The best restaurants in York

·7-min read
The Star Inn the City
The Star Inn the City

It wasn’t so long ago that there were only a handful of expensive restaurants in the city to get excited about. Now, York’s fine food scene is vibrant, modern and fresh.

Here's an insider's guide to the best places to eat in York, including seriously impressive British dining, quality Japanese, new takes on gastronomical greats and where to find the best espresso. For further York inspiration,  see our guides to the city's best hotelsshoppingnightlife and things to do.

Melton’s Restaurant

Although he trained with the Roux brothers at Le Gavroche, Michael Hjort’s restaurant has a wonderful lack of pretension, a relaxed atmosphere and reasonable prices for what is one of York’s finest restaurants. Classy starters such as scallops with lovage pasta and caponata or home-smoked ox tongue with kohlrabi remoulade lead on to salted East Coast coley (with fennel and saffron gnocchi) or Yorkshire pig (‘The Whole Hog’ is a perfectly sized plate of trotter, belly and hock served with pommes boulangère and cabbage). Refreshingly, vegetarian options are meat-free takes on the main courses and suggestions for wines to match each dish are a welcome touch.

Contact: meltonsrestaurant.co.uk
Reservations: Essential
Prices: ££

Melton’s Restaurant
Melton’s Restaurant

Café No.8 Bistro

A mini kitchen on display adds a touch of the trattoria to this cosy restaurant, which has built a well-deserved reputation for well executed, unfussy bistro dishes. Its relaxed atmosphere, secluded garden and friendly front-of-house manager and co-owner Martin Gore are all well worth a trip outside the city walls for bumper breakfasts, leisurely lunches or inventive twists on evening dishes: fresh figs with Ribblesdale goat cheese, pine nuts and honey or pressed shoulder of Yorkshire lamb with potato gratin and broad beans.

Contact: no8york.co.uk
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: ££

Café No.8 Bistro
Café No.8 Bistro

The Star Inn the City

It may look very different – beautiful, in fact – scooping design awards for the reimagining of its old water board building and attached modern conservatory-dining room, stretching between the river and the Museum Gardens, but make no mistake: this city-based sister of the Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome (currently closed) still has fantastic food at its heart. And there is nowhere in York doing British cooking this confidently or classily. All this is complemented by the relaxed, cosy yet spacious dining space and The Star’s always excellent, attentive service. And, of course, those gorgeous views, inside and out.

Contact: starinnthecity.co.uk
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: ££

The Star Inn the City
The Star Inn the City

Roots York

The Banks family (Tommy Banks is head chef at the Michelin-starred Black Swan at Oldstead and two-time winner of the Great British Menu) teamed up with friend and restaurateur Matthew Lockwood to open their latest venture, Roots York, at the end of 2018. Located next to Museum Gardens, the restaurant follows a sharing plate concept that works around a seasonal menu, with innovative, reasonably priced dishes such as smoked eel doughnuts, cured trout, fennel kimchi and Meridian apple and Tommy’s famed crapaudine beetroot cooked slowly in beef fat.

Contact: rootsyork.com
Reservations: Essential
Prices: ££

Roots York
Roots York

Oshibi

The quality Korean-Japanese food served up by friendly husband and wife owners, Soang Ho and Ross Sinclair, draws crowds of locals and those in the know to the quiet streets near trendy Fossgate. Expect authentic and delicious lunches of gyoza dumplings, nakji bokkeum (octopus cooked with a lip-tingling chilli pepper sauce), bulgogi (stir-fried beef marinated with pears, ginger, garlic, soy and sesame) and fantastically fresh Korean sushi – all prepared from scratch. The Korean table grill is a sociable feast of meat, seafood and kimchi.

Contact: oshibi.biz
Reservations: Not required
Prices: £

Oshibi
Oshibi

Mr P’s Curious Tavern

Part Victorian curiosity shop, part swanky dining and drinking space, chef Andrew Pern’s newest project is a departure from his other two successes – the phenomenal Star Inn (at Harome) and the The Star Inn The City, just down the road. Here he’s drifted from the traditional track into a more playful, relaxed feel. Think 19th-century lanterns, racks of jamón and trophy (soft toy) animal heads on the walls. Begin with a gin from an incredible list (the pink peppercorn Whittaker’s from nearby Harrogate is a treat) before a few of Mr P’s signature small plates. All are fantastic, inventive and cooked with the same eye for quality that have made Pern's offerings a Yorkshire institution.

