Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Lancashire
Hardens guides have spent 30 years compiling reviews of the best Lancashire restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 148 restaurants in Lancashire and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Lancashire restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Lancashire Restaurants
1. Moor Hall British, Modern restaurant in Aughton Prescot Rd - L39
“A beautiful building in a beautiful setting with a beautiful kitchen garden, and beautiful food… just fabulous!”. Mark Birchall’s “outstanding” three-year-old occupies a “mediaeval manor house adapted for the 21st Century” to the north of Liverpool and is “excellent in every way, from start to finish”. After the approach down a long driveway, “an ancient stone arch holds a door of ecclesiastical proportions, leading onto to a panelled reception. From here you are led into the lounge (proper fire places, more intricate carvings and Latin inscriptions) to be served from the charcuterie bar as you wait (black pudding parcel; smoked eel basket with edible flowers; cod’s roe mousse with caviar and the most beautiful crackers ever…)”. Once in the dining room proper (a very modern space), “everything coming out of the kitchen is exquisite”: thoroughly “deserving of its two stars” and oft-compared with L’Enclume (even if the food’s “not quite as cheffy and messed about with”). “What Mark Birchall can do with carrots and turnips is just remarkable” and “symptomatic of the ethos: fresh, simple ingredients taken to a higher level by the chef’s craft”. “Integral to the experience” is a “front of house team fully on the top of its game; and a team of sommeliers passionate about their work, all dedicated to creating the ultimate dining experience”. It doesn’t all take itself too seriously either: the vibe is “fun and convivial”. Top Tip – don’t miss a jaunt to the cheese room, and take a stroll around the gardens if you have the time.
2. Northcote British, Modern restaurant in Langho Northcote Rd - BB6
One of the “top class gold-standards for restaurants in the North West” – this luxurious country house hotel, just off the A59 near Preston, has risen to ever-greater prominence over the years, and “its new ownership (The Stafford Collection) promises yet-additional investment”. “With Lisa Goodwin Allen now established as Executive Head Chef, there’s a new vibrancy to the cuisine, with interesting and imaginative new dishes whilst maintaining the best from the past” (established under Nigel Haworth); and “better touching base with its North West roots than it has in recent times”. Over the years the property has been lavishly added-to and refurbished with a result that can seem a bit “naff” or “corporate”, but which mostly gets the thumbs up for giving a “classy” impression. There’s “an exceptionally curated wine list, whose selection is led by MD Craig Bancroft, with plenty of classics but lots of other interesting wines from around the world”. “Will they now get the second Michelin star that they so crave?”
3. La Locanda Italian restaurant in Gisburn Main Street - BB7
“Possibly the most authentic Italian food in the north of England, and with no compromise to British ideas of what Italian food is” – this converted old cottage on the A59 is “somewhat reminiscent of an agriturismo, but casting its net over Italy, serving various cuisines rather than just one”. Maurizio Bocchi is the chef, while his wife Cinzia runs front of house, and “their knowledge of oils and wines is amazing” (“olive oil is a speciality verging on obsession and the all-Italian wine list is full of excellent wines you've never heard of, all at very fair prices”). “The food is hearty enough for a rural Lancastrian appetite” – “pastas, particularly the home made ones, are always excellent, fish is always very good, but meat tends to be overcooked in that curiously Italian manner”.
4. The Inn at Whitewell Sandwiches, cakes, etc restaurant in Clitheroe Forest of Bowland - BB7
This famous, “charmingly old-fashioned” eighteenth-century inn has been run by the Bowman family for three generations and is set in the stunning landscape of the Forest of Bowland – bang in the middle of what the Office of National Statistics says is the happiest place to live in Britain. All reports give a solid thumbs-up to its traditional cooking and high quality cellar, but it somewhat lacks the profile of yesteryear.
5. Eagle & Child British, Modern restaurant in Ramsbottom 3 Whalley Road - BL0
On the outskirts of Ramsbottom, this small inn on the village green was recently well-renovated and has a “good beer garden”. “Any lack of polish service-wise is compensated for by the staff’s enthusiasm and willingness”. “Good quality, traditional British food, with regional variations, and some home-grown vegetables, works well”.
6. Freemasons at Wiswell British, Modern restaurant in Wiswell 8 Vicarage Fold Clitheroe - BB7
“Fine dining in a local pub” – “high quality ingredients and well-rehearsed techniques to ensure a top-class, punchily-flavoured product”; and with “a brilliant wine list” – again win massive acclaim for Steve Smith’s “lovely” old inn, set in a tiny village in the Ribble Valley. In July 2019, it re-opened after a major investment, with the addition of a new kitchen, chef’s table (min 6, max 12), kitchen bench (4 stools) and bedrooms.
7. YU Chinese restaurant in Copster Green 500 Longsight Rd - BB1
“Not by any stretch of the imagination your average Chinese”, beginning with the odd setting in an unglamorous-looking former pub, right on the A59, and continuing inside, which “comes across as a bit blingy”. “Fortunately the food really is excellent, especially from a Western point of view” – “even simple dishes are fresh-tasting and cleanly fried – not at all masked by gloopy sauces”.
8. Breda Murphy Restaurant British, Modern restaurant in Whalley 41 Station Rd - BB7
Right opposite the train station, an Anglo-Irish deli/restaurant that’s an “all-time favourite in The Ribble Valley”, and which, “from breakfast to dinner to special events is consistently excellent”; having doubled in size in 2017 (an Irish gin bar was also thrown into the mix), it’s not “cosy” these days, but “the atmosphere is always buzzing”.
9. Angels British, Modern restaurant in Ribchester Fleet Street Lane - PR3
2018 Review: A white baby grand helps set a glitzy and “romantic” tone at this cocktail bar and restaurant in the Ribble Valley, praised by its local fan club for a good all-round experience.
10. Clog & Billycock British, Traditional restaurant in Pleasington Billinge End Rd - BB2
2019 Review: “Back on form and deservedly popular” – this well-known, “comfortable” gastropub on the ‘Yellow Hills’ achieved more consistent ratings this year for it’s “mixture of pub classics, sharing boards and seasonal specials”. As our survey was concluding in May 2018, it was sold, along with its Ribble Valley Inn stablemates, to the Brunning & Price group.
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