Mobile menu

22nd July 2019 Joe Willis

Eating out in North Yorkshire and the Dales

It is no exaggeration nor idle boast to declare that North Yorkshire possesses within its borders some of the best restaurants and options for eating out in the country.

Michelin star restaurants

Michelin Guide inspectors are frequent visitors to the area and have given three restaurants a coveted Michelin Star. These include The Black Swan at Oldstead, on the edge of the North York Moors, which is run by the Banks family, who have lived and farmed in the village for generations.

They have a field to fork ethos and, like many of the best restaurants in North Yorkshire and elsewhere, are inspired by the produce that can be found locally, including their own two-acre kitchen garden. The only menu available at The Black Swan is a £98 to £125-a-head tasting menu, which features such delights as raw Oldstead deer, scallop with razor clam and rhubarb and monkfish with fermented celeriac.

The Star Inn

Enjoy a delicious meal at The Star Inn, Harome

Not far away is the Star Inn at Harome which also lists a Michelin star among its numerous awards. Describing itself as a “rustic gourmet bolthole”, the Star serves modern Yorkshire food made primarily from locally-sourced seasonal ingredients, including local game, North Sea fish and fresh herbs from their own kitchen garden.

North Yorkshire’s third Michelin starred restaurant is The Yorke Arms in Ramsgill, in Nidderdale. The historic former 18th-century coaching house and shooting lodge’s kitchen is led by one of the country’s top female chefs, Frances Atkins. The restaurant offers either an eight-course tasting menu for £105 or a five-course option for £75. These highly-coveted restaurants are often fully booked unless you book months in advance. Fortunately, there are many more great options for eating out across the Dales, Moors and the North Yorkshire coast.

Michelin Guide inspectors are frequent visitors to the area and have given three restaurants a coveted Michelin Star

Fish and chips by the beach

Not every good eating out option is expensive in North Yorkshire. No trip to the seaside towns of Scarborough or Whitby would be complete without fish and chips, eaten on the beach ideally. The long queues outside Whitby’s famous Magpie Café, on Marine Parade, are testament to just how good their food is, but there are plenty of other places if you do not want to wait, including the Quayside, next door or Silver Street Fisheries, which is just around the corner. Whitby also has a number of excellent brasseries and bistros, including The Moon & Sixpence, on Marine Parade, which serves seafood, gumbo and Cajun dishes, as well as cocktails. It’s open at 9am and is a popular place to enjoy breakfast while watching the boats come in and out of the busy harbour.

Seafood also plays a big part in the dining experience down the coast in Scarborough. The Green Room Brasserie, in Victoria Road, offers a mix of European, Asian and French cuisine. Pan-seared hake with saffron-poached potato, bouillabaisse sauce and foraged sea vegetables is an example of one of its regular dishes. Another popular restaurant is Jeremy’s in Victoria Park Avenue, which is run by husband and wife team Jeremy and Anne Hollingsworth. Jeremy worked in restaurants around the world including spending six years under Marco Pierre White before returning to his home town to open his own establishment.

Fish and chips

Treat yourself to some fish and chips by the coast

Fine dining Italian restaurant La Lanterna, in Queen Street, has been open for more than 40 years and is something of an institution, with one critic describing the eatery as ‘the English temple of Italian cuisine’. Chef-patron Giorgio Alessio is influenced by his native Piedmont in northern Italy, where the cooler climate calls for comfort food of game, risotto, pasta, hazelnuts, chocolate, and Lanterna’s speciality, truffles. For a more casual dining experience, the American diner-inspired restaurant, East Coast Kitchen, in Newborough Street, is worth a visit.

Burgers, ribs, chicken, wings and pulled pork, as well as pancakes with maple syrup and huge milkshakes, feature on the menu. If you are particularly hungry you can try one of the East Coast Kitchen’s eating challenges and go on to feature on the wall of fame if you’re successful, or wall of shame if you aren’t!

