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, Wreckfish and the new Pinion), 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 sheep's curd and basil open lasagne with leon butter sauce. 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 red mullet, Menai oysters or Ebène caviar and cauliflower cream – 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 a chef, while brother Ben is front-of-house. Their rolling menu is executed with rigour and uses the best-quality ingredients. Head here for breakfast, a lunchtime sandwich or an evening main, such as pan-fried sea trout with pumpkin velouté and wild mushrooms. The breads and cakes are wonderful. Mains from £11.75. 

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. The menu extends to hot dogs, various types of ‘dirty’ fries, tacos and salads and an extensive range of shakes. Burgers from £7. 

The Chef's Table
Casual dining

The Chef's Table main course
Recently reopened after a major renovation, every detail of this restaurant has been carefully considered and there are regular, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan menus to choose from. Chef-owner Liam McKay’s dishes – for example, maple glazed partridge with cider-and-mushroom sauce forestiere, smoked pancetta, butternut squash and crushed walnuts – 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 – think gutsy dishes such as braised beef and old Wavertonian pie with red cabbage and fat chips, or hake and cockles with spring onion mash. Local ingredients are key; not least rare-breed pork from Spitting Feather’s own Waverton farm. 

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 our heart with its sweet treats such as raspberry chocolate brownies, ornate cheesecake slices (salted caramel), Earl Grey macarons and lemon passionfruit 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 fennel-flavoured lamb curry or beef mappas, Koconut Grove’s sensitively spiced dishes vibrate with vivid, clearly defined flavours. Mains from £5.25. 

Porta
Casual dining, cheap eats

Porta tapas
Ordinarily, we wouldn't include two venues from the same owners. But, Porta – another Wright brothers’ production, located 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, where a light-filled restaurant opens out into a large, quirky 'secret' garden. From snacky lunchtime soups and sandwiches to evening mains (of, say, cured salmon, apple, kohlrabi, chervil and pine), the food is of good quality. Try the 'odd plate' initiative, which consists of several small plates to create a tapas-style meal. The signature menu must be ordered by the whole table, for £45pp. Mains from £8.

Atina Kitchen
Casual dining

Atina
This idiosyncratic café/restaurant (a riot of bric-a-brac and foodie ephemera), is open day and night. Its menus are extensive and its themed nights delve into everything from artisan gin to Black Sea wine. It's also a brilliant breakfast bolt-hole. Plates of sriracha scrambled eggs, charred halloumi and avocado, or haggis with poached egg and an English muffin will banish any lingering morning fuzziness. Breakfast from £4.

Chez Jules
Casual dining, kid-friendly

Chez Jules moules
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 of two courses for £13.95. You can enjoy a decent goat’s cheese salad, slow-braised steak or asparagus and potato tart. It's nothing flash – the accompanying veg has a farmhouse kitchen feel – but the flavours are sunny and true. Mains from £10.95.

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 the elegantly light batter doesn't 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 delivers 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 £12.50 

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 Morecambe Bay plaice with king scallop dill butter and Italian black rice. Evening mains from £11.

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 £8.50.

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 is fairly wide (with dishes such as chargrilled butternut squash, stilton and nut roast burger), but Harkers is also big on the pub classics: choose from sausage ‘n’ mash; fish 'n' chips; or ham, egg & chips. Mains from £8.95.

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; it's the place to sup delicious imported gems from To Øl, Cigar City Brewing and more.

The Jaunty Goat

Relax, coffee geeks! Chester has you covered. The Jaunty Goat does it all, from V60 pour-overs to cortados and flat whites.

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...

Best places to eat in York
Top 10 foods to try in Sweden
Best places to eat in Mallorca

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

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of October 2018 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

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
sophsix1
24th Jan, 2018
The Blue Bell 1494 on Northgate street is a cracking little Tapas restaurant set in one of the oldest buildings in Chester. Hidden gem, not in your face, just quality food and friendly staff..simple.
John Bailey's picture
John Bailey
18th Dec, 2017
La fattoria! Like eight times over. Always cheap. Always booked up. Always amazing. Tony-get down.
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!
Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.