RestaurantsWest YorkshireIlkleyLS29
HARDENS CLUB PARTNER

survey result

Summary

£116
£££££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Without huge fanfare, Simon Gueller and wife Rena have moved on as owners of this ‘Gavroche of the north’ – set in one of the town’s oldest buildings; a restaurant since 1962; and famously a springboard for the career of the young Marco Pierre White. Since September 2022 it’s moved into the hands of local businessman, Adam Frontal (who ran Cookridge Hall Golf Club for nearly 20 years) and – although reports this year were not super-numerous – feedback is encouraging: “Under new ownership this great old timer is getting back its mojo, with great food and service in a traditional, if quirky, setting… not fully back to their old selves yet but they are getting there”. In October 2023, chef Kieran Smith moved on, perhaps as a result of his recent brush with a serious heart condition – no news as yet as to who will be replacing him, but his Insta suggests a smooth transition is in place, so we have maintained ratings. Top Menu Tip – “a very classy Sunday lunch”.

Summary

£116
£££££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Well worth the trek while on a trip ‘up North’”, noted a Wimbledon-based reporter on this esteemed and “always enjoyable” foodie destination. Set in one of the town’s oldest buildings, it first became a restaurant in 1962 and was cradle to the talents of the young Marco Pierre White prior to its last 19 years of ownership by chef Simon Gueller and his wife Rena. There’s a three-course menu at lunch – dinner is 6 courses plus canapés, amuse-bouche and bread – and fans say the kitchen “absolutely nails it”.

Summary

£114
£££££
5
Exceptional
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“We just love the ambience, atmosphere and theatre of this quirky temple of gastronomy, and return whenever we can” – is a familiar refrain from the many diners who make the pilgrimage to a small West Yorkshire town on a regular basis, to eat at this seminal establishment. Set in a 1720 townhouse, The Box Tree celebrates its 60th anniversary this year – the last 18 of them under the ownership of chef Simon Gueller and his wife Rena. In 2018 it was controversially stripped of its Michelin star, for reasons that can only be put down to fashion: certainly, our many reporters had and have detected no signs of a decline in standards. The Guellers’ initial reaction was to put the business on the market, but, recognising their continued passion for the place, they changed their mind – much to the delight of fans. Post pandemic lockdowns, their offer has been stripped down to a no-choice tasting menu (five courses plus canapé, amuse-bouche and bread for dinner, three courses at lunch), but it’s still likely to end, as ever, with a “perfectly executed soufflé”. More to the point, it’s still going down an absolute treat: “I’ve been to the Box Tree on many occasions, but my recent visit was the best ever!”.

Summary

£97
 ££££
5
Exceptional
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Why it lost its Michelin star I do not know, it was as good as ever”, so it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this Yorkshire institution has been unfairly cursed by the tyre company. Established in 1962, this “intimate and opulent” venue is Yorkshire’s answer to Le Gavroche: “a proper classical restaurant, with all the standards of service, napery, glassware, etc that we're always being told aren't important for the dining public these days”. But since the October 2018 demotion by Michelin, change has been been nearly non-stop. The star loss led to the immediate departure of head chef Kieran Smith and appointment of Samira Effa in his stead. Then in April 2019 Michael Carr joined because Samira didn’t last. All the while “despite the upheavals, the Box Tree has sailed serenely on: the chintz still looks out over the hushed rooms, Didier da Costa still presides over a great wine list, and there is still soufflé for dessert”. And practically all reports still attest to its “impeccable”, somewhat classical cuisine and “gentle, low-key hospitality that treats you beautifully”. In September 2019 – more change – as Simon and Rena Gueller announced they are selling up, despite significant investment in the property these last two years. Hopefully the next owners will just forget Michelin, and continue to do what the place has been doing so well (and it’s rated on that basis).

For 33 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at The Box Tree?

35-37 Church St, Ilkley, LS29 9DR

Restaurant details

Highchair,Portions
16, 22
No jeans
50
10+

The Box Tree Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of The Box Tree Restaurant in LS29, Ilkley by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of The Box Tree restaurant.
Simon M
This is a fine dining restaurant that has b...
Reviewed 2 months, 19 days ago

"This is a fine dining restaurant that has been around for a long time. The decor hasn't changed much over the years. The staff were friendly and helpful. The food was a mixed bad with some good dishes but others not so good. The starter was good with tasty goats curd and good pasta. The scallop was over cooked and over powered by the satay sauce. The guinea fowl was good. The Mille-Feuille was strange and not nice. Overall there is a lot of talent in the kitchen but a little more thought and care are required. "

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Prices

Availability 2 courses 3 courses coffee included service included
Lunch   £55.00
Dinner   £90.00
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £30.00
Filter Coffee £0.00
Extras  
Service 10.00%
35-37 Church St, Ilkley, LS29 9DR
Opening hours
MondayCLOSED
TuesdayCLOSED
Wednesday6 pm‑7:30 pm
Thursday6 pm‑7:30 pm
Friday12 pm‑1:30 pm, 6 pm‑8 pm
Saturday12 pm‑1:30 pm, 6 pm‑8 pm
Sunday12 pm‑2:30 pm

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