Eat and Drink in York
Once people only wrote about Bettys, the stylish tearoom in St Helen’s Square that served up dainty sandwiches and Fat Rascals in surroundings that recalled a 1920s luxury liner. Bettys is still there, still decked out like the Queen Mary and still York’s favourite tearoom, but York is now as global as its visitors from a top notch Italian Le Langhe, Korean Oshibi, Polish Barbakan, South Indian Coconut Lagoon and everything in between.
Other places to take the weight off your shopping bags are the lived-in Café Concerto opposite the Minster offering ‘music for the mouth’ and with yellowing sheet music on the walls, well stuffed sandwiches, filling soups, hearty mains and brilliant cakes, you can see what they mean. Cabra Verde in Peter Lane is the antithesis of Concerto’s scuffed up look, being both neat and spare but the Spanish tapas cooked by a Portugese chef is worth a visit. Brew & Brownie is more New York than old York with their pancake stacks and savoury muffins.
For Yorkshire food the newest and most talked-about restaurant is the Star Inn the City, offering a contemporary ‘Yorkshire with a twist’ menu in a restored brick Engine House in Museum Gardens. The much loved Blue Bicycle on Fossgate is a York stalwart while Michael Hjort, the chef/owner of Melton’s on Scarcroft Road offers a menu that sings with regional, seasonal ingredients. York’s tiniest café has to be the cute little Perky Peacock perched in an ancient postern house on Lendal Bridge selling life enhancing bacon butties, cakes and terrific coffee. Similarly the Gatehouse Café, is a book-filled Christian run coffee shop within Walmgate Bar.
Dean Court Hotel, in Duncombe Place, is one of the best located beds in the city, just a hop and a skip from the Minster. For veggies, there are a couple of dedicated meat-free zones in the quirky El Piano in Grape Lane and little Goji, on Goodramgate, while Filmore & Union, is veggie aware without being totally meat free, and with many gluten free and dairy free dishes on a menu it is modern, fresh and inventive. Restaurants fill up fast in York but Fossgate, Walmgate and Gillygate are the best bet for finding independent restaurants and cafes that care about their food.
The Guy Fawkes Inn on High Petergate is all candlelight and shadows, ditto the Maltings at Tanner’s Moat. The Whippet Inn on North Street has been refurbished as a well-regarded steak and ale house while the Lamb & Lion in High Petergate has a warren of rooms, good pub grub and a secret garden. York Brewery operate four pubs in the city and run tours from their brewery in Toft Green. Sample a pint in the brewery Tap Room or alternatively try the Last Drop in Colliergate or the Yorkshire Terrier on Stonegate.