisket barbacoa – smoked for six hours, braised in homemade adobo broth, and rolled-up with paprika rice and roasted red peppers – has bags of flavour. Burritos from £6.50.
Special occasion, casual dining
This was meant to be a casual spin-off from Great British Menu winner Tommy Banks’ Black Swan in Oldstead – Banks is closely involved in creating Roots’ novel dishes, and the two restaurants share staff and produce grown on the Banks’ family farm. But its warm service and menus geared towards sharing feasts have made it a must-eat destination in its own right. Sat in this historic building’s airy, comfortable dining room, you can taste why. From a perfect thornback ray wing to the funky complexities of garlic toast topped with crackling, charcoal emulsion, pickled wild garlic capers and melting lardo, this is food where nature meets innovation. Set tasting menu from £135-£160.
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Cake shop, café, gallery and restaurant, Partisan is a quirky spot; one where, within its neo-Victorian rooms, you will find various pieces of art and antiques for sale. Chef-owner Florencia Clifford lives on a farm on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds, from where Partisan sources many herbs and vegetables. Partisan serves a globe-trotting lunch menu all week, and dinner Thursday to Saturday, but don’t miss its brunch dishes, ranging from French toast to shakshuka. The Persian eggs, in which scrambled eggs on Haxby Bakehouse sourdough are lifted by medjool dates, caramelised onions, spinach, natural yogurt and dukkah, is a delicious break from the norm. Breakfast £6-13.50.
Cheap eats, kid-friendly
Finding good, affordable grab ‘n’ go food in touristy central York was difficult, but that’s changing. Close to York Minster, The Block (Brooklyn lager on tap; NY dive bar aesthetics; enormous photo of The Clash on one wall) dispenses Roman-style rectangular pizza slices. The crisp, springy focaccia-like bases are topped with some interesting combinations, such as roasted squash, chilli, thyme, goat’s cheese and spinach, or smoked pancetta, ricotta, orange zest and rocket. Slices from £3.75.
Fish & Forest
Formerly at Spark York, the shipping container market on Piccadilly, Fish & Forest has now landed at comfy town boozer The Gillygate, where chef-owner Stephen Andrews is doing sterling work in the field of venison burgers, game hot pots and fresh fish. His oysters with seasonal toppings are a local favourite, while his next-level Thai fish balls and mackerel kiev are evidence of his skill and creative wit. Mains from £19.50.
Cheap eats, casual dining
Also on Gillygate just outside the city walls, you’ll find Love Cheese, a cheesemonger, deli and café. In a small café at the back of the shop (which, in summer, leads out into a ‘secret’ garden) you can linger over an afternoon cheeseboard or upmarket grilled cheese sandwiches. The latter are half-price to takeaway.
Skosh's globe-trotting small plates leap between East Asian, Indian, classical French and modern British influences with self-assurance. Each dish is a self-contained marvel. Don't miss the sensational hen’s egg, a glamorous union of Dale End cheddar velouté, mushrooms and Pedro Ximénez sherry, or the brown butter hollandaise fried chicken. Skosh’s super-affable staff are brilliant, too. Plates from £4.
The Pig & Pastry
Cheap eats, casual dining, kid-friendly
Heading out of town, Bishopthorpe Road is an enclave of indie businesses, including this busy breakfast favourite. Quality Yorkshire ingredients and home-baked sourdoughs underpin its Brindisa chorizo with scrambled eggs, and the buttermilk waffles with maple syrup are a real treat. Breakfast from £3.95.
Cheap eats, casual dining
Tarik Abdeladim made his name on Shambles Market, wowing with his North African and Levantine cooking, and has now opened a restaurant on Grape Lane, too. The menu mixes small plates of homemade merguez sausages, harissa chicken wings and punchy dips, such as whipped feta with urfa pepper oil, and larger plates of shakshuka or grilled sea bass and batata harra potatoes with homemade chermoula, burnt baby courgettes and saffron aïoli. Large plates from £14.
At this elegant, gently idiosyncratic restaurant, chef and owner Michael Hjort has been applying sharp classical technique to fine seasonal Yorkshire produce since 1990. Dishes such as east coast cod with smoked cream, mussels and apple, or lamb rump & belly with Jersey Royal croquettes, tomato, artichoke and smoked anchovy illustrate why he’s a true food hero. Starter and main from the dinner menu £55.
Mannion & Co
Casual dining, cheap eats
This café does many things well, from the classic eggs Benedict, to stellar salads, like the heritage tomato panzanella with burrata, and superb sandwiches, such as chorizo, comté and pepperonata. Its baking is best experienced during an afternoon tea of classy open sandwiches, scones and cakes, with options such as raspberry & lime curd tart or chocolate orange mousse cake with cardamom cream, £19.50 per person.
Il Paradiso del Cibo
Cheap eats, casual dining, kid friendly
Eating at Il Paradiso is like visiting a bustling, family-run joint in Naples’ backstreets. Over the years, it's gone from a deli-pizza bar to a thriving restaurant. Fastidious methods (fresh pastas are made daily) and keen prices mean Il Paradiso is adored by the locals. Try specials such as fresh potato dumplings served with a cream of fresh langoustines. Mains from £9.75.
