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The Complete List of the Best Places to Eat in York

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4 months ago

York is steeped in thousands of years of history and a genuine character that is one of a kind. But it might come as a surprise that York has built itself a reputation for fantastic food that has been recognized both within and outside the UK – and York is one of the best destinations for solo travelers. During your two- or three-day trip to York, we recommend that you try to get to as many of these establishments as you can as these are the tried-and-tested best places to eat in York, England.

In between soaking in the rich tapestry of York’s medieval streets, make sure to leave plenty of time to dig into the rich flavors of York’s food scene (and plan in advance – so many of these are restaurants frequented by locals). And you absolutely must carve out room for what might be the best grilled cheese toasties in the UK at our special mention.

We should mention that a few of these establishments have a lunch and dinner service, but if we’ve specifically placed it in the lunch or dinner category, then you can take that as an indication that the particular establishment is better for that service.

Breakfast, brunch and lunch

1. Partisan

Partisan is a delicious and always dependable brunch and afternoon tea spot that also doubles as an art gallery. In fact, they sell the art hanging on the walls within. And occasionally they feature works of artists and creators whose works you can buy.

The owners, Hugo and Flo, are beloved, long-time residents of York. Flo is quite the star chef – the aubergine parmigiana is absolute delicious, particularly on a cold, cozy day. And their baked goods are incredibly moreish. If you’re sitting for brunch or lunch, you’ll probably find yourself making more than one trip to the counter.

It’s nothing but the best quality ingredients at Partisan, and locals know it. So you want to make sure to book a table in advance because the Partisan is popular among locals (locals know where the good food is, naturally). This is one of the few places that takes reservations, so it’s a good one for those who want to have their day in York mapped out.

You’ve been warned that Partisan also makes an incredible variety of cakes, so expect to get overwhelmed and excited – and probably order too much. And if you fall in love with Partisan, Hugo and Flo have also recently opened up Brancusi just up the road for those seeking a fine dining experience.

And just for good measure, Partisan is located on Micklegate, the grandest street in York and home to no less than four Grade I listed buildings.

2. Mannion & Co

Mannion & Co now has a few locations, but its first (and best) location is right in the heart of York in a building with a stunning restored Tudor frontage. This is a local spot with a small outdoor patio that is known for its fresh and tasty brunch options. This is one of those places that, if you lived in York, you’d find yourself eating at a few to many times a week.

Mannion & Co doesn’t take table reservations during the day, so your best bet is to try to go when they open or after the lunch rush.

3. Brew and Brownie

If you’ve already arrived in York, you’ve probably noticed a seemingly ever-refreshing queue on Museum Street. If your stomach can handle the wait, join the queue for a table at Brew and Brownie for what will be a classic and tasty brunch menu. The team here really has earned their reputation as one of the best places to eat in York.

If your stomach can’t wait, the team at Brew and Brownie has done all of us a favor and opened a bakery a few doors down. York being delightfully small and walkable, Brew and Brownie is just over the road from the Museum Gardens, one of the best things to do in York.

Much like the other spots on our list, Brew and Brownie also doesn’t take reservations.

4. Pig and Pastry (or Robinson’s)

Pig and Pastry is a delicious and highly rated brunch spot on one of York’s cutest streets. If there is no seating (as they don’t take reservations as well), head over to Robinson’s for an equally tasty brunch spot that has a bit more space! Robinson’s has perfected the mushroom truffle toast and avocado toast.

Dinner and snacks

1. Dough-Eyed

People often talk about Cresci Pizza (which admittedly is very tasty and popular Neapolitan pizza), but Dough-Eyed is the real showstopper. This pizzeria is in the tiniest, most unassuming spot on a corner of The Shambles, and the pizza is simply delectable. This is a right choice if you’re looking for an easy dinner in a great atmosphere right in the heart of York.

2. Ambiente Tapas

Can a restaurant get a bump up on our list because they’ve perfected one dish? We think so. The patatas bravas are skilfully done at Ambiente Tapas, but you won’t be disappointed with anything you order here. Being a tapas restaurant, you can even treat yourself to a glass of sangria.

The sheer success of Ambiente Tapas has allowed the team to open a second location in York, but we think the vibe in the Fossgate restaurant is better. Ambiente also boasts a healthy number of vegan options which isn’t so easy to come by in a Spanish restaurant.

3. Angel on the Green

You wouldn’t think a pub would make a list of the best places to eat in York, but local Yorkians will tell you that Angel on the Green makes the freshest pasta in all of York.

