Best places to eat in York

Look beyond the chain restaurants and York’s food scene is vibrant, from original, modern fine dining to hip wine bars and exotic street food.

York panorama

Visit the city of York for cafés that make the most of local produce and have your tastebuds tickled, too, by the more adventurous international cuisine that has become a new draw for tourists visiting this historic city. There's something for everyone and if you're a real foodie, there are plenty of eateries to choose from. Here are our favourites...

Le Cochon Aveugle
Special occasion, casual dining

Chicken dish
Chef Josh Overington and his partner Vicky Roberts have created a gastronomic cocoon that is a particular product of their food obsessive personalities. Indulge in a constantly changing eight-course tasting menu, served blind, so each course is a magnificent culinary surprise. But, have no fear, for Josh’s clever, produce-driven dishes like the rose veal tartare minced with fried capers, smoked bonito flakes and laced with a citrussy tonnato sauce; or a salad of Anarchy Urban Farm vegetables with a humdinger of a garden velouté, are beautiful, considered creations that deliver oodles of profound flavour. As do the biodynamic and natural wines served in this lightly vintage-styled restaurant.

The sister Cave du Cochon wine bar is located on the same street, where you can sample a selection of cheeses, charcuterie and small plates with your drinks. £60pp.

Skosh
Casual dining

Skosh hen's egg dish
Chef Neil Bentinck’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. Do not miss his sensational hen’s egg, a glamorous union of Dale End cheddar velouté, mushrooms and PX sherry, or the brown butter hollandaise fried chicken. Skosh’s super-affable staff are brilliant, too. Plates from £3.

The Pig & Pastry
Cheap eats, casual dining, kid friendly

The pig & pastry
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 waffes & maple syrup are a real treat. An irreverent atmosphere prevails: the Pig’s organic porridge comes with ‘poncy French yogurt.’ Breakfast from £4.

Los Moros
Cheap eats, casual dining

Los Moros veggie street food
In Shambles Market Food Court, you’ll find Tarik Abdeladim’s Los Moros shack, where he serves vividly flavoured Levantine and North African takeaway food. Originally from Algiers, Moorish cuisine played a big role in Tarik’s upbringing, which is clearly proved in his Merguez sausages, made with local lamb, and saffron Persian chicken wraps with harissa mayo and pickled beetroot slaw. Dishes from £6.

Melton's
Special occasions

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 venison tartare with anchovy, braised nuts and a smoked oil emulsion, or lamb three ways (loin, shoulder & bacon, with a broad bean croquette), illustrate why he’s a true food hero. Mains from £18.20.

Mannion & Co.
Casual dining, cheap eats

Charcuterie platter
This café does many things well, from stellar salads like the heritage tomato panzanella with burrata and superb sandwiches such as chorizo, Comté and pepperonata, to a classic eggs Benedict. Its baking is best experienced during an afternoon tea of classy open sandwiches, scones and cakes such as raspberry & lime curd tart with confit lime or chocolate orange mousse cake and cardamom cream (£19.50pp). Lunch specials from £8.

Il Paradiso del Cibo
Cheap eats, casual dining, kid friendly

Eating at il Paradiso is like visiting a bustling, family-run joint in Naples’ back-streets. Over the years it has 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 pumpkin gnocchi, porcini, chestnut cream and speck or spaghetti, clams and bottarga. Mains from £7.95.

Sotano
Casual dining

Sotano beer selection
As well as craft ales, 54 artisan gins and its crisp cocktails, this late-night basement bar serves terriffic tapas until 9.30pm. Sotano’s chef, Marta Jimenez Almira, makes 10 varieties of croquetas (from squid ink to quinoa and vegetables), and, beyond meat and cheese selections, the menu takes in classics like albondigas, chistorra sausage in cider or bacalao with crispy Serrano ham. Tapas from £4. 

Coconut Lagoon
Casual dining

South Indian selection
A little off the usual tourist beat, just beyond the city walls this South Indian 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 chaps (chops) or a roasted coconut varutharacha lamb dish. Mains from around £8.

Arras
Special occasion, Casual dining

Arras fish dish
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 breads and, after quietly innovative main courses such as lamb, broad beans & celeriac purée with a savoury, toasted grains brittle, be tempted by the cheese trolley. Two courses, £35.

The Star Inn the City
Casual dining, kid friendly

Star inn beer tanks
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 on the terrace in summer. Service begins at breakfast time (with a top fry-up and eggs Benedict on offer) and stays open through to dinner. Yorkshire produce such as Harome’s loose birds are prominent in dishes such as chicken with Wensleydale cheese, cauliflower purée and crispy bacon, or the Inn’s “infamous” club sandwich. Also in York, Pern runs Mr P’s Curious Tavern, which deals in global small plates. Mains from £14. 

The Hairy Fig
Casual dining

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 in summer. But you should make the effort. Quality ingredients underpin its rustic platters, salads and a catholic menu of meals, from warm pork pie with minted mushy peas to Serrano ham, Manchego and fresh figs. Meals around £8 - £10.

Ambiente
Casual dining

Flamenquin de pollo
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 an a lo pobre vegetable stew, heady with smoked paprika, pay due homage to rural Andalusian tradition. But with its morcilla Scotch egg, chicken wings and flamenquín (a deep-fried béchamel-filled chicken dish, rarely seen here), Ambiente openly flirts with el dude food. Tapas £3.95 - £7.95.

Café No.8
Casual dining

Fifteen 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 pork belly with crispy kale, mash, caramelised apple and cider sauce, or pressed Yorkshire lamb shoulder and rump with a goat’s cheese and cauliflower patty, thyme jus and vegetables. In summer, its garden is lovely. Café No.8 also operates a café at York Art Gallery. Mains from £13. 

Pairings
Casual dining

Wine pairings
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, Yorkshire and continental charcuterie – including the prized ibérico de bellota – artisan cheeses and Cornish charcuterie duck rillettes. 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 (Magic Rock, Vocation, Wild Beer etc). Small plates £3 - £6.50, boards from £9.50. 

El Piano
Casual dining, kid friendly

Hispanic tray from El Piano
A colourful import (El Piano has a sister restaurant in Spain, hence the Moorish-style decor), this veteran vegan restaurant and takeaway – 20 years-old, this year – is much-loved locally and by many carnivores, too. Local and seasonal UK produce is put to deft use across, for instance, chipotle hummus, cracking dhals, salads, falafel and Bolivian tinas (carrot patties, creamy with coconut milk) that guests combine to create mix ‘n’ match meals. Plate £11.95.
 
The Park
Special ocassion

Main course from The Park
A one-time Michelin star holder (who put Oldstead’s Black Swan on the map), chef Adam Jackson now cooks delicious, creative, technically rigorous food at The Park, just outside York’s city walls at chic boutique hotel, Marmaduke’s. Jackson’s exquisite plates of mackerel, peas and nasturtium, or pork, cauliflower, lardo and sage are showcased in his eight-course tasting menu (£60), but this friendly fine dining restaurant also has a three-course early bird menu. From £30. 

The Perky Peacock
Casual dining, cheap eats

Tucked under Lendal Bridge, this cosy and 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 and a sweet, silky flat white. Or, swing by at lunch for an interesting salad of, for instance, spring onion, kale, pomegranate and pumpkin seed, plus a slice of rose sponge cake. Sandwiches from £3.75. 

Shambles Kitchen
Cheap eats, kid friendly

Sandwiches from Shambles Kitchen
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 (chicken shawarma, Cajun halloumi) are cooked from scratch, daily. Among their legendary recipes are the 10-hour pulled pork and Reuben sandwich – that's oak-smoked pastrami with warm sauerkraut, blow-torched Swiss cheese, mayo and mustard (“two weeks to make, two minutes to devour”). From £3.60. 

The Rattle Owl
Casual dining, kid friendly

There are 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 (a Living Wage employer, using ecotricity energy, offering organic wines etc), is firmly on trend – not least with dishes such as its Bloody Mary gazpacho with pickled heritage tomatoes, or scallops and chicken wing with burnt cauliflower. Note: on Fridays, the tiny on-site Owlet wine shop hosts patisserie stars Shutishuti (for high tea, £13.50pp) and each Saturday, sells Haxby Bakehouse breads. Mains from £15.50. 

5 foodie places to try

Spring Espresso
Armed with Square Mile beans, this coffee shop caters for all York’s flat white, drip-cup and, even, cold brew needs.

Shambles Market

Street food wrap
Check the new Food Court (pizza and arancini at Pizzoli’; Winner Winner’s Chicken Shack and more). There's also the neighbouring Henshelwood’s deli, craft beer bar Pivni and the Monkbar chocolatiers.

Bluebird Bakery

Savoury pie
Real bread champions who also sell pork & fennel rolls and ace savoury Danish creations at their tiny store.

The House of the Trembling Madness
Incredible craft beer bar and bottle shop housed in a 12th-century Norman house decorated with taxidermy.

York Farmers Market
Held on the first Friday of the month in St Sampson’s Square. Discover artisan produce from local and regional food heroes like Haxby Bakehouse and Voakes’ pies.
 

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Is there anywhere we've missed? Let us know in the comments below...

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of October 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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janekinson
18th Oct, 2017
Tried at least 4 on the list all very good.
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