Best places to eat in Chester

Planning a visit to Chester? Try our top picks for dining out, whether you want child-friendly restaurants, fine dining or good, cheap food on the go.

Chester city centre

Chester is a sparkling gem of a city in the north-west of England founded by the Romans in 79 AD when they decided it was a perfect place to build a fort. It remains one of the best preserved examples of a walled city in Britain and, among the historic sights (also spanning medieval and Victorian architecture), it boasts superb independent shops and restaurants.

But where's best to eat after browsing the picturesque streets? We have the rundown of the best establishments whether you want to eat casually with the family, get the full fine dining experience, or eat on the go between sightseeing.

Sticky Walnut
Casual dining, special occasion

Sticky Walnnut chef
There’s not much to say about Sticky Walnut that hasn’t already been said by its owner and cult Twitter star Gary Usher. But amid all the entertaining online banter and crowdfunding drives (to launch spin-offs Hispi, Burnt Truffle and the new Wreckfish), it’s easy to forget how exceptional this bistro is. Located on the edge of Chester city centre, it’s a model restaurant from its affable staff to its assured, intelligent food. Try the mackerel with burnt apple, labneh, za’atar and cucumber, or a chateaubriand with legendary truffled parmesan chips. Mains from £15.

Simon Radley
Special occasion

Simon Radley main course
This one-Michelin-starred restaurant, headed up by Simon Radley at the grand old Chester Grosvenor is surprisingly modish on the plate. Pin-point dishes – such as pork with octopus, pea shoot gnocchetti & wild garlic butter – are complex, light creations. The service, however, is unreconstructed fine dining. Waiters glide to and fro, communicating in whispers, ministering attentively. Even the bread trolley, manned by a white-gloved waiter, is a performance. Dinner from £75 per person.

Joseph Benjamin
Casual dining

Joseph Benjamin fish main course
The Wright brothers’ handsome bar/restaurant is a deliciously modern, all-day hang-out. Joe Wright is the chef, while brother Ben is front-of-house. Their rolling menu is executed with rigour and uses the best quality ingredients, whether you’re eating breakfast, a lunchtime sandwich or an evening main, such as spiced lamb, pea & edamame hummus. The breads and cakes (try the pastel de nata) are wonderful. Mains from £10.50. 

Burger Shed 41
Casual dining, cheap eats, kid friendly

Calling it a ‘shed’ rather undersells this dimly lit, hard-edged burger restaurant, which is soundtracked by a mixture of Cuban jazz, moody indie rock and the sizzle of hot patties. A blend of locally sourced brisket and skirt, Shed burgers are well-seasoned and juicy-as-hell, and come in unusually creamy brioche buns. Elsewhere, the menu extends to hot dogs, various types of ‘dirty’ fries and an extensive range of shakes. Burgers from £7. 

The Chef's Table
Casual dining

The Chef's Table main course
From its meats (supplied by award-winning butcher Edge & Son) to the pegs that neatly pinion your napkin, every detail of this restaurant has been carefully considered. Chef-owner Liam McKay’s dishes – for example, miso & maple pork belly with king prawn, chorizo, spiced corn, caramelised pineapple & polenta in a sweetcorn butter sauce – take modern British food on an exhilarating world tour. Mains from £14.95. 

Covino
Casual dining, cheap eats

Covino
Hidden in Rufus Court, this hip gem does a small number of things well. Fundamentally, it’s a wine bar that serves a tight, ever-changing list of refreshingly different wines (e.g. natural, small producers) with Sticky Walnut breads and French charcuterie, and cheeses from Borough Market’s Une Normande à Londres. Owner Chris Laidler is an enthusiastic guide – and look out for Covino’s supper club events. Sharing platters £15.

The Brewery Tap
Casual dining, cheap eats

The Brewery Tap building
Chester brewery Spitting Feathers has turned an atmospheric Jacobean hall into a cracking real ale pub, with beer and food to match. Its gutsy dishes include homemade brawn, boiled ox tongue with mashed potato & pickled walnuts, and beef hash with pickled cabbage. Local ingredients are key; not least rare-breed pork from Spitting Feather’s own Waverton farm. Mains from £8.95. 

Mad Hatters
Casual dining, cheap eats, kid friendly

Mad Hatters cake counter
There are glitzier afternoon tea locations in town (the Grosvenor, Oddfellows etc.), but tucked up on Bridge Street’s ‘rows’ (the famous split-level, half-timber shopping galleries) this cute bakery/café has stolen Good Food’s heart with its ace raspberry chocolate brownies, ornate cheesecake slices (salted caramel), Earl Grey macarons and lemon passion fruit meringues. Choose from up to 20 cakes to go with your traditional finger sandwiches and scones. From £16pp. 

Koconut Grove
Casual dining

The food at this minimalist south Indian restaurant – judiciously decorated with beautiful flowers and a few oversized ornaments – is as clean and fresh as its decor. From its dosas, sambars and chutneys to a roasted coconut prawn varutharacha, Koconut Grove’s sensitively spiced dishes vibrate with vivid, clearly defined flavours. Mains from around £7. 

Porta
Casual dining, cheap eats

Porta tapas
Ordinarily, Good Food would not include two venues from the same owners. But, Porta – another Wright brothers’ production, next to Joseph Benjamin – is so good and different from the latter, it demands its moment. A tiny, bustling no-bookings tapas bar, it serves a clutch of interesting Spanish wines and on-point dishes, from simple croquetas to a revelatory Picos de Europa (blue cheese with caramelised walnuts, sultanas and honey). Dishes £2.50-£9.50. 