4. Shi Shang Chinese

If you’re willing to walk a little bit out of the center of York and you have a hankering for a good Chinese meal, look no further than Shi Shang Chinese Restaurant. I lived in China and Taiwan for years and I can confidently say that this is one of the few places that really takes me back (in the best way). You might be surprised to see this on our list of best places to eat in York, but Shi Shang delivers every single time and has earned its place here.

5. Skosh

We should mention Skosh (which is just down the road from Partisan) because it’s earned itself Michelin recognition. Skosh is great for many reasons, including that it won’t break the bank for London standards. It’s not uncommon to hear that some find the dishes to be hit or miss, and unfortunately the environment lacks ambience, but you’re still going to get a very good quality meal – and in a gorgeously restored heritage building.

If you’re able to get a reservation, you won’t be disappointed. But if you don’t get a reservation, then you should know that there’s nothing to be disappointed about. York has plenty of other great options.

Desserts and cafés

You might not guess it, but York has a surprising number of excellent dessert options. If we had to pick a city in the UK for its sweet tooth, it would be York.

1. Parlormade Scone House

This is the absolute best dessert café in York that does not get the hype it deserves. Parlormade is a quintessentially York scone house located in the Shambles within a narrow, low-ceilinged timber-framed building from the 15th century. There are so many incredible things on offer here, but they’ve perfected the scone and you absolutely must try it – it’ll be one of your best memories of York.

Parlormade boasts lots of tasty flavors like cherry and white chocolate, but also savory scones as well. If you can nab a seat, the place is very cozy and cute.

Local tip: On a sunny day, grab your scones to go (always say yes to jam and cream) and then walk over to the Museum Gardens to enjoy them outside.

2. Betty’s

Every guide for York (or Harrogate) will insist that you sit for tea at Betty’s. If you have the time and patience, you should. Because Betty’s makes some of the best desserts in York, including the world famous Fat Rascal.

Local tip: Do not leave York without trying a Fat Rascal. It may not be the number one tastiest thing you have in York, but it’s absolutely delicious and officially marks your visit – Betty’s is an institution.

Unless you’re keen to wait outside so that you can sit for tea in the ornate, carpeted room (which is objectively a lovely experience), locals know that the best thing to do is to pop into the bakery side of Betty’s which you’ll never have to wait more than a few minutes to enter. Grab the must-try Fat Rascal and then take it somewhere to enjoy outdoors.

3. Riverside Café

For unmatched views of the calm River Ouse through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, get yourself a booking at Riverside Café which is atop the movie theatre in town on Coney Street (the main street in York). On a nice day there are also tables outside to have a coffee or drink.

The food is great, and the establishment has a nice, modern buzz to it that stands in contrast to the rest of York. Riverside Café is the perfect choice if you’re looking for more of a chilled, modern comfort amidst the antiquity of York

4. Ippuku Tea House

We’ll admit that this isn’t the most York experience, but Ippuku is loved by locals for its coziness and unique teas – and, of course, cakes and desserts to match. It’s a wonderful spot to stop while you’re in town – and it’s right next to Heavenly Desserts (which we recommend if you’re looking for a late night dessert)!

5. The Perky Peacock

The Perky Peacock is particularly cool because it’s within the medieval Barker Tower on the river. It’s eclectic and funky, all while being in the middle of ancient York, which is the perfect setting for a memorable dining experience that is perfectly York. The atmosphere is also excellent, and you can even get a table overlooking the River Ouse to watch the geese and rowers.

There is something particularly magical about sitting in a structure that is over 600 years old and enjoying a meal.

Best bar in York: Trembling Madness

York is known for being a bit of a sleepy town. Most establishments close early (even by usual UK standards), and even dinner or supper is earlier. So it’s a bit tough to find somewhere tog go if you want to kick on after dinner, and even harder to find somewhere good.

Trembling Madness is the answer to your post-dinner troubles. It is an incredibly cool bar for a drink in the evening. All of the rooms are decorated differently with such a dark, tasteful mystique that permeates through all of them. You can’t not appreciate the unique design, atmosphere and feel of this bar.

Special Mention: Love Cheese

There’s a very good reason why Love Cheese gets its own callout. It’s no secret that we have surveyed London for the best grilled cheese toasties, but the best grilled cheese toasties in the UK are to be found at Love Cheese. When you find somewhere that gets it so right every single time, you praise it – and that praise is very well-deserved at Love Cheese.

I want to tell you to get Nothing Compares to Ewe or the Italian Job, but they really are all so delicious. And they let make your own. Beyond the amazing grilled cheese toasties, the shop sells a beautiful variety of cheeses and condiments, and there’s even a tree-filled outdoor area to sit and enjoy your toastie.

Beyond York

York is the perfect launchpad to explore the stunning Yorkshire Dales and other locations in the area. Check out our comprehensive guide to the best day trips from York for inspiration.

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