Whether you’re after a quick bite to eat, something sweet, a family-friendly restaurant or sophisticated meal for two, you’ll find it all in York. Perfect for foodies, step out of your York hotel and you’ll find that the medieval back streets are lined with interesting places, from the cool and contemporary to one of the best-known tea rooms in Britain - Bettys on St Helen’s Square. Trying one of their signature ‘Fat Rascals’ is a must, but lovers of something more exotic will find the cuisine here ranges from near and far, and caters to all sorts of diets.
Places to eat in York
The chain restaurants in York city centre are top quality and reasonably priced. For Italian, check out Jamie’s Italian, Prezzo or Pizza Express. The stunning interior of ASK makes for a special dining experience. Other familiar restaurants include Bill’s, Wagamama, Cote Brasserie, Turtle Bay and Giraffe. Loch Fyne caters to the fish and seafood fans.
For fine dining, try Melton’s on Scarcroft Road. The chef-proprietor of this modern British restaurant trained with Roux Restaurants, and the restaurant itself has two ‘AA’ rosettes and a rating of five in the Good Food Guide.
El Piano proves there’s more to York’s food scene than pork pies. Its gluten-free dishes have been winning over locals - vegan, vegetarian and meat-eaters - since 1997, making it one of the most successful York restaurants ever. Hearty and flavourful, the menu is Spanish, Mediterranean and Indian-inspired. Take-away is available but dining in at this bright and cheery spot is highly recommended. It’s great value, too.
Drakes Fisheries on Low Petergate is the best place to go for fish and chips. If you visit in spring, you’ll be able to order a deep-fried Creme Egg! Whackers on Gillygate also serves us great fish and chips.
York Farmers' Market
Looking for a hot drink and something to eat? You’ll be spoilt for choice in York. Although it’s most famous for its tea rooms, the city’s also full of beans when it comes to cafe culture.
York is teeming with quaint tea rooms, but if you like your Earl Grey with a huge helping of 1930s glamour, head to Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms on St Helen’s Square. World-famous, everything about it is utterly charming, from the smart waiting staff and fine crockery, to the fabulous art deco interior. Try their signature ‘Fat Rascals’ - plump, juicy scones decorated with almonds and cherries. There’s a Premier Inn hotel near Bettys Tea Rooms that’s perfect for the post-afternoon-tea slump, too.
If the queues at Bettys are too long, walk a couple of minutes down Stonegate and you’ll find Little Betty’s. Cosy rather than lavish, it has a similar menu and a quirky interior.
For something more contemporary, go to The Attic at Harlequin where award-winning baristas serve serious coffee. The Perky Peacock on Gillygate and Spring Espresso are also popular with coffee aficionados. Or pop into The Hairy Fig, a deli and cafe, to sample a fine selection of artisan food and drink from York, Yorkshire and Europe.
From lunch on the go at a street food court to a monthly gathering of local producers eager to sell their wares, York’s food markets are second-to-none.
For street food from all over the world, head straight to the Shambles. The stalls at the Shambles Food Court are bursting with tasty, exotic lunch options. Experience the taste of North Africa at Los Moros where you can have Chermoula lamb served with batata harra (Lebanese spicy potatoes). There’s also Sicilian pizzas, authentic French crepes and chicken dishes from the ever-popular Winner Winner. Our Premier Inn hotel near the Shambles is just a 15-minute walk away from this foodie heaven, too.
Prefer a traditional farmers’ market? York Farmers’ Market is held at St Sampson Square on the first Friday of every month. Alongside all the colourful fruit and veg there are stalls selling homemade soup, savoury jellies, traditional Danish baked goods and the most authentic baklava this side of Athens.