Not every good eating out option is expensive in North Yorkshire. No trip to the seaside towns of Scarborough or Whitby would be complete without fish and chips, eaten on the beach ideally

Traditional eats and Italian flavours

In the village of Cloughton, around four miles out of Scarborough, you will find the charming 250-year-old Blacksmith Arms Inn which forms part of the Duchy of Lancaster estate and serves decent pub favourites. The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge high up on the North York Moors is one of the remotest pubs in Britain. If you’re visiting during the winter, it is advisable to check the weather forecast as staff and customers have been snowed in for more than a week in past years! The menu features a number of pub classics, including steaks, gammon and scampi, as well as a hearty Old Peculier casserole made with the Theakston’s famous ale.

For something a little different, Middleton Tea Parlour, in Middleton, just outside Pickering is worth investigating. Their afternoon tea, which is served in fine China crockery and includes dainty sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted cream, draws visitors from far and wide. Another ever popular eatery is Potter Hill Fisheries in Pickering. There’s every chance you will see the queue leading to the tiny takeaway before you actually see the shop.

In Helmsley, diminutive Italian restaurant Gepetto’s, in Bridge Street, gets busy and it is worth booking ahead if you are planning to dine. As well as a good selection of pizzas, the restaurant offers dishes inspired by the local produce, including rice balls with local black pudding.

Yorkshire’s food capital Malton has developed a reputation for good local produce and excellent eateries. What was once a sleepy market town, that was struggling economically, is now a popular destination for foodies, with marketeers even declaring it ‘Yorkshire’s food capital’. There’s a wide choice of excellent places to eat out including Stew and Oyster, in Old Maltongate, which you will not be surprised to read specialises in stew and oysters, but which also offers a good selection of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.

Chapter One Bistro in the Market Place is usually busy with a mix of locals and visitors. The menu includes home-made burgers, sharing platters and gourmet sandwiches, with the courtyard outdoor seating area a popular place to enjoy afternoon tea which is available with a glass of fizz! There is no shortage of great places to eat as you move from the North York Moors to the Vale of York.


There’s plenty of great restaurants where you can grab a burger

Northallerton is home to a number of excellent restaurants, including the quirky Potting Shed in the High Street, which has its very own potting sheds in the courtyard, and makes use of flower pots as serving bowls. The Village Inn, in Brompton, just outside Northallerton is another good option with its contemporary feel, location overlooking the village green and large menu of pub classics. In Thirsk, Racha Thai Bistro is tucked away in Bakers Alley, off the Market Place. Many of the names of the dishes will be indecipherable to non-Thai speakers, but the descriptions in English on the menu reveal the diner is in for a treat of authentic cuisine.

For lovers of Indian food, The Jaipur Spice, in Busby Stoop Road, is worth checking out, as is The Golden Fleece Hotel in the Market Place, which has numerous rooms to hole up in and enjoy food from the bistro-style menu.

For something a little different, Middleton Tea Parlour, in Middleton, just outside Pickering is worth investigating. Their afternoon tea draws visitors from far and wide

Dinner with a view

The nearby Carpenters Arms in Felixkirk has won a number of awards and is worth visiting just for the views from the terrace. The menu, which includes a celebration of the provenance of its suppliers, includes dishes such as baked garlic-studded Camembert, rack of Yorkshire lamb and ham hock terrine. The Dining Room, in St James Square, Boroughbridge, is run by Christopher and Lisa Astley. Christopher has trained and worked in well-known Michelin establishments and it shows with an exquisite menu, including dishes such as char-grilled fillet of grand reserve beef, and the restaurant being a regular in the Good Food Guide and Michelin Guide.

Bedale is another North Yorkshire market town which has a growing reputation for its dining out offer. Panettis Bistro and Café offers genuine Sicilian food made by owner Nino Curia. Spice Indian Restaurant in the Market Place is generally packed even mid-week. The service is friendly and the food is excellent.

As well as the stunning countryside, visitors are now coming to the Yorkshire Dales in ever growing numbers to enjoy the superb food and drink available across the national park. Numerous gastropubs and excellent independent restaurants are making the most of the local produce available to their chefs, including locally-reared lamb and beef, pheasant, grouse and partridge from the Park’s woods and moors, Yorkshire rhubarb, trout and salmon from Dales rivers and cheese from dairies in Wensleydale and Swaledale.

