Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Cumbria
Hardens guides have spent 15 years compiling reviews of the best Cumbria restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 125 restaurants in Cumbria and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Cumbria restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Cumbria Restaurants
British, Modern restaurant in Cartmel
Cavendish St - LA11
“Phenomenal… superb… food, wine, service: everything was magical. Please go!”. Simon Rogan’s “Fat Duck of the North” inspired stunningly consistent reports this year, practically all of them unadulterated hymns of praise, and collectively confirming its position as one of the country’s very top gastronomic destinations. A converted smithy in an out-of-the-way village, it has such a “cute” and “beautiful” location and a “very romantic” interior to match. Superlatives abound in descriptions of its “engaging and surprising” tasting menus: “sixteen courses providing incredible mouthfuls of pure culinary bliss with every element utterly excellent”. “Highly recommended if you’re in the Lakes… or not!”
. Sharrow Bay
British, Modern restaurant in Ullswater
“For a special celebration and the drive”, head to England’s original country-house hotel, now a septuagenarian setting, perhaps with a slightly “dated” approach, but still with a twinkle in its eye. For a romantic meal, enjoying the updated traditional fare, with “a table for two overlooking Ullswater – what could be more perfect?”.
. HRiSHi, Gilpin Lodge
British, Modern restaurant in Windermere
Crook Rd - LA23
“The best local ingredients are married with spices and great originality” at Hrishikesh Desai’s swish dining room – the posher of the two eating options at this plush hotel, set “in a gorgeous Lake District setting” (see also Gilpin Spice). It offers a variety of modern British menus which provide “a hint of Indian influence in some of the dishes, but the resulting food is in no way overpowering: rather it is delicate and full of wonderful flavours”. “From the moment of arrival up to the moment of departure you are cosseted in a traditional but not suffocating way – a real pleasure”.
. The Samling
British, Modern restaurant in Windermere
Ambleside Road - LA23
“Magnificent views over Lake Windermere” are part of the appeal of this celebrated county hotel, which gained a fancy new glass-walled restaurant, wine cellar and chef’s table a few years back. It attracted the odd middling rating this year, but most feedback has remained very upbeat as chef Robby Jenks (from Newbury’s Vineyard at Stockcross) succeeded Peter Howarth in spring 2019, and we’ve maintained its ratings as an “amazing” all-rounder.
. Lake Road Kitchen
Scandinavian restaurant in Ambleside
3 Sussex House, Lake Road - LA22
“The aesthetic is paired back and the entire focus is on the food” at this small venue headed up by ex-Noma chef James Cross, which – in keeping with a modern Scandi vibe – has “an intensely local and seasonal focus, with a strong emphasis on foraged ingredients”: “exceptional dishes… and you get to chat to the chef while he works on it”. “There is a real passion about the produce (we listened to James explain the provenance of the beef for about ten minutes to our neighbouring table)”, so “the meal is both interesting as well as absolutely delicious.”
. The Forest Side
British, Modern restaurant in Grasmere
“Every course leaves you wanting more… even though you knew you shouldn’t as there are so many more to come”, according to fans of ex-L’Enclume chef Kevin Tickle’s “sublime” cuisine at Andrew Wildsmith’s swish three-year-old hotel: a “delightful” venue, in beautiful Lakeland setting, just outside Grasmere. The “quirky and interesting set of menus” are “well-realised and quite fun as well”, featuring “seasonal food that’s either from the garden, local suppliers or foraged”. It’s not utterly beyond criticism, though. Even fans concede it’s “costly” and criticisms include its “manicured style of cooking (I pity the sous chefs with tweezers)” and service that “leaves you feeling a bit giddy with so much coming and going”.
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