As well as 60 different beers, 27 artisan gins and a selection of crisp cocktails, this late-night basement bar serves terrific tapas until 9.30pm. There are gambas al ajillo and octopus on offer plus an array of tempting Spanish dishes, from Iberica pork with rosemary and garlic to black pudding balls and spinach with chickpeas. Tapas from £4.50.
A little off the usual tourist beat, just beyond the city walls, this South Indian restaurant works exhilarating flavours into its freshly spiced dishes. Tamarind, dried chillies, curry leaves and mustard seeds are deployed with multi-dimensional aplomb across everything from its masala dosa to Keralan specialities such as beef curry with shallots and coriander or a lamb stew with coconut, chilli and cinnamon. Mains from £6.95.
Special occasion, casual dining
Down on Peasholme Green, chef Adam Humphrey has returned to Yorkshire from Sydney to open this swish white space decorated with bright, Keith Haring-esque wall art. Expect fascinating wines, exceptional bread and quietly innovative main courses, such as cod with crab and lobster sauce. Afterwards, be tempted by the cheese trolley. Two courses, £45.
The Star Inn the City
Casual dining, kid friendly
A spin-off from chef Andrew Pern's celebrated Harome gastropub The Star Inn, this polished bar/restaurant sits on the River Ouse, with views best enjoyed from the terrace in summer. Service begins at breakfast (with a top fry-up and eggs Benedict among the offerings) and stays open through to dinner. Choose from mains such as black treacle-cured pork belly with salt-baked turnip or rump of lamb with lamb fat carrots and minted peas. Also in York, Pern runs Mr P’s Curious Tavern, which deals in global small plates. Mains from £21.
The Hairy Fig
The café element of this characterful deli/café – with a vintage, Charles Dickens vibe – is tiny. In peak tourist season, you may have to be quick to bag a table in the compact back room or on the pavement, but it's worth the effort. Quality ingredients underpin its rustic platters, salads and meals, from warm pork pie with minted mushy peas to Serrano ham, manchego and fresh figs.
All scaffolding poles, corrugated metal and black walls, Ambiente in Fossgate looks like a hip, new wave Madrid restaurant. Its fino and amontillado sherries and dishes such as whole sea bream baked in a traditional salt shell pay homage to rural Spanish tradition. But with its morcilla Scotch egg, calamari in a buttermilk batter and flamenquín (a deep-fried béchamel-filled chicken dish, rarely seen here), Ambiente openly flirts with el dude food. Tapas from £4.50.
Sixteen years old this year, this neat Gillygate bistro (look for its gorgeous art nouveau shop front) continues to impress with modern British dishes such as slow cooker beef feather blade with potato rosti or Yorkshire lamb shoulder with fried aubergine and baby swede. In summer, its garden is lovely. Café No.8 also operates a café at York Art Gallery. Mains from £16.
Run by sisters Kate and Kelly Latham (the latter, a former sommelier at Hotel Du Vin), this dusky, seductive wine bar serves gourmet nibbles that include gordal olives, artisan cheeses and Yorkshire and continental charcuterie – including the prized Ibérico de bellota. All that comes alongside numerous by-the-glass wines, most available in exploratory flights or as recommended food pairings. It carries a decent craft beer list, too. Small plates from £4; boards from £15.
The Perky Peacock
Casual dining, cheap eats
Tucked under Lendal Bridge, this cosy, atmospheric medieval turret offers refuge from the tourist hordes and a fine line in breakfasts, gussied-up sandwiches and home-baked treats. Start the day with avocado on toast with chilli, lemon, garlic and tomato chutney, washed down with a silky flat white, or swing by at lunch for an interesting salad of, for instance, spring onion, kale, pomegranate and pumpkin seeds, plus a slice of rose sponge cake.
Cheap eats, kid friendly
The concept is simple at this refreshingly on-point takeaway. It serves a small selection of wraps and sandwiches, the sauces and fillings for which are cooked from scratch daily. Among their legendary recipes are the 10-hour pulled pork and Reuben sandwich – that's homemade beef brisket pastrami with sauerkraut, blow-torched Swiss cheese, gherkins, mayo and mustard (“two weeks to make, two minutes to devour”). Wraps from £5.
The Rattle Owl
Casual dining, kid-friendly
There are – quite literally – layers of history to this restaurant, an art deco-styled space in a 17th-century building that has notable Roman remains in its cellars. Yet the Owl (with its accreditation as a Living Wage employer and its offerings of organic wines), is firmly on trend – not least with dishes such as beetroot cured salmon or salt aged beef tartare with Cashel Blue, hazelnuts and English mustard. Four course sample menu is £30.
More foodie spots
Armed with Square Mile beans, this coffee shop caters for all York’s flat white, drip-cup and cold brew needs.
These real bread champions also sell pork & fennel rolls, ace savoury Danish creations and a host of sweet treats at their tiny store.
House of the Trembling Madness
This incredible craft beer bar and bottle shop is housed in a 12th-century Norman house with taxidermy-decorated walls.
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