Best places 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.

York panorama

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 favourites...

Cave du Cochon
Casual dining

Oysters on white plate
Since Good Food last visited York, Cave (little sister to Josh Overington and Victoria Roberts’ Le Cochon Aveugle) has evolved from a simple wine bar into something closer to a bistro. A cosy, intimate space – all exposed brick and walls papered with old wine books – you can still sit at the bar and work your way through Jura’s sherry-like vin jaune wines or skin-contact orange creations, via Greek and Austrian vineyards, to a classic chablis. But the food menu has moved beyond meats and cheese to include, for instance, Overington’s blood sausage macarons, slip sole with vadouvan spices and a stellar salt beef tartare with pickled wild garlic capers and anchovy emulsion. Dishes from £4.50.

Shambles Market
Cheap eats, kid friendly

Woman making crepes
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.

The Press Kitchen
Casual dining

For a casual all-day coffee shop, bar and dining room, The Press Kitchen is surprisingly glitzy, with swanky wallpapers and bold furnishings. The keenly-priced daytime menu takes in everything from a ‘morning-after hash’ with ’nduja and fried eggs and a creditable dhal, to huevos rancheros or onglet with Scotch bonnet pesto, hazelnuts, caramelised onion and potato rösti. Brunch dishes from £4.

Roots
Special occasion, casual dining

Outside view of roots restaurant
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. Mains from £17.50; set menus from £35 per person. 

Partisan
Casual dining

Cakes with figs on top
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 £3-10.

The Block
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
Casual dining

Shellfish on blue plate
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 £8.95. 

Love Cheese
Cheap eats, casual dining

Deli counter with cheese
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. We can think of no better way to spend £3.50. Lunch from around £5.50.

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. At this lightly vintage-styled restaurant, indulge in a constantly changing eight-course tasting menu, served blind, so each course is a magnificent culinary surprise. Have no fear, for Josh’s clever, produce-driven dishes – like the 60 day-aged beef tartare with cauliflower & tomato sauce or the elderflower panna cotta with wild strawberry sorbet & elderflower vinegar granita – are beautiful, considered creations that deliver oodles of profound flavour. The biodynamic and natural wines are also a winning choice.

Its sister wine bar, Cave du Cochon, is located on the same street. Sample a selection of cheeses, charcuterie and small plates with your drinks. £60 Wednesdays and Thursdays at Le Cochon Aveugle.

Skosh
Casual dining

Skosh hen's egg dish
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 £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 waffles with maple syrup are a real treat. Breakfast from £4.

Los Moros
Cheap eats, casual dining

Los Moros veggie street food
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 £10.

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 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 £35.

Mannion & Co
Casual dining, cheap eats

Charcuterie platter
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 £7.95.

Sotano
Casual dining

Sotano beer selection
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 £4.75. 

Coconut Lagoon
Casual dining

South Indian selection
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 £6.45.

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 bread and quietly innovative main courses, such as cod with crab and lobster sauce. Afterwards, be tempted by the cheese trolley. Two courses, £38.

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 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 £15. 

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, 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. 

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 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.

Café No.8
Casual dining

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.

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, 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 £3.50; boards from £11.50. 

The Park
Special occasion

Main course from The Park
Try delicious, creative, technically rigorous food at The Park, just outside York’s city walls at chic boutique hotel Marmadukes. The exquisite plates of sea trout with hispi cabage and wasabi or pork with wild garlic are showcased in a four-course tasting menu (£48).

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. 

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 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 £4. 

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. Mains from £17.50. 

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

Bluebird Bakery

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

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of January 2020 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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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GuyWhapples
5th Feb, 2020
Bistro Guy on Gillygate is a wonderful little Bistro
AudreyForever
25th Oct, 2018
Try Vaqueiros at the bottom of Mickelgate, we're regulars and love it. http://braziliansteakhouseyork.co.uk
janekinson
18th Oct, 2017
Tried at least 4 on the list all very good.
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