Burlington restaurant dish

Enjoy a spectacular meal at the Burlington Restaurant

The Burlington Restaurant at The Devonshire Arms, at Bolton Abbey, has a great reputation for fine dining and has achieved four AA Rosettes. With its nine-course signature tasting menu costing £85, plus the antiques, designer silverware, fine crystal glasses and stylish white china, its possibly not the place to bring the kids – and there is a dress code of no jeans or trainers – but for those looking for a memorable fine dining experience, the Burlington is a great option.

Food critics frequently find their way to the Wensleydale Heifer in West Witton, near Leyburn. The Heifer serves dishes such as Whitby crab and dill-crusted halibut fillet or maple-roasted lobster salad, as well fish and chips made with Black Sheep beer batter that comes with posh peas and exceptional goose fat chips.

Hawes has three pubs which all serve bar food, as well as a number of cafes. One of the most popular is the Penny Garth Café on the main street which, on a sunny afternoon, is usually packed with motorbikers who call in for a cuppa and a bacon sandwich while enjoying a ride out on the A684 between Hawes and Sedbergh. The Chippy, which is of course a fish and chip shop, is also a favourite with queues often stretching down the street during the summer.

The nearby Carpenters Arms in Felixkirk has won a number of awards and is worth visiting just for the views from the terrace

Locally-sourced produce

Head over the hill into Swaledale and you might come across the charming Farmers’ Arms in Muker, where Prince Charles once played dominoes with the locals during a visit. The food isn’t fancy, but it’s generally quick and tasty and there’s is no need to book.

Over the next hill to Arkengarthdale and eventually, when you think you must have missed it, you will come across the Charles Bathurst Inn, known locally as the CB. Despite its remote location, the CB is usually busy, particularly on a weekend when it is popular with visitors and locals alike. During the grouse season it is often used by visiting shooting parties. Grouse with all the traditional trimmings makes it on to the specials board when in season and is worth trying if you’re looking for an authentic Dales dish.

The Blue Lion at East Witton, near Masham, has something of a celebrity following, with James Bond actor Daniel Craig and chef Jamie Oliver among the famous guests to have popped in for a pint and a bite to eat. It’s understandable to see why when you see its stone flag floors, antique furniture, candles, wooden beams and huge open fires that ooze atmosphere and charm. The food’s not bad either and has helped the Blue Lion win the Dining Pub of the Year Award three times.

The Saddle Room at the Forbidden Corner attraction in Coverdale near Middleham is relatively new but has quickly developed a good reputation. The restaurant was converted from racehorse stables and is split into five sections including a cellar containing over 110 wines. In nearby Leyburn, you will find popular Indian restaurant Saffron, which is busy most days of the week, as well as excellent gastropub The Sandpiper Inn, whose owner and chef Jonathan Harrison is a previous winner of the Roux Scholarship.

Mussels, the Saddle Room

Head to the Saddle Room for fabulous food made with locally-sourced produce

In Sedbergh, as well as several good pubs, you will find Smatt’s Duo Cafe and Bistro, which prides itself on its use of locally-sourced produce. Nearby is the Three Hares cafe, bistro and bakery, which serves food throughout the day and also takes the local produce as its inspiration.

Boutique hotel Yorebridge House in Bainbridge is a regular winner of awards for its accommodation but also has an excellent restaurant which has three AA rosettes. Venison from Masham, sole from Scarborough and Dales lamb are regulars on the evening menu.

To the west is Malham where you find more country pubs serving good food, including The Lister Arms and the Buck Inn. In nearby Airton there’s the Town End Farm Shop and Tearoom, which serves breakfasts featuring home-cured bacon, the owners’ own-recipe sausages and Yorkshire chorizo.

Everything you need to know about North Yorkshire and the Dales

The best things to do in North Yorkshire and the Dales

The best shopping in North Yorkshire and the Dales

The best nightlife in North Yorkshire and the Dales

Your guide to arts and culture in North Yorkshire and the Dales

Image credits: ©Bailey Cooper Photography; Eventimages21/Klikk/Adobe Stock; Bobby Rodriguezz/Jelleke Vanooteghem/Thomas Tucker/Wouter Meijering/Unsplash; The Saddle Room; Thirteen

Featured places to eat

More places to eat >