We’ve rounded up some of the best places to eat in Wakefield, with a focus on giving you some great options nearby some of the city’s top attractions. Whether you’ve got a sweet tooth, an inclination for Indian cuisine, or you’re in the mood for the meat sweats, fear not; there’ll be a restaurant or café right up your street.
Places to eat in Wakefield
If you’ve built up an appetite exploring Yorkshire Sculpture Park or ticking off some of the other top activities in Wakefield, then the four words ‘all you can eat’ will be music to your ears. Book a table at Estabulo on Merchant Gate and you can chow down on as much meat as you can manage. And when it’s this delicious, it’s difficult not to overindulge.
Estabulo is a rodizio grill that honours the Brazilian Gaúchos’ method of skewer cooking exquisite meats over open flames, which are then served straight to your table. That’s right, this isn’t one of those back-and-forth-to-the-buffet restaurants; you’re given a token that’s green on one side to tell the waiters to top you up with whichever of the fifteen(!) different cuts of meat they’re serving. You can flip your token from green to red when you’re ready to burst, or if you need a breather from the bombardment of belly pork, Brazilian steak, chicken hearts and the rest.
Continuing with the theme of glorious grills, Smokehouse is an American BBQ restaurant on Wood Street where you can divulge in a downright naughty menu of meaty magnificence. The brisket is dry rubbed and smoked for 12 hours, the ribs are smoked for six, the burgers will bring tears to your eyes, and don’t even get us started on the belly pork. It’s full of crowd pleasers for carnivores, but veggies shouldn’t be put off; there’s a full menu of meat free burgers and sides for you to choose from, too.
Another excellent option on Wood Street is Qubana. It’s a Cuban-style restaurant serving a sublime tapas menu that’s tough to pass up on; it’d be more at home in Catalonia than West Yorkshire. Burgers, steaks and other full meals are fine options too, and the restaurant itself is a spacious, stylish affair. What’s more, there’s a roof terrace and an adjoining gin bar if you fancy an after-dinner cocktail.
Wakefield’s alternative for tapas is less than 500 ft away on Cross Street. Jose’s Tapas isn’t quite as fancy as Qubana, but the family-run restaurant excels in offering authentic Spanish small plates and pans of paella that’ll please even the pickiest of Spaniards.
If you want a meal to remember, book a table at The Cow Shed. The iconic restaurant is set in the stunning listed building on Northgate that Joan Harris is said to have taken inspiration from when writing her best-selling book Chocolat. The restaurant serves a sublime menu of modern English cuisine, sourcing only the finest local, seasonal produce. It’s most famous for its steaks, but if you don’t fancy red meat, the rest of the menu is rather superb, too.
To round off our roundup of restaurants in Wakefield, we’ll end with a couple of top class curry houses. Abdul’s is a local favourite. Primarily it’s a takeaway, but there is a seating area if you want to eat in. The food’s fresh, the prices are good, and the service great. Alternatively, if you want a full dining experience, make your way to LaLa’s Restaurant on Westgate. Again, the food, prices and service are great. Plus, it’s less than a mile from our Wakefield Central hotel; perfect if you want to walk off that peshwari naan.
Cafés in Wakefield
As you can probably tell from the name, the Lakeside Café sits in a picturesque waterside location; you can practically skim a stone across Newmillerdam Lake from the al fresco seating area at the front of the café. As far as the food goes, every ingredient is organic and locally sourced, and they serve from breakfast through to dinner. If you’re planning on making the five-minute drive from our Wakefield South hotel to the pretty town of Newmillerdam, you’ll want to add this lovely café to your itinerary.
Similarly, when (not if) you visit The Hepworth Wakefield, be sure to grab some food or a drink at The Hepworth Café. It’s a haven of delicious eats, plants and arabica aromas. In 2017, it was completely revamped, with a menu curated by the guys and gals from Leeds’ House of Koko in partnership with Wakefield’s very own MasterChef finalist Chris Hale. Avocado on sourdough, buttermilk pancakes with bacon, steak & ale pie; you’ll want to try it all. Wash it all down with a divine cup of coffee from North Star Coffee, or any one of the café’s 20 loose leaf teas. Plus, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a jungle of picture perfect houseplants, succulents, cacti and ferns – every one perfectly potted and available to purchase from the geo-fleur plant shop.
Looking to satiate your sweet tooth? Marmalade on the Square will sort you right out with their selection of cakes, coffees, scones and sarnies. The display of cakes on the counter is literally breathtaking. Good luck trying to choose one; our tactic is to get a slice of each and worry about the health repercussions at a later date. The café itself has a higgledy-piggledy charm, courtesy of its mix-and-match bone china crockery and bric-a-brac furniture spread across two floors. It also benefits from a brilliant location in the heart of Wakefield on Cross Square on the opposite corner to Qubana.
That should be more than enough places to eat in Wakefield for you to choose from. We’ll finish up with honourable mentions for a couple of local favourites. If you want a no-nonsense hearty lunch or a big breakfast, you can’t go wrong with Café 19, which you’ll find in the shadow of Wakefield Cathedral. Likewise, Trinity Bakehouse serve up the kind of homemade food that you can’t help but love. The all-day breakfast is up there with the best in Wakefield, but it’s just one of the many crowd pleasers in an extensive menu that’ll have you umming and ahhing over what to order. Pay them a visit, next door to Trinity Walk shopping centre.