Oddfellows
Casual dining


From the street, this Georgian townhouse (now hotel) gives a little hint of the design-led complex within. For instance, its light-filled restaurant opens out into a large, quirky 'secret' garden. From snacky lunchtime soups and sandwiches to evening mains of, say, pork cutlet with brawn hotpot, rosemary carrots and crackling, the food is of good quality. Mains from £14.

Atina Kitchen
Casual dining

Atina
This idiosyncratic café/restaurant (a riot of bric-a-brac and foodie ephemera), is open all day and night. Its menus are extensive, and themed nights delve into everything from artisan gin to Black Sea wine. To Good Food, however, it is a brilliant breakfast bolt-hole. Plates of sriracha scrambled eggs, charred halloumi and avocado, or Atina’s fried chickpeas, black pudding, griddled eggs and homemade harissa, will banish any lingering morning fuzziness. Breakfast £4 - £9.

Deli Vert
Cheap eats, kid friendly


Up in Hoole (a short walk from Chester train station), Simon Price’s delicatessen is a showcase for artisan Cheshire produce and also (on clear days, you can perch at tables outside), a good place to grab an on-the-go lunch. Choose from homemade soups, sausage rolls, quiches and that week’s hot dishes, such as cottage pie, beef bourguignon or tartiflette. Meals from £4.50.

Chez Jules
Casual dining, kid friendly

Chez Jules moules
Twenty-years-old this year, this homage to France (complete with murals of beret-clad pensioners and unsalted Elle et Vire beurre gastronomique on the tables), is renowned in Chester for its great value menu du jour and prix fixe dishes. You can enjoy a decent steak frites, goat’s cheese salad or roast sea trout with pea purée and tarragon-lemon butter for £9.95. It's nothing flash – the accompanying veg has a farmhouse kitchen feel – but the flavours are sunny and true. Mains from £9.95.

Blackstocks
Casual dining, cheap eats, kid friendly


One of those whiz-bang new wave chippies putting the zing back into our national dish. It even serves its takeaway fish ‘n’ chips in special vented boxes so its elegantly light batter does not get soggy. Good chips, homemade mushy peas and interesting daily specials, such as sustainable sea bream or plaice, seal the deal on this cooked-to-order cracker. Fish ‘n’ chips from £5.99.

The Yard
Casual dining

The Yard crispy poached egg
Décor-wise, the Yard seems torn between upscale bling and grungy cool – a dilemma Chester wrestles with generally. Luckily, the food (crowd-pleasing, diligently cooked Italian) knows exactly where it’s at. The beef cheek Bolognese with tagliatelle delivered sound, slow-cooked flavours and silky, al dente pasta. The fixed price menu (two courses, £12.50) is good value. The staff are great, too. Mains from £13. 

Artichoke
Casual dining

Artichoke bistro cakes
This slick bar/diner – a conversion of a former mill on the Shropshire Union canal – does a bit of everything all day long with some aplomb, from breakfast (try the black pudding, colcannon and fried egg; breakfast meals from £4.50) to late-night gin cocktails and craft beers. Artichoke’s broadly Mediterranean evening mains menu might include such dishes as Glenloch salmon with Kalamata olive gnocchi, courgette, saffron vinaigrette and wasabi mascarpone. Evening mains from £13.50.

Hickory’s Smokehouse
Casual dining, kid friendly


You would be forgiven for letting out a 'yee-haw!' as you walk into Hickory’s, so loud, lively and authentically American does it feel. Its owners have brought back more than a love of TV sports and country music from their Stateside road-trips, too. BBQ meats, done in a variety of regional styles (try the 16-hour smoked Texas brisket), hit the mark, while Hickory’s wings, burgers and soul food dishes, will please both kids… and big kids. Mains from £9.50.

The Old Harkers Arms
Casual dining


A polished and grown-up canalside pub (its ban on small children under 10 is, for some, controversial), Harkers is both a nice spot for a quiet pint (nine cask ales, six guests) and/or a bite to eat. The menu roves far ‘n’ wide (Korean chicken skewers, baked camembert etc.), but Harkers is also big on the pub classics. Choose from sausage ‘n’ mash; cheese, potato & onion pie; or ham, egg & chips. Mains from £10.95.

La P’tite France
Casual dining


The kind of reliably good bistro you might find in any rural French town. All the necessary elements are in place, from the warm, breezy efficiency of host Frédéric Lolliot to its lunch menu (served 11.30am to 5pm) of timeless classics such as Burgundy snails in garlic and parsley butter, frogs’ legs, croque monsieur and moules et frites. At the weekend, La L’Ptite also opens in the evenings. Lunch mains from £6.95.
 

5 foodie places to try

The Cheese Shop

A legendary northern champion of artisan cheeses for over 30 years, with a top selection of mead, too. 

The Cellar

This unpretentious hang-out is Chester’s pre-eminent craft beer bar; the place to sup delicious imported gems from To Øl, Cigar City etc.

The Jaunty Goat

Relax, coffee geeks! Chester has you covered. The Goat does it all, from nitro and V60 pour-over to a flat white.

Corks Out

Corks out seating
An atmospheric cellar wine bar and craft drinks shop. Its wine jukeboxes serve 32 wines by-the-glass.

Taste Cheshire

This is the local Farmers' Market, held every third Saturday outside Chester Town Hall. Also, look out for events from vegan festivals to street food at the Carriage Shed next to the railway station.
 

Like these suggestions? See other foodie travel guides...

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Have we missed anywhere? Let us know in the comments below...

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of November 2017 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out-of-date information in this guide please email us at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com.

Comments, questions and tips

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DebbyPulford
21st Nov, 2017
I'd suggest Rococo Chocolates Chester (118 Northgate, a few metres from StoryHouse) as an addition to the "Foodie places to try" list. Hand made Artisan chocolates to die for, a cosy cafe and a secluded terrace garden. A must for chocolate lovers!
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