We've rounded up the very best places to eat, drink and be merry in the historic city of York—a place full of gastronomic surprises.
For a sumptuous seasonal menu: Roots
For gourmet country pub vibes not far from the centre of the city, Roots is an unmissable culinary encounter for visitors to York.
Working around three seasons—“preservation”, “hunger gap” and “abundance”—chef Tommy Banks (who became the youngest Michelin-starred chef in Britain in 2013, and won the Great British Menu in both 2016 and 2017) strives to create deliciously innovative sharing plates that showcase and champion the best in seasonal British produce.
Surprisingly delicious concoctions for the “hunger gap” season—running until May—include venison tartare, kale dressed in sheep’s yoghurt and seabass with rhubarb and beans.
There’s a unique pleasure to be taken in a meal that delights and surprises with every mouthful. And the friendly, knowledgeable staff combined with an interior that perfectly straddles York’s heritage with its modern style ensures your dining experience is nothing but the best.
For modern sophistication: Arras
This funky, yet sophisticated restaurant has a seriously European vibe—bizarre, as Arras began life in Walsh Bay, Syndey, Australia. It's the passion project of British chefs Adam and Lovaine Humphrey, who wanted to offer our cousins down under a fun-yet-delicious, tongue-in-cheek take on traditional British cuisine.
With contemporary, paint-splashed interiors, everything about this eatery is bold and the confident, knowledgeable waiters will have you making exciting, informed decisions about everything from the food you order to the cheeses you sample and wine you pair with your meal. It seems there’s no question they can’t answer.
Our favourite bites were the cod with peas and potato, crab and lobster sauce and the unmissable toffee, coffee, crunch dessert.
For slick cocktails: Pavement Vaults
Slick interiors and knowledgeable staff combine to foster a low-key but chic bar right in the centre of York. A stones-throw from the major shops and covetable Shambles area, Pavement Vaults is the perfect place to relax with a drink after a day of enjoying the hustle and bustle of York’s city life.
If you’re drinking with a group, enjoy the privacy of the dim lighting and gentle music, and if you’re alone, pull up a stool at the bar and enjoy a chat with the seriously knowledgeable bar staff. They’ll be happy to tell you the stories of the spirits on offer and pour you tasters before you order, talking you through their own favourite and signature tipples along the way.
For casual drinks: The Graduate
With a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of space, The Graduate also offers two for one cocktails most days of the week as well as their ultimate crowd-pleasers—25p pancakes every Tuesday, and 25p chicken wings every Wednesday.
Far from cheap and cheerful, the food is delicious and the atmosphere laid back. With a pool table, sports screens, an outside area and vast selection of real ales, you could happily while away many an hour in this spacious and fun bar.