Rustique in York

One of the most popular restaurants in York, Rustique is such a success because they have a winning formula. They’re not pushing boundaries or telling a story on a plate, they just serve classic French-style dishes at affordable prices. The two course set menu is just £14.95 (three courses are £17.95) and is available all day Sunday to Thursday and until 7pm on Friday and Saturday.

You get plenty of choice between dishes on the set menu, and they all seem to bring back memories of holidays across the channel (Boeuf Bourguignon, Steak Frites and Moules Marinières). On the A La Carte menu things are a little more expensive with meat-based mains £15-£22 and the vegetarian options under £12. If you’re planning on dining here it’s well worth booking ahead as the place always seems full.

No. 8 Bistro York

This Gillygate Bistro is a little bit out the way. Located just around the corner from Bootham Bar, as a visitor to York you probably wouldn’t accidently walk past it. However, it’s definitely well worth a visit. The dishes they serve are all well balanced combinations of flavours with an emphasis on local ingredients – carefully thought through rather than overly showy or pretentious.

Your wallet will approve as well. For the evening menu one course is £16, two £22 and the full three are £26. Although the restaurant opens out a little toward the back, capacity is limited so it’s definitely worth booking a table in advance. The No. 8 empire has continued to grow in recent years. They have taken over the cafe at the Art Gallery and now cater for events at the Merchant Adventurers Hall.

Skosh York

This new Micklegate restaurant has rightfully be receiving excellent reviews. At Skosh York dining is approached in a more Mediterranean kind of way, and they serve small plates of food rather than the more traditional three course affair – great for those who can never make up their minds. Inside, the restaurant is modern but minimalist with a slightly Scandanavian feel, and from the single dining area you can watch the chefs at work in the kitchen.

The menu is ever evolving and the dishes themselves are eclectic in inspiration, with both local and global influences. Despite being a “concept-style” restaurant the prices are very reasonable – especially given the work involved in each dish and the quality of the ingredients.

The Park Restaurant York

Normally you don’t expect that much from in-house hotel restaurants in York, however The Park is an exception. Located in The Marmaduke Townhouse Hotel in the Bootham area of York, the restaurant is a 20 minute walk from the centre or a short taxi ride. Rather than a la carte options, the only choice on offer is a seven course tasting menu (plus amuse bouche and pre-dessert palette cleanser).

Don’t be put off by this however, the food is exceptional and beautifully presented – The Park didn’t earn its three AA Rosettes by accident. The prices are what you’d expect for fine dining of this quality. The tasting menu is £60 per person and if you add the paired wine package that’s another £48. Tables can be booked between 7pm and 8pm.

Mumbai Lounge York

If you’re looking for an excellent Indian restaurant then look no further than Mumbai Lounge on Fossgate, York. Smarter than your average curry house, the building was originally renovated by an upmarket steakhouse and oyster bar. They serve a mix of classic Indian curries alongside many other interesting regional dishes and chef’s specials – with something for every palette. The prices for mains are perhaps a pound or two more expensive than you might be used to, however the food is cooked to a very high standard and the service is always excellent.

Although it might look full, it’s always worth asking if they’ve any tables free as there is a spiral staircase that leads to additional seating downstairs. Despite eating there many times I didn’t realise that this spiral staircase also leads upstairs to a lounge area where you can enjoy pre- or post-dinner drinks – a handy space if you’re meeting for a works party.

OXO’s York

Like The Park Restaurant above OXO’s is another hotel based eatery and can be found at The Mount Royale on Tadcaster Road, York (heading toward the racecourse away from Micklegate Bar). To be a successful “out of town” restaurant in an already crowded city means you must be doing something – or a whole lot – right.

The cuisine is definitely what would be described as fine dining, however it’s less about pushing boundaries, more about well executed classic dishes and flavour combinations with an extra twist here or there. Prices are a little bit more expensive than you might be used to – main courses cost anywhere between £19 and £30, and some of the starters are over £10.

Le Cochon Aveugle York

Le Cochon Aveugle York – that’s “the blind pig” for those who didn’t pay enough attention in GSCE French – is a small French inspired eatery on Walmgate, York, a minute or so’s walk from the end of Parliament Street. This is another tasting menu-style restaurant, however unlike The Park above you get a choice between a six and nine course tasting menu – priced at £50 or £70 respectively. I’m not sure whether Le Cochon Aveugle has yet had a visitor from the Michelin Guide, but the food is definitely of that standard.

There is a definite air of mystery to this place. Menus can change from day to day – and even table to table during the same night. However you can expect original dishes, fresh flavours and interesting ingredient combinations. Not the kind of place you pop into for a quick bite, the dining pace is leisurely (due to the preparation of multiple courses) so make sure you anticipate being here for a couple of hours. The last tables are seated at 9pm – so walk-ins any later than this will be turned away (as an ex-restaurant employee I heartily approve of this).

El Piano York

As someone who believes that nearly everything can be improved by the addition of bacon, it might seem a bit of a surprise that I have included a vegan restaurant on this list. However, El Piano York is an excellent restaurant that serves excellent food and I have never left wishing I’d had a steak. Inside the colours are very warm and gives the whole place a Spanish or South American feel. There is a courtyard to the back where you can eat during warmer months and other themed rooms upstairs.

You have the option to build your own meal or share a tasting platter. A main plate – with three options – costs £11.95, add a starter and it’s £15 or £40 for two people with a bottle of wine included. The food is tasty and takes inspiration from the cusine of both the Americas and Asia. Don’t be surprised if you leave feeling very full – in all my visits to El Piano York I’ve never managed to make it as far as dessert.

Ambiente York

This little tapas restaurant on Goodramgate, York is a particular favourite of mine (perhaps due to a peculiar weakness for anchovies). The food is tasty, the atmosphere intimate and the bill always seems to be less than I was expecting. There is now another Ambiente on Fossgate – as well as restaurants in Leeds and Hull – I have eaten in both and still have a preference for the original, although if you’re wanting to dine out as a large group then maybe try the Fossgate restaurant as there is a bit more room.

The menu is predominantly made up of tapas options, however there are also sharing platters and set menus for two – if you just can’t make up your mind. Spanish cuisine seems very much to reflect it’s geographical location. Many of the dishes are reminiscent of the kind you’d find in the south of France but others have a distinctively North Africa feel. Rich tomato-based sauces, fresh seafood, cured meat, spiced lentils… there’s something on the menu for surely even the fussiest of eaters.

Delrio’s York

The are a number of excellent Italian restaurants in York, however if we were to chose just one it would be Delrio’s at the top end of Micklegate. A candle-lit cellar restaurant, this place has a very cosy feel – however, the lack of a shop front makes it all too easy to miss.

Having first opened in 1992, it’s fair to say that Delrio’s York is now an established York institution. The menu is full of traditional Italian classics – pizza, pasta, seafood and more – with plenty of nods to the owner’s Sardinian roots. Most of the mains are around the £10 to £12 mark, although some of the meat based options are a little bit more expensive.