Contact: mrpscurioustavern.co.uk
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: ££

Mr P’s Curious Tavern
Mr P’s Curious Tavern

Le Cochon Aveugle

An award winning restaurant on fashionable Walmgate, Le Cochon Aveugle features a blind lunch and dinner tasting menu (its name means ‘blind pig) inspired by the traditional French cooking techniques chef/owner Josh Overington learned during his time in Paris. Served in dinner party style, with all guests eating at the same table, dishes include warm hens yolk with smoked taramasalata and nasturtium flowers, hand-dived Orkney scallop cooked ‘à la ficelle’ in sea urchin butter and sauternes baked custard with a bitter caramel. Turn up 30 minutes early to get to know your fellow diners over pre-dinner drinks.

Contact: lecochonaveugle.uk
Prices: £££
Getting in: Smart casual

Il Paradiso del Cibo

Two things are ‘God’ in chef Paolo Silesu’s rustic Italian restaurant: food and Juventus Football Club. The place is always full of in-the-know foodies and students taking advantage of the reasonably priced menu, but it only adds to the noisy authenticity. Pizzas and pastas make up the bulk of the menu but the regularly changing specials board features Sardinian highlights such as cozze e vongole (mussels and clams cooked in Vernaccia wine with chilli and garlic) or sardines with pesto rosso (pan-seared with onions, rocket and red pesto). There's also sister restaurant Il Paradiso on the Forest, located near Huby, nine miles north of York.

Contact: ilparadisodelciboyork.com
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: ££

Il Paradiso del Cibo
Il Paradiso del Cibo

1331

Tucked away down a cobbled side street just round the corner from York’s famous Shambles, this modern, laid-back restaurant and bar (plus tiny attic cinema with big comfy armchairs) makes a great pit stop for breakfast, reasonably priced lunch or late night nosh. Vegetarians, vegans and people with dietary allergies are well catered for and there are plenty of non-meat sausages and vegetable stir fries in among the homemade pies and bangers and mash. On the odd occasion York gets hot enough, there’s a pretty, covered walled garden in the courtyard.  

Contact: 1331-york.co.uk
Reservations: Recommended (for groups)
Prices: ££

Skosh

Making waves since it opened on the increasingly hipsterish Micklegate, everything about Skosh (a short form of the Japanese sukoshi, meaning ‘a little bit’), from the industrial lighting, gunmetal grey walls and steel bench seating, says ‘modern British dining’ but that would be doing it a huge disservice. There are influences from Japan, the Middle East and Thailand, with judicious use of ingredients like edible flower seeds, sorrel emulsion and kombucha (fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea) pectin. Saddleback pork, slow cooked and cubed, salmon caviar whipped to a cream and hake with a cauliflower puree topped with dukkah (a mix of nuts and spices) come close to perfection.

Contact: skoshyork.co.uk
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: ££

Skosh
Skosh

The Rattle Owl

The Rattle Owl has been garnering plaudits since it opened a couple of years ago. Set up by first-time restaurateur Clarrie O’Callaghan, with head chef Jamie Hall (formerly of The Star Inn and Star Inn the City) in charge of the cooking, it’s New York loft meets 17th-century Grade I listed building with walls of exposed brick and the original parquet flooring. A well-balanced menu features whipped Yorkshire blue cheese with figs, duck breast Medjool dates, and poached rhubarb Anglaise.

Contact: rattleowl.co.uk
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: ££

The Rattle Owl
The Rattle Owl

Spring Espresso

Like most other cities in the UK, York is blessed with its fair share of national coffee shop brands, so a second incarnation of Spring Espresso (the first one is on Fossgate) is a welcome pull in the other direction. Equipped with what’s claimed to be the UK’s first Synesso Hydra MVP (the big daddy of espresso machines), the artisan coffee house serves Chinese teas, homemade cakes, bacon sandwiches and Bircher muesli in a cosy, modern café decked out with padded bench seating and reclaimed furniture from the 1600s. Staff are young and friendly, and you can also catch the odd exhibition here.

Contact: springespresso.co.uk
Reservations: Not necessary
Prices: £

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting