Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in York
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best York restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 31 restaurants in York and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing York restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured York Restaurants
1. The Alice Hawthorn British, Modern restaurant in Nun Monkton The Green - YO26
“From a humble inn to an outstanding eatery in a very short time” – this “lovely pub in the delightful village of Nun Monkton” has been turbocharged in recent years by investment from millionaire plumber Richard Harpin and is run by Claire & John Topham. The latest investment has been a new block adding 12 bedrooms, which opened in early 2022. Practically all reports acclaim “a well-balanced menu providing relaxed, comfortable dining with first-class service”. (The name, by the way, is that of a famous racehorse, and another reason to visit is England’s tallest maypole, on the village green).
2. Fish and Forest Fish & seafood restaurant in York 110 Micklegate - YO1
“An outstanding neighbourhood bistro that strives to produce and make sustainable food fresh from local produce, game shoots and day boats” – Stephen Andrews (supported by manager Yohan Barthelemy) delivers a “menu that’s small but perfect” in this inviting industrial-style space, complete with lots of concrete and wood. He took on these premises in April 2020, after a succession of pop-ups in other venues. Top Menu Tip – “incredibly fresh fish, well executed”.
3. The Bow Room Restaurant British, Modern restaurant in York Grays Court Hotel, Chapter House Street - YO1
“Quietly top class” – York’s oldest inhabited house (and boasting a medieval walled garden) is the backdrop to a meal at this small hotel, some of whose rooms have unmatched views of York Minster. The dining room (holder of hard-to-win three AA rosettes) serves a multi course tasting menu with an optional wine pairing “a very pleasant experience with some great flavours”.
4. 31 Castlegate Restaurant British, Modern restaurant in York 31 Castlegate - YO1
“Good value and relaxing” – Nick Julius’s well-rated independent bar/restaurant occupies the erstwhile HQ of Georgian architect G.T. Andrews, in the shadow of the Clifford’s Tower. “Friendly and helpful” staff deliver a very wide range of competitively priced menu options of a bistro/brasserie nature.
5. Skosh British, Modern restaurant in York 98 Micklegate - YO1
“It’s worth getting one of the counter tables so you can watch the chefs work” at Neil Bentinck’s “go-to”, small, city-centre destination – one of the top three most commented-on destinations in this decidedly foodie city. “It is a place people rave about and once you have been, you become part of a community where your mind is blown by the flavour combinations that Neil and his team bring together” – “amazing, amazing, amazing!". “You could describe it as British-Japanese fusion” (‘Skosh’ is Japanese for ‘small amount’) – “very inventive using local ingredients and exceptional for the price”. “It’s a convivial place with friendly staff” too (“walking in and sitting down for dinner is almost like being at a friend’s house – relax and laugh out loud, like there are no strangers around”). Top Menu Tips – “the ‘egg’ is divine as a pre-starter and the buttermilk chicken is to die for (but the vegetables are also treated with care and respect to make excellent dishes in their own right)”. (In late 2021 an application was put in to expand the restaurant, and Neil hinted in a May 2022 Yorkshire Post article that change is coming some time soon).
6. Five Guys Burgers, etc restaurant in York 47 Low Petergate - YO1
2021 Review: “When all you want is an old-school burger”, these US-based arrivals of recent years really “hit the spot” – you can “build your own”, with “tons of accessories”; plus “seriously addictive fries”, “thick milkshakes”, and “more soda flavours than is reasonable”. “The eat-in experience is as depressing as McDonald’s”, though, in fact perhaps more so – “some branches have a strangely gloomy ambience” – but fans feel that “if you don’t mind 1980s-rock, a trip can still be surprisingly fun”.
7. Mannion & Co British, Modern restaurant in York 1 Blake St - YO1
“A wonderful breakfast with local produce” is to be found at this popular and highly rated deli/café, with a restored Tudor frontage, which the Mannion family first opened as a grocer’s over three decades ago. At other times, charcuterie boards and cheese slates come from the deli counter are the order of the day.
8. Los Moros North African restaurant in York 15-17 Grape Lane - YO1
“North African-inspired deliciousness” wins universal acclaim for the market stall Tarik Abdeladim opened in 2015, and the restaurant that followed three years later in Grape Lane. Much of the produce is sourced from nearby Yorkshire farms, and Brew York has even produced branded Los Moros pale ale and lager to complement the flavours of its food.
9. Bettys British, Modern restaurant in York 6-8 St Helen’s Square - Y01
“An institution for a very good reason, so be prepared to queue” – this “absolute classic” tea shop is a “must-visit” that “always delivers great quality”. The original Bettys was opened in Harrogate in 1919 by Swiss confectioner Frederick Belmont – an era that the group still embodies, and a nationality commemorated in the “really good rösti” still served. The brand has become thoroughly naturalised in Yorkshire over the ensuing century, and York is now its biggest branch – whose only fault is “that it’s always crowded”.
10. Cafe No. 8 Bistro Sandwiches, cakes, etc restaurant in York 8 Gillygate - YO31
2021 Review: “Never had a bad meal”, say fans of this “favourite” tiny bistro, off the Gillygate, serving “excellent ingredients prepared with some imagination”. It can feel “rather cramped inside”, though. Top Tip: “go for the garden room in summer, under the medieval city wall”.
11. The Ivy St Helen's Square British, Modern restaurant in York 2 Saint Helen’s Square - YO1
2022 Review: The York branch of Richard Caring’s glossy Ivy chain generates most enthusiasm for its attractive interior, which makes it a pleasant spot to while away an hour or two – including over afternoon tea – especially if you can nab a table by the full-length windows (difficult to guarantee, since tables are allocated on arrival).
12. Star Inn the City British, Modern restaurant in York Lendal Engine House, Museum Street - YO1
Acclaimed Yorkshire chef Andrew Pern’s city version of his famous Star Inn at Harome (which he spent last year rebuilding after a disastrous fire) has a “lively atmosphere, excellent food, efficient service and good setting” on the River Ouse, making it “ideal for family celebrations”. Its ratings are dragged down by a significant minority of reporters who feel it is “distinctly average in all respects, given the prices charged”.
13. The Whippet Inn Steaks & grills restaurant in York 15 North St - YO1
This “owner-operated pub that’s now basically a restaurant” is noted for its “great steaks”, with cuts sourced from ex-dairy cows in England, Finland and Galicia in Spain that are put out to pasture for two years after retiring – providing ethical beef with a fuller, more developed flavour. “Fantastic wines” complete the deal.
14. Roots British, Modern restaurant in York 68 Marygate - YO30
“We went the day after having eaten at The Black Swan and all enjoyed this more!” – “Tommy Banks continues to surprise, amaze and delight in equal measure” at his family’s converted pub in the city centre, which nowadays is the most talked-about place in town, and one of the most commented-on restaurants nationally in our annual diners’ poll. Head chef, Will Lockwood, moved here from The Black Swan in late 2021 and his tasting menus showcase “the Banks ethos of local produce and sustainability”. “Each course is a work of art starting with lots of foraged and locally sourced ingredients”, all “served impeccably in a relaxed manner by knowledgeable and friendly staff” and “complemented by good wine pairings”. “The location even allows a gentle post-prandial stroll along the river bank – assuming York's legendary floods are not present!". The experience is, however, decidedly “not cheap” and as a result even some who rate it as “exceptional” feel it’s “a one-visit-only job”.
15. Ambiente Spanish restaurant in York 31 Fossgate - YO1
A “popular and enjoyable” tapas bar with “helpful staff” and “great Spanish food” (including “very good paella”) which has spin-off branches in York, Leeds and Hull. “What makes it special is the choice of sherries, with several tasting flights offered”.
16. Mumbai Lounge Indian restaurant in York 47 Fossgate - YO1
2021 Review: “Beautiful Indian food” from a “varied menu with a touch of the exotic” and some really “great flavours” has earned this eleven-year-old Bengali a position as one of the town's top curry stops.
17. Arras British, Modern restaurant in York The Old Coach House, Peasholme Green - YO1
“So many things to like…” This “attentive small restaurant” is the work of Adam & Lovaine Humphrey, who cut their teeth ‘down under’ and moved to York after 17 years of running restaurants in Oz. Here, “there’s a total of only 18-20 covers, so they have to make each person’s experience a good one”. “The interior is bright, stylish and elegant without being OTT… The same can be said of the staff, plus friendly and efficient”. Foodwise, the culinary style is “interesting and appealing, without being too far out” delivering “a first-class meal at a reasonable price”. “You must leave room for the cheese trolley, personally presented by the chef”. Top Menu Tips – “Superb bread… outstanding rhubarb with the pigeon starter… beautiful venison”.
18. Pairings British, Modern restaurant in York 28 Castlegate - YO1
2019 Review: A “great little wine bar with exceptional wines, personal service and tasty nibbles” – this three-year-old venture offers simple food (sharing platters, charcuterie, cheeses) to help soak up its vinous offerings. Top Tip: “the ‘Pairing Wine Flights’ matching food with wine are a fab concept and fun to experiment with”.
19. Barbarkan Polish restaurant in York 34 Fossgate - YO1
2021 Review: A “robust Polish food offering in central York”, also serving other Eastern European specialities (notably textbook pierogi and borscht) and winning fans for its bargain prices; “if you can, leave room for the cakes which are truly delicious”.
20. Il Paradiso Del Cibo Italian restaurant in York 40 Walmgate - YO1
There are “no airs and graces in this homely little Italian” from Sardinian-born Paolo Silesu – just “great food, friendly service and a lively buzz”. “If you just woke up here, you’d think you were in the back streets of Naples – it’s mad and hectic, but brilliant” – and “totally authentic”.
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