From fine dining restaurants and bistros to quirky cafes and a famous local chip shop, Penrith’s food scene is surprisingly cosmopolitan for a tradition Cumbrian town. Our guide rounds up the best places to dine in the area.
Places to eat in Penrith
If you only eat at one restaurant in Penrith, then make sure it’s Grants of Castlegate, just a hop, skip and a jump from our Penrith hotel. Their menu combines classic British dishes with a European influence, resulting in well-presented, perfectly cooked food. Add to that a well-stocked bar and a lovely atmosphere, and you can start to see why it’s rated as the best restaurant in town.
Cut from the same cloth, but with a slightly more modern approach, is Four and Twenty on King Street. Everything about this restaurant is fine dining apart from the bill, with the majority of main courses costing less than £20. Expect a refined menu of British and European food, a carefully put-together wine menu and superb decor. They also cater well for vegetarian and vegan eaters.
If your taste buds are crying out for a curry, Penrith has a couple of options in the town centre. Our pick is Indian Plaza on Middlegate, next door to the Alhambra Cinema. The decor may be in need of a refresh, but don’t let that distract you from what’s really important here. The food is fantastic and consists of a traditional range of traditional curries, tandoori dishes, biryanis and possibly the best naan breads in Cumbria.
Finally, for a taste of Thailand, head to Thai Food Cafe. Unassuming and delightfully authentic, this restaurant is located in the Devonshire Arcade and stays open for lunch and dinner. A word to the wise, if you’re heading to the restaurant in the evening when the arcade is closed, you’ll have to use the back entrance next to the car park on Market Court.
Thai Food Cafe
The Lemon Tree
There are lots of great cafes and coffee shops dotted around Penrith and its surrounding areas. Starting in the town centre, our first recommendation is The Yard Kitchen at Brunswick Yard, a haven of vintage, antique and upcycled homeware and clothes. It’s probably the coolest spot in town, with stripped-back brick walls filled with for-sale pieces by local artists, log-burning stoves and a tastefully mix-matched selection of reclaimed and vintage furniture. Choose from cafe classics like sandwiches, soups and salad or a more adventurous smorgasbord and wash it all down with a Carvetii coffee.
Just around the corner in the Devonshire Arcade is The Lemon Tree. Their home-made food is made using locally sourced ingredients, including pulled beef sandwiches, traditional English breakfasts and their famous lemon drizzle cake. Open seven days a week, this is a great spot to relax after a spot of retail therapy.
Situated in the village of Morland, a popular stop-off point for walkers a few miles south of Penrith is Mill Yard Cafe & Bistro. Overlooking Morland Beck’s waterfall, there are few places more serene to have a bite to eat and a coffee. They serve the classic cafe fare as well as some heartier meals such as lasagna and also have a license to serve alcoholic drinks if you’ve worked up a thirst from a morning spent rambling.
The delightfully quirky Llama Karma Kafe is a Peruvian-themed eatery in Brougham, just outside Penrith. The food is simple but tasty, with light bite options such as sandwiches and cakes, as well as bigger bites like burgers and pie and chips. The llamas are the key attraction of this cafe, and you can take part in llama trekking during your visit should you wish.
It wouldn’t be a complete food guide if we didn’t mention the best fish and chip shop near Penrith. You’ll have to head south to the village of Shap to find it, but Shap Chippy is worth seeking out. The owner is a trained fishmonger and uses only the best ingredients. You can dine in their restaurant area or take away and enjoy your chips whilst admiring the beauty of the Eden Valley.